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What is a Buyer Persona and why is it important?

Knowing your customer is a key ingredient in the formula to success. The better you know your target audience, the better you know what you can do for them. But, how do you do that? With the help of a buyer persona!  

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona helps you better understand your customer. It is a detailed description of a model-buyer, with name and face, based on research done on buying behaviour. Tony Zambito, the founder of the buyer persona, defined it as follows: "Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modelled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behaviour, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions. Today, I now include where they buy as well as when buyers decide to buy."

A good buyer persona provides insight into: 

  • who your customers are;
  • what they are trying to achieve;
  • what information they need;
  • what underlies their behaviour;
  • how they behave (online) and on which channels they are active;
  • how they think;
  • what the buying process looks like; 
  • why they make certain (purchasing) decisions;
  • what motivates them to choose your product;
  • what their pain points are (that you can solve with your product or service).

Important to remember, a buyer persona does not describe one specific target audience, but characterises the corresponding (buying) behaviour and common goals of a group of people. 

What is the difference between a target audience and buyer persona?

In today's marketing landscape, you frequently encounter terms like target audience and buyer persona. Many people wonder: "Aren't these terms the same?" Although a buyer persona and target audience may seem to have many similarities at first glance, there is indeed a distinction between the concepts. We will explain this difference.

A target audience is a group of people or customers you want to approach, to draw attention to your product or service. You often describe target audiences using averages. Factors you map out are: 

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Education
  • Family situation
  • Income 

So, as the word target audience indicates, this is a group rather than a single customer. You have roughly a picture of who they are, but not why they might be interested in your product. 

With a buyer persona, you go a lot deeper into the specific person you want to reach. Of course, the persona's profile is important, but in addition, you also delve into what motivates that person, what makes them happy or makes them sad or angry. And last but not least, how does that person buy?

Why is a buyer persona important?

With a buyer persona, you bring your ideal customer to life, allowing everyone in your (marketing) team to better empathise with the customer's emotions and actions. By better understanding where choices, actions or emotions of a customer come from, creating appropriate content becomes easier and less time-consuming. In other words, more results with less effort!

Making informed decisions within your marketing strategy becomes easier with an up-to-date buyer persona. For every decision to be made, you no longer need to analyse data extensively, because you have created a buyer persona. However, it is important to regularly check whether it is still up-to-date. This can be done, for instance, during the annual drafting of a new marketing plan or maybe you prefer to check every quarter whether your buyer persona still matches your ideal customer. 

How you can best reach your customer is something you learn while composing your buyer persona. This is how you find out where your business should be online. Especially for social media, it is important to know on which social platforms your (potential) customer is active. It would be a waste if you invested a lot of time, energy and money in a platform on which your potential buyer is not active at all. 

By using a buyer persona, everyone in the company knows who the customer is and how to approach them. A customer sees a company as one entity, with one message and one way of working and not as different departments. A customer therefore expects to be approached and helped in the same way during their customer journey. Moreover, the customer expects a flawless purchase process; as soon as this is not the case, you run the risk of losing a potential customer to your competitor. 

Better customer loyalty by tailoring content to your target audience. When you know your customer, you will know what content to target them with. With the help of a buyer persona, you get to know and understand your customer better. The content you develop for your customers, interests them, which will  bind a customer to you for a longer period of time. 

Composing the ideal buyer persona

Now that you are convinced that a buyer persona is indispensable to have in a successful marketing strategy, it is time to put one together. In the blog How to create a buyer persona? we will help you step by step in creating the ideal buyer persona!