What is a Buyer Persona?
A positive buyer persona is based on market research and real data about your existing customers and the result is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. You may have buyer personas based on current market trends and you can create ones for where you would like your business to be.
A negative buyer persona is someone you do not want to attract to your business. It could be that they are someone who don’t have the budget for your products or are in a sector that does not match the solutions you have on offer. Ideally you will end up with 3 positive buyer personas and 2 negative. All outbound and inbound marketing should pivot on these.
There are many excellent templates out there which help you build up the profile of a buyer persona. Many of these templates include the same basic information. You want to know who the person is, what they value, and how best to speak to them.
The problem with a lot of these templates is that they assume you already know that job roles of your ideal customers. What if people from different sectors with various job roles buy your products? Does it look like you have potentially 10+ buyer personas?
Developing your own buyer personas
One way to look at this data is to use tag clouds (or word cloud) to spot trends. Let’s say I was a software company and I sold products to IT personnel. I would follow these steps to create a matrix of names and job titles
- Get the name of your main contact or advocate
- Cross reference their job titles on LinkedIn to be sure you have the current one
- Use an online word cloud generator to visualize the raw data. I like tagul.com as it allows you to use common words. Most services ignore common words like IT
Sample Case Study
In my case I extract the roles of 25 happy customers or those customer I am trying to get more of. The more you add to this list the better.
- Security Analyst
- Head of Information Security
- Infrastructure Services Manager
- Director Global Network Services
- Senior Network Engineer
- IT Service Delivery Manager
- IT Security Specialist
- ICT person
- IT Consultant
- Network Specialist
- IT manager
- IT security and Network Manager
- Operations & Network Manager
- Network Systems Engineer
- Network Manager
- Systems administrator
- Network Engineer
- VP of Information Technology
- Executive Officer
- Head of IT
- Senior Network Engineer
- Technology Services
- IT Analyst
- Network Officer
- ICT Team Leader
You will probably find that the job descriptions vary wildly. However, somewhere in the mix there will be common words and that is where the word cloud becomes useful.
In my example a few interesting words come to the front. The words network and IT are very prominent and together with the word manager I have two potential personas; network manager and IT manager. Other contenders could be security analyst or service manager.
Using this information you can then start to build up your buyer personas using the templates mentioned further up in this blog post.