Individualizing Your Customer With Personas

February 18, 2014

Welcome, all, to the third installment in our four-part series, Target Your Ideal Customer with Personas! An accurate understanding of the needs of your ideal customers enables you to communicate with them more effectively—and increases your business’ potential for success. We’re here to help you achieve a more accurate and insightful customer profile, and naturally, we’re doing it the Hivehouse Digital way: by combining the complementary powers of creative thinking and hard data.

In our last post, we walked you through the steps of creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

Here, we’ll outline the key information needed to create personas that personalize the audience segments you are trying to reach. In our final post, we’ll show you how to merge the two for the ultimate Hivehouse-powered customer profile!

Personas Help You Understand Your Buyer

Personas are commonly used to enable B2C marketers, web designers, and product developers to understand consumer behavior. They can also be great B2B tools, helping you define the individuals within companies that will use your products or services.

As you work with your customers, you’ll notice that different individuals will be impacted by the product or service you offer. It is important that you understand these diverse audience segments so that you can best communicate your value proposition to them in a way that resonates with their distinct needs. A sales manager at the organization will have needs and pain points that vary from those of a human resources team member. If you haven’t clearly articulated how needs differ between these audiences, then you may be missing opportunities to reach the individuals who impact the buying decision. For these reasons, your customer profiles must recognize the diverse needs and challenges of the various individuals making up the companies you serve. Define them with individual personas.

How to Create Personas

With personas, you create detailed hypothetical pictures of the key contacts and decision makers within your customer’s organization. The best way to start this process is with a team brainstorming session in which you consciously focus on the types of people who will ultimately need your product or service. This may be based on your different product lines or business units, or on different industries you serve. (For example, a company that sells software might have a product that manages financial data for the accounting team and may also offer a different or complementary product for inventory management on the production floor.)

For each audience segment, it is important to think of companies you’ve worked with as real people. Try to imagine what things are like from their perspective. Consider

  • Interviewing people fulfilling those roles
  • Doing targeted research through LinkedIn to understand career trajectory or education requirements for a particular position
  • Asking questions of any co-workers who have contact with these individuals

We highly recommend that you choose a name and find a photo for each persona you identify. This type of personalization will put you in the right mindset for identifying their unique perspective. After all, your goal here is really to put yourself in their shoes!

To expand the persona, have the team identify and document

Key Characteristics of Your Buyer

  • Job title or role
  • Experience level of the individual (seasoned pro, mid-level,  novice), including comfort level with technology
  • Level of seniority and who this person reports to
  • Preferred mode or style of communication
  • What a typical day looks like for this individual

Your Buyer’s Unique Problem Set

  • Goals (to hit a sales target, to develop leads)
  • Challenges and pain points
  • Questions that they may have about your product or service

While this may be a new process for you, it is certainly a rewarding exercise and one that will help you truly understand each audience that you are trying to reach. Once you’ve done it, you’ll be well on your way to finding the solutions that will make them come running to you—and tell their colleagues to do the same!

Be sure to catch our final blog post in the series, where we’ll show you how to create documentation that merges the information you’ve gathered into an ultimate customer profile package.

See you soon!

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