At 30dps, we’re big believers in the notion that you can’t market to an audience you can’t “see.” That’s why we put so much emphasis on defining and maintaining buyer personas. If you’re not familiar with personas, they are “characters” you create to represent your target audience. You give them a name, an occupation, personal interests, etc. You also note their motivation for seeking a product or service like yours as well as the criteria they’ll use to make their purchase decision. The purpose is to help you focus on who it is you’re trying to reach.
Developing them and ensuring the buyer personas stay relevant is well worth the time and effort, but there certainly is some effort. Consequently, you want to get as much use as you can out of them. Unfortunately, many companies aren't capitalizing on buyer personas. If you ask them how they use their personas, they’ll say something like, “Marketing uses them when creating campaigns, I think.” And, sadly, that’s about the extent of it. If that’s all you’re doing with your personas, you’re really selling them short.
Putting Personas to Use
Your target audience characterizations can be used for far more than just to assist with marketing campaigns. Here are some ways you might not have thought of:
Sure, marketing knows who you’re trying to sell your product to, but how about those folks who are actually creating and enhancing those products? Odds are they’ve never heard of personas, let alone talked specifically about yours. Getting more in tune with your prospects can only help you serve them better.
It’s not uncommon (and it’s certainly wise) to get input from your customer support team when crafting your personas. After all, they talk with these folks on a regular basis. But when you’ve finalized the characterizations, do you share them with your support reps? Most companies would say “No.” Your company should say “Yes.”
We would never accuse the C-suite of being out of touch with your prospects, but the truth is it’s hard for them to keep their finger on the pulse of the market with all their other responsibilities. So, it’s a great idea to get a meeting with them periodically to do a quick persona review. It helps refresh their understanding of your market and they may have insights you can use to make updates.
It’s easy to think that sales reps know your target audience like the back of their hand. But that’s not always the case. They are typically working hard to meet quotas, and that can produce a wicked case of tunnel vision. Sharing your persona work with them periodically can do wonders.
If you work with third party vendors on any aspect of your marketing and communications, it’s not a bad idea to give them, at a minimum, a quick overview of your personas. The more they know, the more helpful they can be.
Make the Most of Your Investment
Are you getting the full value out of your personas? Or perhaps a better question is “Have you even defined your personas?” Do you know how to identify buyer personas through form fields? If the answer to either is “No,” we can help. At our inbound marketing agency in Colorado Springs, we make persona work a cornerstone of our engagements with clients - and it pays off EVERY time. We’d love to help you do a more complete assessment of your target audience. Give us a shout.