Building Customer Personas


Published on: 14 Apr 2017
4 min read

When creating content it is quite easy to drift. The problem gets amplified when articles that fall into the drift category, so to say, get traction. You may end up with traffic that looks great on periphery, but doesn’t convert. Recently, Builtvisible published a post about this and it inspired me to write this post on what younger businesses can learn from this. The idea is to create buyer profiles that guide marketing efforts. Of course, as a small business you are likely to pivot and that would need changes to the customer personas. It helps, however, to make it practice to view the marketing game plan from the lens of customer personas.

Some stats to start off:What are customer personas or buyer profiles and why should you care about them?

Buyer profiles existed in the marketing world for as long as marketing as a practice existed. At the core, the purpose of creating them has to do with improving the ROI of your marketing initiatives. Whether you are running ads, doing PR, or content marketing, you would want to be sure that the communication reaches and appeals to people who are most likely to buy from you. Easier said than done, of course, but that doesn’t take away the need to segment your customers.

Typical buyer personas look like this:

Men, College Grad, Web savvy, earning 100K+ a year, with kids and living in Tier 1 cities.

Unless you are selling stuff that is more of a commodity (think salt) you need to work on segmenting your customers better and target them with apt messaging and reach. Whether you sell online or via a physical mode, this is going to be important for you.

On the other hand, knowing your buyer profiles helps you answer questions like:

  • Who are my customers?
  • Where can I find them?
  • What do they like to buy?
  • What are their motivations?
  • What are their values?

Having answers to these helps you to be present where your customers are, and target them with the right messaging. Additionally, having customers grouped into segments allows you to order them by size, willingness to pay etc, and target one segment at a time.

In a nutshell, segmentations helps you save your marketing budgets and efforts from being spread too thin.

How do you go about building customer personas?

You may segment your customers based on multiple attributes listed below. Success depends on your ability to pick the right attributes for your segmentation.

Demographics:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Family size
  • Income
  • Occuption
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Generation

Psychographics:

  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests
  • Opinions

Social:

  • Race
  • Social class
  • Nationality

Benefits:

  • Different benefits that your offering delivers can also be used to segment

The first step is to pick attributes, fill them with relevant inputs, and them combine them into segments. As an example, for a brand like Harley Davidson, I’d pick the following attributes.

Demographics:

  • Age - 20 - 50
  • Gender - Male
  • Income - $80K - $1MM

Psychographics:

  • Attitudes - Explorative, Enthusiastic
  • Interests - Bikes, Travel, Adventure, Tattoos

Benefits:

  • Comfort - on long drives
  • Interests - Bikes, Travel, Adventure, TattoosAffiliation and recognition - driven by the Harley brand
  • Social perception - as indicator of one doing well

The next step is to weave these into personas that show real looking people with stories built around them. Here is an example.

Jack has always been about questioning rules, not necessarily break them but look at them from a perspective driven by a desire for freedom. He loves spending time with friends but also likes to have his own time. He spends time helping others ad stands true to his words. He is not scared to try the path less travelled and seeks an element of adventure in all his activities. Jack is single, and likes to get tattooed (his favorites are to do with nature). He is not so much into savings and spends a good amount of money on charity. He works at a construction company and works out at the local gym. He is particular about what he eats and how much he sleeps.

Now I’m no expert on Harley’s buyer profiles, but you get the idea. Time to start working on your customer personas and see what it leads to. Let me know if it helped.