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Updated Apr 10, 2023

8 Components of Customer Personas

Developing accurate customer personas is key to your company's success.

Tabitha Naylor, Community Member
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Table of Contents

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To be successful in business, you must understand your ideal customer. This is the individual who benefits the most from your product or service and provides the most value to your company. This is the person you should spend your energy and resources attempting to acquire. But how do you find this consumer? That’s where creating customer personas comes into play.

Customer persona defined

A customer persona, also known as a buyer persona, is a profile of your ideal customer. It is a research-based, semi-fictional representation of your target customer and typically includes the following information:

  • Demographics
  • Consumer behaviors and preferences
  • Beliefs, attitudes and values
  • Pain points or challenges
  • Unmet needs and how it relates to your product or service
  • Channels where they go for information or entertainment

Developing a customer persona helps frame your marketing messages for a specific audience. It ensures you’re speaking to your ideal customer’s needs, goals and preferred channels for content consumption. This individual should be representative of the market you’re trying to reach.

One of the biggest reasons to build customer personas is that it encourages businesses to think about communicating the benefits of their product or service in terms of the actual people who will use it. It forces you to think of your users or customers as people, not as abstract concepts. This also helps you think about how to provide real value to your customers, which is ultimately what they care about.

Bottom LineBottom line
A customer persona focuses on the wants, needs and desires of your target audience or customer. It's a general representation of the majority of your customer base.

The key components for building customer personas

Customer personas are research-based. While the exact development methods vary, most businesses build their customer profiles using a similar set of questions. Here is a breakdown of the information you need to consider when developing your customer personas.

1. Role and job title

  • What does your ideal customer do for a living?
  • Do they tend to engage with C-suite members like CEOs, CFOs and other top executives?
  • Who do they report to, if anyone?

The answers to these questions depend on your business aims. For example, if your company serves a predominantly B2B market, you can assume your audience is composed of business decision-makers – individuals in charge of making procurement and purchasing decisions.

As you answer these questions and begin profiling your customers, you can include information like their educational background, professional background, skills and role in the organization. These details will help you determine the tone of your messages and what kind of language to use.

2. Responsibilities and daily activities

  • What does a typical day in your customer’s life look like?
  • What tasks comprise an ordinary workday for them?
  • How do they measure the success of their work?
  • What skills do they need to perform their job?

These questions allow you to understand the motivations and challenges of your potential customers. Of course, some questions will apply in some situations and others will not. For example, these questions assume your customers are employed. Reframe the questions according to your audience.

TipBottom line
Conducting customer research via email surveys, phone interviews and exit surveys are all good ways to build customer personas.

3. Media consumption habits

  • How much time does your ideal customer spend on social media?
  • Where do they get their news? What type of content do they consume most on a daily basis – videos, articles or social media posts?
  • What is their favorite social media platform?

These questions help you figure out what kind of content your ideal customers consume regularly and where they go online for news and information. The answers to these questions can be the difference between your business focusing on video content, blogs, or posting on LinkedIn or Facebook.

4. Demographics and firmographics

  • What is the average age of your customers?
  • Are they single, married and/or parents?
  • For organizations, what kind of industry are they in? What are their verticals?
  • What challenges do the firms face?

Demographic data may seem unimportant, but it can help you frame your messages for a specific age group. For example, millennials tend to care more about price and would rather splurge on experiences, like vacations, concerts and live sporting events. Firmographic data lets you discover whether the organization has an unmet need your business can solve. This data is especially useful for B2B firms. 

>> Learn More: Best Customer Tracking Methods for Your Small Business

5. Purchase factors they care about

  • What factors push your customers into making a purchase? Bargains? Limited-time offers? Convenience?
  • Which product factors catch the attention of your customers? Features, benefits or price?

Your research in this area will help you customize your message to prioritize what your customers care most about. If they value price, your marketing messages should position your business as providing the best value for money. If your audience values after-sales support or value-added services like free shipping, adjust your marketing content accordingly. One example of customized marketing is email personalization.

6. Goals and motivations

  • What are your customers’ professional goals?
  • What are their personal goals?

