Buying Personas- What are they and why are they important to understand your customers?
Updated: Aug 9
In a previous blog we talked about the need to understand your customers and that they are not all the same. In this blog we will look at the importance to your business of Buying Persona's and how to construct your own.
What is a Buying Persona?
This is a semi fictional picture of your ideal customers/ Investors. It's more than a job title, it's their personality type, what makes them tick, what they are interested in besides work and where they get the information they trust when making buying decisions.
Why are they important to me in understanding my customers?
Buying personas can help you in product development, pitch development and deciding the appropriate channels and language to use to communicate with your customers, so its worth taking the time to do this properly.
We know all people with the same job title aren't the same. Typically we have people keen to get involved In something new as soon as possible and others who want to hang back and wait to see how something works out for others. Imagine if you don't carry out this research and you have a new product you want to market, you can waste a lot of effort and money. If, for example you set about developing a kick off meeting on a Friday night in a night club. Your buying persona work may have identified your early customers are typically fathers with a young family and full time day jobs. In this instance you would have wasted your time and money as he needs to be home for childcare duties and is probably ready for an early night!
How to build a buying persona?
So we have discussed the importance of buying personas but, how do you go about developing one?
Initially break them into groups like clinicians/surgeons, Investors, Hospital purchasers, distributors etc. Then for each of these think about the following areas.
This is the basics of age, job title, location, family status.
These can just be a list of traits typically seen in this customer group or you can use sliding scales of typical traits to see what they are most like. E.G. introvert- extrovert
Where do they go to get their information/ Who's opinion do they listen to?
This information will help you build the strategy of who to target as initial customers, who will have a larger influence on the wider target audience and what messages to use on what platforms. It might be that you establish your early customers are more likely to go to twitter than LinkedIn for news so don't waste time developing a great LinkedIn Campaign. You might be better to save this for once your key opinion leaders are on board.
Goals and challenges
What are their goals and the challenges in achieving them? Don't just think about work here, they might typically have elderly relatives or a young family meaning a challenge is to get home on time to carry out other commitments.
What motivates your ideal customer to make the purchase, what steps are they likely to go through to get to finally trying your product. It's highly unlikely they will see your marketing campaign and call to use the product so, what are the steps and what can you offer at each of these stages to ensure the process is a smooth as possible. Again remember these motivations may not always be based around work. They might be motivated by a clinic finishing on time. The best way for you to influence this might be by making sure the technicians understands and is comfortable to use your equipment ahead of it being introduced into the clinic. You could offer training in this new technique as part of their development so there is talk in the department of how easy it is to use. This will make the clinician feel much more likely to try as it will have minimal impact on their clinic
What you can do to help them achieve these goals/ overcome the challenges
This can be used in product development/ company strategy development.
E.G. What does your new product need to do to help your customer overcome the challenge of theatre list always overrunning because of removal of metalwork being a tricky procedure to perform? If you can design this into the initial metalwork to make it simpler to remove, the list is less likely to overrun and he will make it home on time more often.
Think about all potential customers in this not just the ideal purchaser. This will help you decide the "negative" customer you don't want to target initially, which channels they use and if they are the only group likely to use this not to waste valuable resources on planning a campaign for these at this stage.
You can use these personas to plan the strategy for product introduction over a period of time.
If you think this is a project you need to do and you want more advice please contact us or if you would like a buying persona template for free leave your details here.