Marketing Theory: Buyers Persona

Written by Martin Lucas


In marketing, there is the concept of the Buyer Persona. The idea is that in order to understand your target market, you can build personas around what you believe your target market desires.

For example:

  • What they think about and how to address their needs.
  • How they like to be treated and spoken to.
  • Their likes and dislikes so you can make sure you give them more of what they want and less of what they don’t.
  • Your target market demographic (e.g. age and gender).

I personally love this process as it’s littered with opportunities to understand the emotional intelligence, habits and behaviours of any particular target market.

Today, I will focus on the Emotional Intelligence side of personas to give you some insights and enhance what you’re doing.

A persona is not a real life person.

Many personas we encounter are really specific, such as ‘They only use Snapchat’ and ‘They prefer the colours blue and purple’. While certain groups of people will have similar behaviours and thinking patterns (that’s the point of it), if you take this too far and suggest really specific things like the examples above, then you are actually at risk of alienating the market you set out to target, causes your own problems. People have many different learning styles; you can’t say that one colour or one social media channel is ALL your market prefers. If you do, you’re causing your own problems and pushing away at least 80% of the market you are trying to target.

Consider your persona as the collective mindset of your target market. You’re not thinking about one person; it’s about how a group of people think when it comes to buying, being attracted to look further or simply liking your product. As I covered last week there is a different decision making process for buying a summer dress than there is for a ballgown. As such, if you sell ballgowns, your target market thinks differently in how they judge, think and ultimately buy your product vs a summer dress which is a more impulsive purchase because it’s lower cost, more range available, and lots of suppliers.

Now, if there are so many options out there, why would they buy from you? This is where we switch our thinking from focussing on your target market as a group of people and instead we think about ourselves. The power of attracting customers comes from believing that what you have to offer them is what they want and then giving it to them. It's like an in-person negotiation; think about what you do in that scenario:

You ask questions

You identify what they need

You use phrases that resonate with them

You show them how you can help them

You give them options

They decide to accept your help

That’s how simple persona-based marketing can be; you just have to understand why someone wants your product, what makes it unique, how you can show them it’s the right decision and always, always, always think about balance:

Do I understand my market? + Am I giving them what they want? + Are we being true to ourselves? = Balanced Persona