Buyer Personas

A few weeks ago we looked at the Decision Making Unit for B2B roles, but what if you are a consumer facing business? Well, you have your buyer personas to define.

How do I define a buyer persona?

In short it is what your ideal customer(s) looks like. Some people will call them ICP (Ideal Customer Profiles), others segments, others tribes / audiences / clusters…The more you understand your target and how they group for messaging and communication methods the better the marketing will be.

What do I need to consider?

There are some common areas to consider for consumer focused businesses:

  1. Age range: Are you targeting teenagers or pensioners, or something in between? If you are running a café then you might have different targets at different times of the day; if you are a hairdresser then you may have a special offer for pensioners on a traditionally quiet day. If a soft play centre then you will be targeting young parents and also childcare grandparents.
  2. Gender: Are you primarily targeting male, female, non-binary, transgender and so on? Some businesses for example lingerie shops will predominantly be aimed at females, but at certain times of the year (Valentine’s, Christmas) have a male audience; but how about an online service or a monthly evening for cross dressers and those starting transition where they can feel secure and respected?
  3. Marital status: If you run a couples only hotel then you will be looking at married and civil partnerships for example, but if you are club running a speed dating event then singletons are your target.
  4. Location: If you are a physical business then there will a typical geography that your clients come from. If you have a mobile consumer business, eg mobile chiropodist, then how far do you want to travel from your base? If you are an online business, are you UK only, Europe too or global?
  5. Type of job and earnings: A boutique may stock exclusive lines aimed at earners over £100K a year, so they may be directors, towards the top of their careers and presentation is key. A lighting show room may be competing more with IKEA and B&Q so their targets could be students to middle managers who want a nice home without a heavy price tag as they still have a student loan to pay off.
  6. Nest status: pre-children; young children; teenagers; kids at university; empty nesters; care giving grandparents.

Then once you have an idea on those four areas, to really get to know your buyer personas then these also come into play.

  1. Social media: which channels do they favour: X for sport and politics, Facebook for family, Instagram for friends, LinkedIn for professional contacts and so on. Are they someone who follows key influencers and gets ideas from them?
  2. Newspapers / news sites: Is your buyer persona a Daily Star reader, the FT or somewhere between?
  3. Magazines including online: Are there any specific (maybe hobby) publications relevant to your business that they are likely to read? For general magazines are they more likely to read Woman’s Realm, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, GQ and so on.
  4. TV programmes: What are their favourite TV programmes – Love Island, Mastermind, The Masked Singer. What are their favourite genres – reality, drama, documentary, foreign language films, sport.
  5. Key hobbies and interests: are they aspiring to a certain lifestyle – eco with electric car or no car; the good life by growing their own food and so on. Do they go to a certain type of venue for holidays – Ibiza versus 3 week cruise.
  6. Why your business?: What is it that your business solves for this individual – handy sandwich shop to the office; relevant hobby supplier; on trend hairdresser and so on.

Name Your Buyer Personas

Once you have all the above you can visualise them, and even give them a name.

Let’s meet Fitness Fiona: a 20 something single woman who likes to keep in shape. She watches reality TV shows and gets her news from Facebook. Fitness Fiona is more a BBC3 or ITV2 watcher than BBC1 or BBC2. She never watches appointment TV, but is a digital native with an on-demand viewing habit, probably in a binge session for a whole series. Fitness Fiona wants to be up to date with fashions, but is moving away from fast fashion due to the damage to the environment.

She probably earns £30-£50K per annum, has a degree and the associated loan to go with it. Fitness Fiona uses Instagram for selfies and keeping up to date with friends. She has a Facebook account but that is more aimed at keeping up to date with her parents, aunts, uncles and other older family members. Fitness Fiona is still trying to decide what her ideal life looks like. She likes to support small business instead of tax avoiding international chains if she can, and they are a similar price as money is a bit tight. Lives at home with her parents, but dreams of moving out for her own independence.

You now have a very good idea of what this category of person is like and what their interests are. You can build marketing messages that target their trigger points – we’re a family-run coffee shop who gives a 20p discount if you bring your own refillable cup for your takeaway coffee – hits that environmental and a small business. A sports wear online store with sportswear made from recycled plastics or sustainable cotton. To get her interest then an active Instagram account is key.

You will have multiple buyer personas for your company.

If you need any help in building your buyer personas then feel free to give us a call.

[Originally issued 10/6/21; edited 13/3/24]