What constitutes a useful buyer persona? What should you include in a buyer persona for your organization? There are differing opinions on the exact recipe. The field of persona development is similar to the art world — different practitioners have models and styles that work for them and their clients.
After researching the existing persona strategy within organizations of all sizes spanning startups to enterprise teams, industries from financial services to manufacturing software to mobile apps, I have distilled the complex formula for the perfect buyer persona down to one simple truth.
A persona is like a snowflake, and no two are the same.
The truth is, no matter which template or model or framework you follow, your personas should include the kind of actionable information that give your teams what they need to work smarter, and represent your business with real empathy toward the buyer.
What goes into a persona will be different for every company, but great personas do these eight things:
1. Guide Programs and Real Decisions
Cintell advisor and B-to-B marketing strategist Ardath Albee cautions that persona development should not be approached as a checklist item, or as something that is filed away in a drawer once completed. Instead, personas should be used as actionable tools to guide marketing programs and business decisions. As everyone in your company likely can’t get face time with real customers, personas should serve as the next-best thing.
2. Get Beyond a Job Title and Shallow Demographics
Mind the difference between database segmentation properties (like their industry, company size and more) and persona insights, which get a lot deeper into the life of your buyer. Researching this insight is your opportunity to get to know your buyers well beyond their job titles. It’s not important in a B-to-B setting to assume their favorite color or hobbies. Instead, great personas tell the larger story of their challenges, motivations and unique perspectives as professionals. They allow us to respect our audience with more relevant messaging than demographic segmentation alone.
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