Target Market vs. Buyer Persona
As a marketer, you are probably familiar with the concept of a target market: focusing your efforts towards a subgroup of people. When using target markets, your marketing is focused towards this group, but in a generalized way.
An example of a target market would be:
- Women who are between the ages of 25-35 years old
- Have an income between $60,000-$80,000
- Live in Southern California
When creating and using a buyer persona, the intention is to take the generalized focus of your target market and narrow it down even more. A buyer persona is a detailed, hypothetical profile that includes specific characteristics of someone who belongs to your target market group. The goal of a persona is for the user to be able to imagine that they truly know this buyer.
An example of a buyer persona would be:
- Mary is 27 years old
- Makes $65,000/year
- Lives in Rancho Cucamonga, California
- Prefers to get her coffee from a local craft coffee shop instead of large chains like Starbucks
- Does yoga on the weekends
- Has two dogs
By creating Mary as our buyer persona and keeping her in mind when creating marketing campaigns, we can better understand how someone similar to her might respond to our message. We can constantly ask ourselves, “What would Mary think of this?” or “Does this meet Mary’s needs”? If we always keep Mary in mind, we can be sure that we are keeping our firm accountable to what it is putting out in the market while also maintaining confidence that our materials are fresh and relevant.
How to Incorporate Buyer Personas
If your firm is looking to build a stronger foundation for your marketing team in a more conceptual and low-tech way, then creating buyer personas is a great first step. It can be as simple as a creating them for discussions in your next team meeting before a campaign launch. Turn the process into a fun exercise where each team member has to create who they think is the right persona for your current campaign.
If you want a more integrated approach, some CRM systems, like Hubspot for example, now have a “Make My Persona” tool. When you use a persona with a CRM for email marketing, you can assign your real-life contacts to each fictional buyer persona you create. This can be helpful in understanding the motivation behind your audience as well as categorizing them. Segmenting your contacts using buyer personas can be an effective tool for sending specific content to the most relevant clients.
Whether you are in the beginner stages of using a persona as a way to stimulate your next marketing team discussion, or you are ready to really start integrating them into your email campaigns, a fictional person with specific traits is an excellent method for getting inside the mind of your real-life audience.
About Jenn Gouveia
Jenn is a Southern California native who studied at the University of California, Riverside. She owns a small business with her husband, where she cultivated her passion for both marketing and writing. She is also the Marketing Coordinator for the California offices of the Eide Bailly LLP accounting firm. Outside of work, Jenn enjoys reading, all things fitness, and hanging out with her three-legged dog.