Your marketing strategy needs to target the right people, therefore it is important to understand the problems people think they will solve by using your product and what influences their decision-making. Qualitative research will identify and give you a detailed description on who your buyers are, i.e a buyer persona. Your personas then form the basis for developing a communication strategy.
Irakli Beselidze, CEO of Premier SV in Russia, presenter of the Marketing Guru TV show, and a Certified Practitioner of Buyer Persona Institute says there are 6 important reasons why you should be using well constructed buyer personas instead of a target audience determined by socio-demographic characteristics.
6 Reasons To Use Buyer Personas
1. Too Many Options
There is no guarantee that a buyer will see your product and immediately buy it, because there is probably tons of options out there and a buyer wants to make sure they get the right option for them. Therefore, if your strategy is based on a target audience and spontaneous brand awareness, it will not guarantee buyers. Instead it might dissuade buyers from your product as consumers often ignore advertising messages, and would rather read and trust in objective reviews from your former clients.
2. Needle in a Haystack
Your target audience will include a lot of people who are not a potential customer for your product, which means you are wasting your efforts and resources on trying to find a buyer in a large pool of disinterest. Using buyer personas is a much more efficient and focused strategy.
3. Don’t Blend in With Your Competitors
Companies who are in direct competition have the same target audience. This results in intense competition for creative ideas that end up losing focus on the buyer. To ensure the buyer understands your messaging, be specific, clear and concise, and always focus on how your product solves your buyers’ real problem.
4. Keep It Simple!
Messaging for a target audience versus messaging for buyer personas is different because in the former you are talking about the product while in the latter you are talking about solving the buyer’s problem. Through his work, Irakli Beselidze has found that messaging has more success when it shows the value of the product, without paying attention to the context of its purchase.
5. The Correct Communication Channels
It can be challenging to know what communication channels offer your product the best exposure. When using your target audience it is difficult to understand how communication channels affect a consumer’s decision to buy a product. However, with buyer personas, you would have discovered the sources of buyers’ decisions at each stage of the buying cycle, and identify the influences on their decision.
6. Mixed Decisions
When developing a marketing strategy, there can be difficulties in determining whether or not there should be different evaluation criteria for different socio-demographic groups, and if different sources of information should be treated and valued differently.
Irakli Beselidze recommends giving up on using your target audience to identify decision makers. Buyer personas are the best way to go to identify different buyers’ roles in the decision-making process, the evaluation criteria and other factors that help buyers differentiate your product from competitors.
Consumers continuously become more sophisticated in making purchase decisions. To be able to influence these decisions, you need to understand buyers’ behavior in the process of buying your product. When you research your buyer’s decisions and create buyer personas, you’ll understand your buyers and create more effective marketing communications.