3 Reasons Why Buyer Personas Are Key for Marketers

Savvy marketers take the time to create and adopt buyer personas as a key part of their marketing strategy. These profiles capture information about consumer groups including demographic information, motivations and attitudes. To some, this may seem like a wasted effort.

How can we understand the entire consumer market from a handful of buyer personas?

Marketers who adopt a one-size-fits-all strategy and expect their brands to be everything to everybody are doomed to fail. By first identifying which demographic groups your core consumers sit in and then learning as much as you can about them by developing buyer personas lets you create and execute focused campaigns that work.

Buyer Personas Identify Key Demographics

The process of creating a customer persona involves taking the time to explore your business’s analytics to find the interests represented in your customer base. From this, you can build a few profiles representing the type of people to whom you’re selling, including their income range to their motivations, fears and buying attitudes.

The Shopify blog has an excellent step by step guide to finding this information and using it to create effective buyer personas.

When a marketer understands their buyer in great depth and detail, they can target advertising and content towards them.

When you know the motivations and fears of your consumer, you can create advertising that targets those attitudes, effectively producing personalized marketing pitches.

Powerful Content Can Be Aimed Directly at Consumers

We already know that the effectiveness of content marketing is based on producing content that is relevant and valuable to our audience.

When we understand how our core customers think, we are able to zero in on the content that they want to read and engage with.

The positive effects of a content marketing strategy are amplified when the audience is a known quantity.

Information About Buyer Attitudes Can Predict Behavior

Long and frustrating roadblock for most marketers, customer behavior is a difficult value to capture.

Buyer personas make behavioral factors more transparent and easier to key in on.

the benefits of creating personas

According to the Harvard Business Review, consumer attitude and behavior are inexorably linked. Customer personas provide a method of understanding buyer attitudes, which can be used to predict the buyer’s behavior.

When we know generally how our customers are going to behave in the face of our marketing campaigns, we get a clear path to the sale.

When you have access to deep understand about your core customers, it makes it much easier to market to them, and you’ll see an increase in your marketing ROI.

The benefits to marketing that customer personas present prove their worth, even given the time it takes to create them.

Do you or your clients use personas? Let me know in the comments section below.

Drew Berger

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Drew holds a degree in Political Science with a minor in Economics. He has experience writing in the areas of politics, economics, sports and sports business, and product descriptions. He always strives to produce unique content within a given deadline at a high level of quality.

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Christine Birch
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Christine Birch

Great post on the benefits of personas – they are a lot of work, but are so worth it! Tying into the last post about serial content, this got me thinking on how to use personas in a narrative marketing strategy too. Has anyone seen this done?

Drew Berger
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Drew Berger

Christine, I’m not sure what an example of what you’re talking about would look like, but I think that if you have a detailed understanding of your audience, you have a better avenue through which to create effective serial content.

Christine Birch
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Christine Birch

I’m not sure what it would look like either. Our discussion of serial content as narrative led me to thinking that good stories start with good characters. Thinking of your audience as character(s) seems like a good way to facilitate that angle.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

That’s a great idea. Your audience drives your business the same way characters drive a story.

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

Great correlation.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

Thank you.

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

That type of thinking might just give you the seed for a fictional work, too! I worked in cafes for years, and many of my former customers would make great characters in a novel or short story.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

I know what you mean. I met plenty of characters during my customer service days who belonged in a sitcom.

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

Any favorites?

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

“Favorites” has a positive connotation that I just can’t muster. I couldn’t stand a lot of those customers.

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

It’d be great if you could create serial content that told a story that appealed to multiple personas simultaneously through different characters in the narrative.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

I have heard of comics and actors adopting personas, but marketers adopting them was news to me. I’m obviously behind the curve on this.

tomysole
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tomysole

Certainly important to thoroughly understand the audience you are marketing to and I believe in order to understand them you have to get involved with the niche. I would therefore never recommend being part of an affiliate program or trying to market goods and services that you have no interest in. Just because something pays well, doesn’t mean you’ll have the motivation to understand the consumer. That’s why when I choose to market content or become an affiliate, I always make sure that it is something I’m truly invested in as an individual.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

That’s a great recommendation. It’s easy to be blinded by a good payday, but the money will be small comfort once you’re bored with what you’re doing.

