If you were the owner of a multinational mining company, it would be completely unfeasible to simply choose a location on the map, and start excavation, hoping to find precious ore and gemstones. While that would be ideal in a perfect world, the fact is that there would need to be a lot more thought put into your discovery and extraction process.
Instead, you would identify the most profitable ores, based on their abundancy, the ease of recovering them, and the demand and sale price. Just as you wouldn’t blindly look for gold or iron in the earth, you should never set out to do business by marketing to an unknown audience.
No matter what kind of product or service you offer, you need an understanding of your market, and you need to be able to uniquely position yourself in a way that allows you to develop the right product, present your offering, generate interest, and achieve buy-in from your audience. To do this, you’re going to need a buyer persona.
Knowing Your Market is Critical for Customer Acquisition and Retention
If you’ve already had some business success, then developing a buyer persona will be a straightforward process. A buyer persona, which could also be described as a profile of your ideal customer, can easily be developed if you follow the right steps.
Research is critical, and begins with demographics. What age group or groups would be most responsive to your offering, what is their income and how much of it is disposable, do you serve a basic need or are you focused on luxury items for an affluent market? All of these questions can be answered with data, and that data can begin by looking at where you have already succeeded.
In addition to the problem or desire that you aim to meet with a product or service, you also need to understand the customer decision making process. There are many steps in this process that could turn your buyer persona away from your offering. Do you have strong competitors, are you unable to compete on price but have superior value, is your offering unique enough to allow you to differentiate in your marketing? Thinking about demographics, the decision making process, and your competition, will all help you to develop the right marketing strategy that answers all questions and covers potential objections.
Most importantly, when you create a buyer persona and have a deep understanding of your market, you will be able to make your company more efficient, both financially and operationally. With a buyer persona you will be able to avoid wasting resources on trying to start conversations with the wrong demographics. Your message will be clear and concise, and providing you have performed your research and developed an appropriate marketing strategy, you will be able to cut through the advertising noise that consumers are bombarded with in the digital age.
A Buyer Persona Will Help You to Improve Your Product
No company starts out with the perfect product or service. No matter what it is that you offer, there will always be room for the innovation that allows you to drive customer acquisition and retention. Improvement should always be based on feedback and market response, and once you have a buyer persona in place, it will be easier to collect this data. It may come from testimonials, from your sales data, or from direct interactions with your customers and general marketplace. Over time, you may find that you can improve your buyer persona or even expand it to cover different demographics. As your understanding of your customer grows, you may find areas where you can improve your product or even introduce completely new products. New buyer personas may emerge, and if you’ve started off with a clear understanding of the product creation, marketing, and sales processes, then you’ll be in the best position to serve any new demographic groups.
Find Out Where You’re Wasting Resources
As you develop your definition of the ideal buyer persona, you will also be able to build profiles of the unwanted customers. Just as you will be able to improve marketing to target the ideal group, you’ll be able to stop throwing money and resources at those who aren’t suited to your offering. In reality, there are some customer groups that are simply too difficult or too expensive to please.
The bottom line is that if they’re not growing your business for a reasonable investment, then those unwanted buyer personas need to be cut from your strategy.
Using Your Marketing Strategies Wisely in 2017
Over the coming year, data is going to be critical. Every interaction, every sale, every website search query – they all need to be collected, analyzed, and used to form your buyer persona. You don’t have to gather data passively, and you could use email surveys, social media, or website based surveys to query larger areas of your market to narrow down the most responsive groups. You could even use referrals from complementary businesses to create new interaction points, or you could simply incorporate specific questions into your prospecting process.
Two years ago, cloud computing company Salesforce reported that businesses would increase active data analysis by 83% by the year 2020. This change in approach is currently in full swing, and your business can only gain from the increased reliance on data, especially when it comes to identifying your customers, refining your offering, and maximizing the value of your marketing spend.
So in 2017, are you simply going to dig blind and hope to strike gold, or are you going to use the numerous data streams that are already available to you, to develop a buyer persona and target them with products and marketing campaigns that deliver results? If you’ve made it this far, then you’ll know that only one of those options is able to bring you success.