Know Thy Customer Persona

Challenge: Drive inbound leads with content focused on your target customer? Of course. But what does it mean to really know your target customer?

At the heart of every marketing organization is the knowledge of the target buyer.  But what does it mean to really understand your customer buyer persona?  Certainly this includes demographics like age, income, and education.  We can add in firmographics like industry, company size and location.  Is this what we need?  Well, it’s a good start but far from complete.

Building detailed customer persona’s for all of the buyers and influencers in your product’s purchase process is an essential starting point.  Your organization needs to spend time and effort here developing a detailed profile for each role.  This profile should include:

  • A ‘day in their life’
  • Their fears, frustrations and aspirations
  • The ‘customers’ they serve inside their organization
  • How they are evaluated by their boss
  • What they find funny
  • Their office and work environment
  • Their biggest challenges
  • What they do outside the office

One way to think about this is to understand the persona of your target buyer to a depth where you could purchase the perfect gift for them.  By understanding their daily challenges, work environment, current methods of operation and more, then you can correctly create content that they will find interesting and relevant. Your materials need to be helpful, funny, interesting, interesting, thought provoking, etc..  With a detailed persona, you can demonstrate you truly understand their needs through the materials you create.  Therefore you earn the right to be read and have an ongoing conversation with your buyer – online, via email, in print and more.

In my experience, I have been targeting the IT professional.  This person is:

  • Generally male
  • Technically astute
  • Generally less socially outgoing
  • Enjoys finding clever and simple solutions to complex problems
  • Completely out of time dealing with break-fix items
  • Frustrated by end users who can’t his systems correctly
  • Would rather experiment with a new technology than engage with people to answer his questions
  • Enjoys gaming and science fiction (Star Wars, Dr. Who, etc..)

How do you get this information?  Take every opportunity to get on the phone or get in front of customers to learn more about them.  Review materials created by other vendors targeting this market.  Participate in the social media channels where these customers search for information.  Survey your existing customer base.  Run contests to see what captures their interest.  Bring in focus groups of your customers to brief on your product direction and get feedback.

Now what?  Time to publish a detailed persona description internally and get your entire team up to speed on common definitions of your customer.  Create a poster with a picture and key details.  Build a short slide deck explaining key attributes of your persona’s with names and roles.  Educate all new employees on the persona’s you are targeting – so everyone is on the same page.  Test all new campaigns against the persona to ensure they are consistent.

Lesson: Know your destination before you leave.  Take the time to develop a detailed understanding of your customer persona’s and drive this through your organization to better focus and target your outbound programs.


Author: Larry Stein at TechMarketingStrategies

For the last 20 years, I have led demand generation teams supporting high growth technology companies. Now working as an independent consultant, my responsibility is to apply best practices in the creation of these programs. My goal is to enable marketing teams to become self sufficient with a data driven culture of KPI's, test and measurement in service of achieving company revenue targets. My approach is to work with senior management identifying objectives and wildly important goals. With these in mind, we work together to build programs, processes and systems that will reach these goals along with the measurement KPI's to evaluate progress. Along the way we will enable the team to manage and maintain these systems so achieving these goals becomes a natural cadence of the marketing organization.

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