Does a marketing plan need buyer personas?
I am working on our marketing plan for the next 8 months. I have a good understanding of who our target market is. Is it necessary to come up with buyer personas still? I heard it was a good exercise to do when creating a detailed marketing plan. If necessary, how many different buyer personas do I need to come up with?
8 months? I suggest that unless you are in a very stagnant market what is appropriate now may be totally different in 8 months time! Of course you need to know your market so you should have time t get to know them all very well! Good luck
Already you have so many great responses. So I will try to add to the mix, by looking at it from another perspective.
Personas are very important from many aspects.
Each market segment will have different pressure points, and thus different responses.
Personas help you understand what makes them tick, which will help you develop the skill set and language that they will understand.
There are a couple of underlying aspects to consider, which are outside your brand.
1) People buy from people they like.
2) People always want to know " what's in it for me. (how will this make my life easier? ) they may not ask it, but it's something that you should be answer from the buyers perspective.
3) You need to understand the buyer's process., and how best to help them to make their process regarding your product / service easier for them to purchase and justify.
So personas become a valuable tool to use in regard to marketing preparation. It's part of knowing your audience.
When doing this you should also expand your personas to include the buyer, decision maker, CEO , CFO and anyone else who may be exposed to the possibility of your business. In some cases you are saying the same thing using different language, or you may even be saying or highlighting various different aspects and benefits.
Hope this helps,
You will need max 4 personas and min 2 because "One Size Fits All" is no longer possible. Here is the best template I have seen so far
Wishing you nothing but success
There are 32 personas which come from my personal informal research. Each are linked to the other as in: boss-you-minion
Here is the list:
a. fp - good sport, fair player
b. ch - innocent churchgoer
c. ob - obedient
d. in - maverick inventors
e. hr - heritage, patriarchy
f. ga - gaia earth mother atuned
g. cl - clan aligned
h. fd - fuddy mom and pop
i. rc - understanding, caring
j. op - operators / moonlighters
k. ec - economic / sociologists
l. ar - spiritual soldier
m. oh - misﬁt
n. po - politicker
o. bk - oppressed in money
p. bo - body smart
q yh - spiritual
r mo - good businessman
s ii - watched over by high
t tm - easily tempted
u xt - blessed teacher
v st - superstitious teacher
w ez - teach and taught easily
x mm - mastermind
y pl - pleasure seeker
z qq - many questions
α hh - hot headed
β sp - not academic / spiritual
γ iq - genius
δ lo - lost, on and off
ε jl - heart in jail
ζ pg - a prodigal
... cycles to "government" then to top: a.
This should help you come up with some buyer personas or imagine how they would behave.
Yes, the more you know about your consumers entering the purchase process and making buying decisions the better your able to set up points of engagement opportunities to help complete the sales cycle.
Why are you guessing re the buyer personas? A little research upfrone and you will know your target audiences, what they care about and then, without guessing, know how to approach them so for their reasons, not yours, they buy.
Here are 2 articles that can help you do that so your process yields valid personas, which markets make sense to approach, why, how: http://bit.ly/findcustomersbeforetheygooglesearch
Hopefully these iseas and tracks can work for you. Neil Licht
You already have a lot of good answers here. Here's my take...
The better you define your target prospect the easier marketing becomes. It becomes easier to find out where they are, what their "hot buttons" are, and what the message needs to be. There are many marketing gurus that will urge you to come up with one single avatar, representing the perfect/ideal client -- and then if you can determine how to market to them, you have nailed it.
In terms of how many target prospects you should have -- only one, if you can. If you truly market to entirely different prospects, segregate them, define them separately, and develop separate marketing. A lot of marketing fails because it is trying to hit too broad of a range of prospects.
The step that is often forgotten is, once you have defined your target prospects, what are their hot buttons. What do they need? What are they worried about? What do they desire? What is their biggest problem? etc. The reason for this is that most marketing fails because of the lack of a powerful marketing message. You MUST get your prospect's attention (by referring to a hot button), you must engage them (keep them interested by letting them know you have the answers), educating them to help them make a good decision, and then provide a low risk offer.
