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Buyer personas? Make it so.

I once read about an office where the marketing manager had a life-size cutout of Captain Picard next to a bookcase. Big fan of Star Trek? Apparently, yes; but the reason for having it, according to the cutout’s owner, was along the lines of “every time I’m writing something, I look up and think: what would Jean-Luc think of this?”

Creating ‘buyer personas’ probably ought to be a bit more sophisticated, but honestly, if we wrote everything with a single person in mind, who represented our audience, I’m sure most of us would come up with better and more consistent output than we do.

A buyer persona is a composite character representing a typical customer. For many businesses a range of characters might be required. The easiest place to start is with things like age, job title and location, but the exercise of creating buyer personas can be a lot more sophisticated than that. Why are they aware of us? What benefits are we offering them, as people? What barriers did they overcome to choose us? What competitors are they likely to be attracted to?

Having a character in mind when creating sales and marketing material is more than an interesting exercise – it can really help you design content to attract the right people. And if you look at a buyer persona and think you’ve just described the commander of the USS Enterprise, all well and good, feel free to order a cutout for your office.