I mean, really. They’re running around matching up with any company who will take them, they’re giving you vague and unhelpful answers to your perfectly legitimate questions, and they mumble a bunch of conflicting messages when you just want to know, “What do you WANT from me?!”
Do you even know who they are anymore?
We’ve got good news for you: you don’t need them anymore. We’re going to introduce you to someone who’s attractive, insightful, and perfect for you.
That someone is called buyer personas.
The Evolution of Target Markets
Back in the day, target markets were the only buyer-targeting tool marketers had. Target markets rely only on tip-of-the-iceberg information: age, gender, income bracket, etc.
Obviously, this isn’t specific enough. It’s very easy to lose money if you’re not marketing to the right people, and losing money makes people unhappy.
So, target markets got more specific.
Marketers added seemingly irrelevant criteria to the list: political leanings, hobbies, geographic location, buying habits, etc.
Until, finally, they had evolved beyond the original focus of target markets (demographics) and took up the banner of behaviors.
Someone came up with a catchy new name (everyone tries to take credit for this), and BAM, buyer personas were born.
Where target markets are the tip of the iceberg, buyer personas are the entire iceberg. Icebergs are hard to size up from the outside. So we ask the iceberg how deep it goes, and sometimes the iceberg doesn’t even know. But carefully crafted questions (namely “Why?” on repeat) can reveal the info you need.
Moving on from icebergs.
Buyer personas focus on buying behaviors, goals, motivations, frustrations, anything that influences the buying decision.
The “why” is the most important question - but you also learn the who, what, when, where, and how so you can target the right person in the right place at the right time.
In 2015, there are quite a few established names in marketing - all the way from companies (HubSpot) to individuals (Tony Zambito) who help the biggest international brands and Fortune 500 companies target their buyers with laser accuracy. The most successful marketing names are basing their strategies on buyer personas.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to buyer personas than what we mention here. But, it would be impossible to do them justice in a single blog post.