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Do We Need Buyer Personas in Marketing?

Marketing personas are old-fashioned — so they say. We are already defining the needs of our audience with customer interviews, customer feedbacks, and market research. Why do we need personas?

Marketing has lots of buzzwords, and the list of these buzzwords are getting longer and longer every day because of new marketing channels, new marketing techniques, new growth hacks, new tactics and more.

Meanwhile, marketing 5Ps didn’t change — even though they lost their influence and excitement in the market. Even though the new marketing models and frameworks don’t mention about these (because of the every day changing sales channels and the rise of the digital economy), they’re still covering most of the things we do in marketing; and all new models and frameworks are still based on them.

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On the other hand, startups don’t focus on the product, or price, or place, or promotion, or people specifically. They focus on problems and develop products that solve these problems. This is why most of buzzwords and techniques of old-timers are not getting the attention they deserve these days. One of these buzzwords and methodologies that I think keeping their importance in the market is, persona.

If you are in product or marketing area, then you probably know what a persona is. Persona is a customer profile that you define in a very granular and rational way. If you’re marketing your product to a varying list of customer types (from Fortune 500 companies to Startup Marketers), then you will need to use different outbound and inbound channels, with different content — because all these customer types have different needs, using different channels and have a different perspective on your product.

But why do we need personas? 
Our primary objective on all these studies is understanding the customer, but we are already defining the problem we’re solving by running customer interviews, taking customer feedbacks, and running market research. In addition to these, we made a segmentation study and created customer segments according to their behavior.

Well, all these steps are solving different needs for your business strategy and marketing strategy.

  • On customer interviews, we applied Jobs-to-be-Done methodology and understood why our customers are hiring/purchasing our products — the actual definition of the problem we’re solving.
  • With customer feedbacks, we understood what our customers’ comments are in our product, and improved our product according to their needs, with our product vision.
  • With market research, we understood the market size and communication channels and improved our marketing activities to be more effective and efficient.

Now that we assume we know everything — and we are aware. But, there is one point we still don’t know — who are these customers?

Personas, are giving us an ability to find out the answer to this question.

What is a persona?

Persona is a representation of your ideal customers, based on the real data and educated guesses of yours, about your customer demographics, behaviors, motivations, goals and any other information you find useful.

Very commonly, personas are getting represented in a document or a presentation, by grouping data together, and making it a little bit visual to make it more readable.

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Why do we need to define personas?

Personas are not like other methodologies you have applied while you were understanding the problem your product is solving, and your value propositions. It’s like a holy document, which helps you on your sales preparations, on your content marketing activities, and on your digital marketing activities.

  • According to your sales targets and segmentation strategy, you can use personas that fit, and contact with these people according to the communication channels and social networks they use.
  • Personas can show you the way you need to create content — so that, before writing down a piece of great content, you can shape the language, the storyline, used keywords, and distribution channels according to your personas.
  • Personas can lead you on your digital marketing— by checking the communication channels, your target personas prefer; you can promote your content or display ads to a varying list of channels, and get responses more efficiently.
  • As human beings, we forget our target customers from time to time. Persona documents allow us to take a quick look on our customers and remembering the details about them before going to a sales meeting or writing a piece of content.

In a few words, personas allow you to see how a particular type of customer sees you, what he considers when he hears about you, what channels he prefers and what their interests are.

How to define personas?

We’ve created a step-by-step guide for you to go through on your persona creation process. On this article, we’re sharing common attributes of a persona, details of ways collecting persona information (social media research, social media analytics, website analytics, market research) and templates for you to use when you’re building your personas. You can read it here, and learn all details about persona building.

Have a question?

If you have a question about creating personas, you can send a comment on this article, or drop us a line on Twitter through @TwentifyCorp or @ThisIsCaglar.

Çağlar Bozkurt
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Çağlar Bozkurt
Co-founder and CMO at Twentify. Leading marketing at Twentify, and fixing the way brands understand consumers and shoppers.
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