If you should have an interest, I just did an online training event on "How to Create KILLER Marketing Messages!". You can watch the recording by going to this link: https://yourbizsuccess.leadpages.co/webinar-3-22-recording-optin/
It's free and will provide easy, useful information for small businesses, which you will not have seen before. All the best...
You seem to have achieved a high degree of consensus - you do need personas. Good. They will help you convert your marketing into sales by properly targeting it.
But you knew this before you posted your question, I thin. I suspect you feel some resistance though, and were kind of hoping people would say 'no, it's okay. Go ahead without them.'
Don't think of the personas as a stand-alone exercise that adds to your workload. Instead, think of it as part of the process for drafting your marketing and sales copy and designing your advertising. It will make it trivially simple to craft your copy once you know who your personas are and what concerns they have. And then, if you have your personas right (see comments about validation), your copy will convert well too.
Not so many people answered your question: 'how many?' My answer to this is: how many marketing/advertising campaigns are you prepared to run? Everything from your ad to your landing page to your enticing offer to your sales copy needs to be targeted on your persona. You need to be able to track metrics for each campaign so you can test it against the real people out there. so you can make your personas more and more like your best buyers.
So, if you want to start light, start with one or maybe two personas, representing your very best potential customers. But be aware, that there are very few products and services that will sell well to twenty different personas. If you need that many, you are either selling a commodity, or your aren't being realistic about your targeting.
Launching OnlinePMCourses in June, targeting it on one primary persona, and two secondary personas.
Absolutely need to create a buyer personas. Even before you speak to quality must know the demand. How does one acquire this demand knowledge? You may call it buyer personas I call it Branding Survey. Every company, whether they realize or not, has a brand that must resonate with your present and potential customer base. Use metrics like surveys to determine the buyer personas or demand. Think of some company brands that identify the company as opposed to the other way around such as Oreo's or Coca Cola. We automatically without thinking associate those products to their companies. That is what a buyer persona or branding survey will do for your company.
Plenty here to help: Easy anser with complexity is "Super important." The most important research right after your product or service and how it fits in the marketplace.
I add more on these segments or segmentation or targeting. They need to be: Measurable; Substantial; Accessible; Differential/Different; Actionable.
Look and research: Demographics; Geographics; Psychographics; Behavior; and now add the significance of Technographics or technographical characteristics.
As Management guru Peter F. Drucker once said: “The aim of Marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him (her/it) and sells itself. Custoemr or potential customers are "people" in the 9P's as a framework to help you understand complexities of Marketing and targeting.
And this is one of the reasons I created and copyrighted the Nine P’s . “People” or Targeting was slightly forgotten in the Marketing Mix, and is a major, significant part of the 9P’s of Marketing.
Companies do not get potential users or customers to try a product by convincing them to love their brand. You get them to love a brand by convincing them to try and use the product or service.
Developing a strong brand is a byproduct. It comes by executing and doing the elements/parts/things/variables/ingredients/components in the Nine P’s of Marketing... right. Make sure the Product or Service is excellent. Research and Planning excellent.
Be sure your company is taking good care of their customers (People), and having the right Planning and targeting (People), the right Product or Service, right Place or distribution, right Price, right Promotion, right Partners, and the right Presentation, with the right amount of Passion in the 9P’s of Marketing.
Make sure there is differentiation. Unique Selling Proposition or Point,
shortened to U.S.P., falls here too. Differentiate based on the needs and
wants of the potential consumers (People again under 9P's of Marketing) and businesses.
Customer differentiation and satisfaction are what build brands.
o A product focusing on a specific target market contrasts sharply with one following the marketing strategy of mass marketing. In my book, a target audience would be a media term; target market is a marketing term.
o Defining a target market requires market segmentation; the process of segmenting the entire market as a whole and separating it into manageable units based on:
Technographics or technographical characteristics.
o Segmentation is an important Marketing concept; the market segmentation process includes: Targeting these segments in the market based on those characteristics. Don't forget to check to see whether any of these market segments are large enough to support the organization's product.
Hope this helps.