Why buyer personas are not the same as customer profiling

Wednesday 28th, August 2013 ,

Are you among the multitudes who think that creating buyer personas is simple? Read on to find out why buyer persona creation is more complex than it seems.

At one time, the qualities that an ideal marketer was supposed to have included an outgoing personality, the ability to relate to and influence prospects and creativity. Today, those qualities won’t suffice. Marketers are now expected to be able to analyze the customer psyche in order to gain valuable insights into their behaviors. The technological advancement that has brought about the rise of digital marketing has also made the in depth understanding of the consumer psyche easier.

When trying to engineer perceptions of an audience, one crucial detail that is required is a solid understanding of who comprises the audience and what motivates them. Towards this end, it is pertinent for digital marketing teams to create buyer personas.

Personas are meant to describe the profile of typical but fictitious customers in a way that will help marketers arrive at the best approach to target them.

Why marketers are required to create buyer personas?

  • Helps understand the psychology of customers which in turn clarifies the motive behind purchases
  • Helps enhance the quality of lead generation
  • Helps satisfy customer needs instead of futile efforts to create the need

How are buyer personas created?

Creation of buyer personas usually takes the following stages:

Collection of data: Historical data of existing customers is analyzed to understand how they have behaved in the past to get insights into behavioral patterns.

Segmentation: Utilize demographics in order to segment customers and, therefore, prospective customers into logical groups which can then be targeted accordingly.

Persona creation: Once the segmentation is complete, the next step is to create the personas in as much detail as possible. Creating buyer personas is more elaborate than customer profiling.

Strategy creation: Once there is a better understanding of the prospects, strategies can be set in order to target these groups in the appropriate way and influence them.

Execution: The aforementioned strategies are put into action and effectiveness is evaluated. The feedback is then utilized to fine-tune the personas as accurately as possible.

Questions for B2B marketers to delve into while creating buyer personas include:

  • Buyer experience and reporting officer of the prospect
  • Professional background of the prospect
  • Kind of organization
  • Organizations’ segment focus
  • History of purchases
  • Change in role in past few years
  • Market forces influencing buyers
  • Most urgent problems
  • What funded initiatives does the buyer have
  • What are the motivations that drive the buyer
  • What the buyer’s needs?
  • What is the budget?
  • Who are involved in the decision-making?
  • Attitude of the company towards the product/service

On the flip side, creating buyer personas is not as simple as it sounds. Buyer personas cannot just be created from assumption. It requires to be backed by data and is not synonymous with customer profiling. The latter is a whole other discipline which has been adopted by sales, Customer Relationship Management, market research and so on. Buyer personas are different because they attempt to dig deeper into the psyche of the buyers to understand motivations and needs.

Hence, creating buyer personas and customer profiles are as different as chalk and cheese. Businesses should take the time and effort to create buyer personas to drive their digital marketing initiatives in the right direction.


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