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

There is a place for money, though. If we writers only wrote what what we loved, there’d be a lot more epics — and a lot more hungry writers.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

Believe me, I understand the importance of money. I just think it’s healthy to not always feel like a mere hired gun.

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

Yea, it is nice to not always be a mercenary.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

The ideal is to find the right balance between what you’re interested in and what pays. I think it’s found through experience.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

Some days that seems to be easier to do than others. There are days when there is a lot of great, interesting work to do that keeps me engaged as well as earning. Then there are days that I spend hours writing about hemorrhoids or, um, adult topics that are outside my comfort zone. Some days that’s just all I can find to work on.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

Hope the days where you’re engaged and earning make the hemorrhoid-focused days worthwhile.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

They definitely do. I don’t feel like I have to enjoy the topics in order to do them. If I have a good earning day,that’s a good day. If I’m engaged in the topic, that’s just icing on the cake. The main focus is really on building clientele while keeping earnings up.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

That’s a great perspective to have.

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

I think that’s a struggle for a lot of content writers: earning enough to pay current bills while also working to advance our careers. Because we don’t get automatic raises and often don’t get credit for the pieces we right, it’s especially hard to do. It’s worth the effort, though!

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

I think that’s a struggle for a lot of content writers: earning enough to pay current bills while also working to advance our careers. Because we don’t get automatic raises and often don’t get credit for the pieces we right, it’s especially hard to do. It’s worth the effort, though!

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

Some days that seems to be easier to do than others. There are days when there is a lot of great, interesting work to do that keeps me engaged as well as earning. Then there are days that I spend hours writing about hemorrhoids or, um, adult topics that are outside my comfort zone. Some days that’s just all I can find to work on.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

It is nice to not always feel like a mercenary.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

What industries do you specialize in?

tomysole
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tomysole

Food & Beverage, Health & Fitness, Travel

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

Interesting topics. Which one do you like best?

tomysole
Guest
tomysole

Food & Beverage, Health & Fitness, Travel

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

Anything specific within food and beverage? I write on coffee a fair bit.

tomysole
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tomysole

Mostly wine, beer, and spirits. I was a Sommelier for 13 years and still work in the industry as a consultant.

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

I guess I know who I’m asking when I have a wine question!

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

That would be my kind of job!

auntieemily
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auntieemily

That makes sense and is very important to remember. We need to be marketing those products that we really care about.

Linnea S.
Guest
Linnea S.

So true! I used to be an Amazon affiliate, and I did so much better when I could promote products that I wanted to buy for myself!

Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

Why’d you stop?

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

Personas are increasingly being employed in virtually every aspects of marketing and PR. I liked that this spelled out what the benefits are to those who employe them. Thanks!

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

Personas are seemingly everywhere!

Right now, I’m seeing specific personas in about half of the orders I take (as a writer). Two years ago, it was probably more like 10 percent.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

I agree, it’s really become the norm right now to have a persona already in place to present to the writer.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

As a writer, does it help you when a client provides a persona?

Georgia Potts
Guest
Georgia Potts

Personally, I like it a lot. It gives you someone to envision when you’re writing the piece. That helps you to understand what will be important to that demographic and what to highlight in the piece.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

It’s alright. I don’t pay too much attention to them myself.

If they were “80 year old cowboy who has a horse named bill and was shot in a duel,” maybe I’d have more fun with it.

Georgia Potts
Guest
Georgia Potts

I think the age and education levels in personas are what are most helpful. What you write to educated middle-aged people is going to be very different from what you write for people in their early 20s who dropped out of high school.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

You’re right, in that you should write differently to different target audiences.

I find, though, that there’s enough work available that I don’t need to modify my style. If a client needs something written for a high school-drop out and thinks I use too many long phrases, they can find another writer and I can find another client. There are lots of writers and clients, and we can each find a better match.

This is probably a handicap in my writing style, but it helps me work more efficiently.

Georgia Potts
Guest
Georgia Potts

I think the age and education levels in personas are what are most helpful. What you write to educated middle-aged people is going to be very different from what you write for people in their early 20s who dropped out of high school.

