Agile Insights Blog

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Goodbye Sales Exec Sarah and Tech Guy Tom? Here’s how you should be building buyer personas today.

Feb 1, 2022 10:05:46 AM

In a world where personalized consumer experiences are not just appreciated but expected, many businesses and organizations are using some form of personalization in their marketing strategies. And when 97% of marketers report a measurable lift from their personalization efforts (Salesforce, 2020), they should be. Personalized marketing is here to stay – especially as the tech-savvy Gen Z generation now makes up 40% of total U.S consumers. But the landscape has changed since the early days of buyer persona building and some argue that these old-school personas built mainly on demographic information are antiquated and useless because they are full of information that has nothing to do with the reasons why people buy your products.

Sure, you still need to understand this information – you still want to get a general picture of who your customers are. But even though ‘Working Mom Wendy’ and ‘Bachelor Brian’ look completely different on paper, the reason they buy Acme All-in-One Body Wash & Shampoo is the same: it’s a time-saving convenience. It’s these psychographic attributes or reasons why, that really get to the heart of a successful personalization marketing strategy – and a good place to start when creating target audiences, segments, or personas.

Hubspot defines psychographics as “the psychological and cognitive attributes of a consumer that reveal their beliefs, values, and goals. Demographics explain who your buyer is, while psychographics explains why they buy.” It’s your consumers’ reasons why, or “choice factors” as we like to call them at Vennli, peppered with demographic data that can help you achieve the level of personalization that makes your marketing plan stand out.

So how do you identify these choice factors? Ask! Sure, there are massive amounts of data from various sources that you could comb through to try to determine what a 47-year-old working mom of two from Westport, CT who cares about the environment considers when purchasing shampoo. Or worse yet, you could assume that she cares most about convenience (like we did!). The first option takes lots of time with lots of room for error and the latter is based purely on gut – neither will provide the first-hand insights that customer voice research will.

Take a look at this example of a traditional persona, made up mostly of demographic information with a few psychographic insights. Does this information tell us why Working Mom Wendy would, or would not, buy an all-in-one body wash and shampoo?

Earlier, we assumed that since she’s a working mom, she must be busy and that’s why she buys Acme All in One Body Wash & Shampoo – because it’s convenient. But what if she’s more interested in that product because it is made from natural ingredients in a bottle that is recyclable? Without understanding your customer’s ‘why’, it will be hard to create the right messaging that feels personal.

The emergence of marketing automation software has enabled marketers to connect with consumers in an omnichannel, hyper-personalized way, delivering the right content at the right time from the right channel. But these sorts of platforms work best when you’ve established a high-performing database of customers – not at the start of a new product, service, or marketing campaign. Any time there are changes to your business or the competitive landscape, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your customers’ decision-making process and choice factors. What may have worked in the past, may no longer be working and it might be time to adjust.

At the end of the day, the goal of persona development should be to provide actionable and meaningful target segments that guide your marketing plan and product development decisions. Using both qualitative and quantitative research is a good way to build valuable personas that deliver the best business outcomes.

Vennli believes that growth happens when the customer’s voice drives decision-making. To develop personas that give your product development or marketing plans a competitive edge, contact us and get the customer-based insights you need to grow your business.

Tracy Corry
Written by Tracy Corry

Digital Marketing Strategist with 20 years experience, dedicated to helping brands create meaningful connections with their customers.

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