Just like anyone else, your potential customers are driven by personal goals and motivations. Taking the time to understand these goals allows you to see how your business’s marketing goals align with theirs. The more your goals align, the easier it will be to craft marketing messages that speak to your audience. Not to mention, this actually helps you solve your prospects’ problems.

For example, assume that your persona, Sheila, is a procurement officer for a small graphic design company. Her job goals include maintaining solid communications with suppliers and getting the best prices on raw materials and B2B services. Your aim should be to help Sheila reach her goals.

7. Values

  • What values and principles do your customers believe strongly in?
  • What are the characteristics of your customers’ personalities?

You can dive deeper into the qualities that define your potential customers’ personalities, world views and values. These factors, also known as psychographics, fill in details that allow you to identify your customers’ attitudes, perspectives and ideals.

Psychographic data is particularly useful for creating marketing messages that appeal to the heart and soul of your audience – something demographic data can’t quite capture. These qualitative factors will help you determine what your audience cares about and how your brand can use this information to connect with them on an emotional level.

8. Pain points and challenges

  • What factors prevent your customers from doing their job successfully?
  • What problems do your customers frequently encounter at work, school or in their personal lives?

Aside from goals and motivations, it’s also important to find out what things frustrate your customers. Once you figure this out, it becomes easier to understand what exactly will win your audience’s hearts and minds. 

Going back to the Sheila persona, her challenges may include quality assurance of purchased goods, the turnaround time of ordered goods, and communication problems with suppliers. You’ll want to craft a message that eases those pain points for her.

Completing your persona with all of this information is just the beginning. You’ll find room for improvement as you get to know your customers more. Over time,add or change factors like skills, influences, favored brands and even the technology your persona uses to make your descriptions more detailed. That way, you can better target your customers as time goes on. 

To complement your personas, take the time to develop your customer journey, mapping out how your audience interacts with your company. That, too, will help you better reach consumers.

FYIDid you know
Once you've developed your customer personas and started acquiring clients, you should use one of the best CRM platforms to track your customers and manage your relationship with them.

How to use customer personas

Research shows that customers are more likely to do business with companies that personalize their messaging. Here’s how you can use your customer personas to improve your marketing and increase sales for your business.

  • Use language your audience relates to. If you don’t understand your audience or what they care about, you run the risk of alienating them. You may use jargon they don’t comprehend or fail to show them how your product or service can help them. But once you have well-defined customer personas, you can speak to your target customer in a way they can relate to based on what you know about them.
  • Identify relevant influencers. Buyer personas can help you find marketing influencers who have audiences similar to yours. Since you know your ideal customer so well, you’ll understand whether that person’s audience aligns with yours. If you find a match, you can work with that influencer to draw attention to your business.
  • Run better marketing campaigns. You should always conduct in-depth audience research before running a marketing campaign. This is true whether you’re sending a cold email or building an entire marketing funnel. Accurate customer personas should inform everything you do, including the copy you write and the graphics you feature on your company website. 
  • Qualify leads. The “spray and pray” approach rarely works in marketing. It’s much better to understand your audience so you can target the consumers most likely to be interested in your services. Customer personas can help you qualify leads so you’re not wasting your time on people who aren’t a good fit for your product or service. 

Jamie Johnson contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.

Tabitha Naylor, Community Member
My Objective: to develop and implement marketing campaigns that are effective, ethical and deliver positive ROI for my clients. I am a qualified, experienced and enthusiastic sales & marketing professional. My passion for marketing excellence finds its roots not only in my accreditation's but also in the application of this acumen in my own business. This has rendered me a success to both myself and my clients. I appreciate the importance of high quality marketing and I deliver my services meticulously and comfortably. My services comprise every facet of marketing consulting: I thoroughly assess the current inbound and outbound marketing procedures of an organization and provide comprehensive solutions that increase brand awareness, quality leads and sales revenue, while enhancing ROI on their marketing efforts. Additionally, I employ the proficiencies of a dedicated team of independent contractors with whom I partner and communicate intimately to ensure that the services I deliver meet the highest standards and produce the best results for clients that retain me. I pride myself on being approachable, flexible, detail-oriented and results-driven. I enjoy the work that I do and I believe this marries well with my work ethic to produce high quality deliverable that actually generate the one thing all business owners need... results.
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