Georgia Potts
Guest
Georgia Potts

Personally, I like it a lot. It gives you someone to envision when you’re writing the piece. That helps you to understand what will be important to that demographic and what to highlight in the piece.

Linnea S.
Guest
Linnea S.

Same here. It’s so helpful when the client tells you about their typical customers. I can often visualize the person and write as if I’m having a direct conversation with him or her.

Laure_J
Guest
Laure_J

My blogging work is one place I’ve really tried to look at personas, by poring through the analytics I have available.

One that surprised me was my positivity blog, where I thought I was writing to a female audience, with women aged 40+, but it turned out my audience was primarily male – about 70% male – and between the ages of 20 and 30.

So, I switched my writing, to reduce the feminine speech patterns I used to address the readers, and to be more all-inclusive of gender and ages addressed.

Earl Dotson
Guest
Earl Dotson

Good for you for being adaptable. It’s great to have an audience, even if it’s not the one you expected.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

Oh, it is good to have an audience!

Earl Dotson
Guest
Earl Dotson

You can’t survive without one!

tomysole
Guest
tomysole

Maybe men are more positive!! ha

Georgia Potts
Guest
Georgia Potts

Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me. It would fit with the anecdotal evidence that I see around me.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

That’s a great, actionable insight!

Have you had enough time yet to see if the change produced any noticeable results?

Georgia Potts
Guest
Georgia Potts

That is so interesting! I would have assumed the same about the demographics- probably mostly women 30-50 or so. Interesting that so many men were interested in the topic. I guess it just goes to show that you have to analyze those demographics instead of just assuming.

Charlie Parker
Guest
Charlie Parker

Can I just say (regarding the link to the Shopify tut.) that Shopify never shuts off their value valve. Not only do they consistently make themselves better, but they don’t mind sharing their intel with small businesses that want to grow too. Maybe it’s because they have an HQ in my city, but Shopify is constantly partici in everything around here. It’s nice to see.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

It’s great to hear of an established business helping small start-ups get on their feet.

Earl Dotson
Guest
Earl Dotson

It sure is. It benefits everyone. Hopefully some of today’s small smart-ups will be tomorrow’s established businesses and can do the same.

Earl Dotson
Guest
Earl Dotson

Shopify seems almost too good to be true.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

“The positive effects of a content marketing strategy are amplified when the audience is a known quantity.”

Good point. Defining your audience always makes writing easier, whether you’re composing copy for a company or a fictional work.

Holly Thomas
Guest
Holly Thomas

This kind of reminds me of method acting. Many big actors actually jump into the lives of the people they are portraying so that they can understand their characters better. It is proven to be effective.

It is only logical that a marketer that attempts to see things from the buyers point of view will be more effective. When you understand the people you are working with you have insight that is invaluable regardless of your final intention.

Earl Dotson
Guest
Earl Dotson

Two-time Oscar winner Robert DeNiro is famous for his Method acting approach. To prepare to play Vito Corleone in 1974’s “The Godfather: Part II” – the role he won his first Oscar for – DeNiro spent several months living in Sicily. To prepare to play Travis Bickle in 1976’s “Taxi Driver,” he earned a taxi driver’s license and drove a cab around New York City. DeNiro won his second Oscar for playing real life boxer Jake La Motta in 1980’s “Raging Bull.” First he got himself into fighting condition and even fought in several matches. Then he gained 60 pounds… Read more »

Linnea S.
Guest
Linnea S.

Knowing your buyer is like knowing a friend very well. You can predict what kind of handbag she’d like to receive as a gift, or what premium channel subscription she’d enjoy. So it’s very logical to build customer personas.

Earl Dotson
Guest
Earl Dotson

That’s a great comparison. I hate to say it, but sometimes having a buyer is better than having a friend. Buyers are more likely to give you money.

Natasha E
Guest
Natasha E

Very interesting read. It’s always important to consider the customer when working on marketing/content. Thanks for sharing!

Earl Dotson
Guest
Earl Dotson

I had heard of actors and comics having personas, but never marketers. However, after reading this it’s abundantly clear why personas are good for marketers to have.

Bethany A.
Guest
Bethany A.

Interesting post! Haven’t thought about this much before.

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