A buyer persona is a depiction of your ideal customer based on actual data from market research, competitor analysis, and existing customer profiles.
Most businesses have multiple buyer personas, with each one describing in detail what drives them to buy their product or service. For example, the person’s age, location, job title, goals, and challenges they face.
Buyer personas are key to ongoing marketing success. They also describe your customers’ buying behaviors. This includes what drives them to purchase your product or service and what their decision-making and purchasing processes actually look like.
In this article, we’ll explore how to create data-backed buyer personas and look at a few examples that go beyond the basics. Whether you’re starting from scratch and need help understanding the differences between B2C and B2B buyer personas, or you’re looking to refresh your existing personas, we have some wildly creative examples to share with you throughout this guide.
Why Are Buyer Personas Important?
Buyer personas help marketing, sales, customer support, and product teams make more informed and smarter decisions for the business. On the marketing side, the insights from defining buyer personas can help guide and improve marketing strategies in many ways:
- Identifying customer pain points allows you to create more targeted messaging and customized offerings.
- Knowing where potential customers spend their time (online and offline) makes it easier to distribute content to the right channels.
- Documenting key buyer persona profiles ensures that all marketing efforts are aligned and meeting customer needs.
How to Create Your Buyer Personas Using Data
A majority of (ineffective) buyer personas are based on stereotypes, fictional information, or blanket assumptions. A mistake we often see with buyer personas is too much focus on generic customer characteristics and little focus on the actual challenges, goals, and factors that influence the person’s buying decisions. This is all information that can easily be uncovered with the right tools.
Make sure to include the following steps when creating your buyer personas:
- Segment and analyze your existing customers
- Run qualitative (e.g., interviews) and quantitative (e.g., surveys) research
- Use customer feedback from reviews and customer support requests
- Communicate with your customer-facing teams
- Leverage analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics and your CRM)
- Create your personas using templates to make sure your customer insights are easy to understand and remember.
- Share your personas across the entire organization
- Focus on those buyer personas that present the most value for your business
- Never stop observing and updating your personas when needed!
Differences Between B2C and B2B Buyer Personas
Depending on whether you engage directly with the consumer (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), the way you craft your buyer personas might be somewhat different. For example, you might want to focus on professional information more than on demographics when creating B2B personas, and vice versa.
However, your goal will remain universal: to understand what your customers need, why and how they are making purchase decisions, and what’s the best way to approach them with your offering.
Keep in mind that not all potential information about your customers would be relevant to your particular situation. Make sure that insights you generate with your customer analysis and eventually add to your personas are actionable. For example, if knowing how many kids your B2B customers have wouldn’t change anything in your business strategy, there’s no need to include this information.
Finally, no matter if B2C or B2B, you should always avoid making groundless assumptions and making up facts about your customers. Adding fiction to your buyer personas won’t do you any good and will eventually decrease the ROI of carrying out customer research and creating personas.
Check out the buyer persona examples below that we created using the Semrush Persona tool.
B2C Buyer Persona Example
Our first example buyer persona is for a local real estate firm. Using data from surveys, in-depth interviews, as well as reviews, social media analytics, Google Analytics, and market research, it’s possible to put together demographic information about your target buyer. In this case, we imagined the demographic information for a client named Mrs. Clark Grimes.
The buyer’s expectations from a product or service are also very important. We can gather information about her frustrations, or pain points, when looking for a new home for her family by leveraging data from customer interviews and talking with customer-facing teams. Doing this research is key to understanding that she values trust and convenience in the buying process.
There are a number of factors that influence buying decisions, or the most important deal drivers and roadblocks this person faces when deciding to purchase (for example: price, quality, durability, etc.). Both qualitative and quantitative customer research can help us understand the factors that influence her decision to work with a real estate firm. In this case, we can uncover insights such as her husband’s opinion, online reviews, and the real estate firm’s tech-savviness are all contributing factors that influence her decisions.
Finally, you will want to highlight which communication channels your buyers use to find solutions. In this example, Mrs. Clark Grimes could be reached if you run campaigns on Instagram, work with certain influencers, and encourage word-of-mouth referrals. This information can be uncovered by analyzing competitors and their marketing strategies, asking your customers directly, as well as by analyzing popular search queries and trending social discussions.
B2B Buyer Persona Example
For a B2B example, we have Shawna Cummings, a buyer persona for a company that offers a project management tool. Similar to our B2C example, we’ve included key information about Shawna, such as her age, location, educational level, job title, and type of company.
One of the biggest differences between B2C and B2B buyer personas is the in-depth information about the person’s role in the company and their buying process. For B2B businesses, understanding the person’s job title and level (manager, specialist, etc.) can help us figure out how much influence this person has over the procurement and the final purchase decision.
The customer’s industry knowledge and experience are also important. For example, how much does the buyer already know about existing solutions, your competitors, and have they ever used a similar solution?
Running quantitative analysis, such as surveys, analysis of your CRM data, and market research, is key to gaining statistically objective data about prospects' employment status. You can source additional insights during interviews and other in-person research activities. Additionally, resources such as LinkedIn can help to analyze the employee structure in companies within your target industry.
In this example, we know that Shawna is the CEO of the company, so she is the key decision-maker. As the owner of her business, she values solutions that save her time and can help her automate and delegate tasks so she can focus on bigger priorities. For B2B personas, highlighting the pain points and expectations is also crucial so that you can understand how to position your brand as a solution.
The ‘Unconventional’ Buyer Persona Examples
Now that we've discussed what the standard buyer persona looks like, we thought it would be fun to do some unconventional examples to help get your creativity flowing.
Our next buyer persona example is Elon Musk, a billionaire entrepreneur with big ambitions to change the world through his various business ventures. We know that he focuses his energy on digital communication channels, such as Twitter and streaming events, to share his vision and details about new products, etc. so he’s an ideal customer for the new social networking platform that is (hypothetically) targeting him.
It’s important to understand how your customers prefer to engage with your brand at every stage of the sales lifecycle. Think about channels (e.g., social media, organic search, out-of-home), content formats (e.g., blog posts, videos, podcasts) and content topics that your customers engage with and respond to most.
Here is another unconventional buyer persona for a man named Oh Il-nam. Of course, he is not a real person, but based on what we know about him from the Squid Game series on Netflix, we can imagine he is a highly-educated individual with extra income and time to spend on leisure activities. Perhaps he would be the target customer for a travel agency that helps retirees fill their free time by organizing trips to exotic destinations.
Finally, we have a buyer persona for a woman in her 30s named Adele, a world-famous singer who is based in the UK and seeks a solution to cure her depression after separation and find a new partner. The dating app targeting her knows that she spends a lot of time at events and on social media and enjoys helping others. These insights can help the app send her the right marketing messages at the right time.
Regardless of what stage your company is in, creating in-depth buyer personas should be a priority. Even businesses that have been around for decades should review and reassess their target audience from time to time. When done right, buyer personas can provide extensive insights into your customers’ real motivations, challenges, and goals.
This information helps keep every aspect of your business on track, whether it’s monitoring and improving the overall brand experience, adjusting your pricing, or creating marketing content that truly appeals to your customers. Buyer personas are central to these activities, as is taking a data-driven approach to them.