Frankly, asking ourselves as inbound marketers whether we should "know" our customer or client base, seems like a silly question. Of course we should, right?
As someone who has been marketing in various capacities across private, non-profit and public sectors for several years now, I can tell you that what might seem common sense and second nature to some, is surprisingly challenging for others.
Some may not be familiar with a certain demographic, others might feel ill-prepared to execute a sales plan, junior marketers could feel out of their element promoting something they're new to. We all come from different backgrounds in the marketing industry, and we all have our own specific skill-sets.
What I am hoping to underscore for all of you today is the necessity to foster a deep and professional understanding of your buyer personas before trying to reach them on any level. HubSpot #inbound marketing software reinforces that determining our buyer personas is imperative in determining your customer base, and ultimately succeeding in selling your product or service.
Most importantly, what exactly is
a "buyer persona?" HubSpot
defines them as semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer, based on real data and some select educated speculation about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals
- or, semi-fictional characters that represent your dream customers.
In HubSpot Academy's buyer personas class, they provide a nifty exemplary buyer persona named "Mary:" Mary is 42 years old and has a Bachelor of Communications from Syracuse and an MBA from Babson. She is married, has 2 kids, and runs the marketing department at her company. She is an expert at outbound and traditional marketing, with 5-15 years of experience. She worries about her "brand presence" and hired a firm to redesign her website. She outsources a fair amount of activity because she has an easier time getting budget than headcount. Mary craves education; she wants to know the latest in what works in marketing and why she should invest in one area over another. A lot of Mary's job is "keeping things running" - supporting sales, updating the website, generating "more" leads (rarely with a concrete goal in mind). Mary needs a simple, integrated tool that will help her do her job more effectively and also make it easier. If she screws that up, she risks getting yelled at by the sales team and her boss, the CEO. Mary dresses “business casual” and does most of her shopping at Ann Taylor. She uses the web for sharing photos with friends, email communication, and is starting to play around with social media accounts for her company. She uses LinkedIn, Facebook (for family photos), and Twitter (recently got a company account with <100 followers).
There are a plethora of questions we need to identify and answer before we can ensure we're reaching our customer base as broadly and effectively as possible. Simply put, buyer personas help to form a critical foundation for any
form of marketing.
Typically, any marketing organization whether big or small, young or seasoned, is going to have more than one buyer persona to address. There are, on average, between 2-5 of these target demographics for every organization. Meaning — not just a "Mary," but possibly a "George" and "Amanda" as well!
And, while the inbound marketing process can be complicated and multi-facted, and require not only your own but your colleagues' collective effort when creating a marketing campaign - none of your campaign (no matter how elaborate) is going to be nearly as effective unless you have first laid the groundwork for determining exactly who you're marketing to.
Blindly diving into this process is not advisable. A wise approach (which we have actually employed ourselves over here at PROSAR Inbound
) is to sit down with your staff or marketing team, and take the time to fill out the HubSpot Persona Development Worksheet
. You may need to create more than one of these documents in order to cover each of your buyer personas if you market to various demographics.
Once you have all this critical information down on paper, you're going to find it much easier to guide your staff on precisely who they're reaching. Moreover, HubSpot offers a free template on their website entitled the Marketer's Guide to Creating Buyer Personas.
You can access this helpful tool by clicking here
The Buyer Persona Institute
from Friday Harbour, WA provides some great resources to help your organization stay on track. Their educational blog features an article on 6 Reasons to Start Using Buyer Personas Now,
which you can access here
. The article further emphasizes the need to stand out from your competition, and to personify/fully comprehend the people you're marketing to.
Still not feeling confident enough to hash out those personas? I'd be happy to help. You're welcome to follow PROSAR Inbound on Twitter @PROSAR
, or shoot us a quick email anytime to email@example.com
, and we'll get right back to you.
Until then — best of luck, fellow inbounders!