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Buyer Personas. Are you Irrelevant?


 Have you ever missed out on a sale because your cost was higher than the competitors, even when you know your offering was far superior, but the customer couldn’t see past the price?

If you are like me, you want to be able to stand clear from those decisions made solely on price. You want to happily be paid the premium price your product or service deserves.

The key is making your value relevant to your buyer, starting with your introductory marketing and sales material. If you’re not strategic in your value messaging within this initial contact, your generalised marketing messaging will be shuffled in with the same from your competitors and you become a price compared commodity.

The generalised marketing messaging falls into two categories. The first is anything that can be easily rebranded by your competitor as their own. Second is messaging that doesn’t speak directly to addressing the value gaps for the buyer whose eyes are on it.

The latter point leads into the many levels and types of buyers, even within the one sale. It is quite rare that a product or service would have one single buyer. This means value is subjective and your marketing message of value needs to be relevant to the different types or levels of buyer who it is presented to. This is true for both for B2B and B2C categories.

Take for instance a single market type for a B2B service. The end user at the buying company may see significant improvement in speed, safety, reliability, quality control etc, as valuable propositions. However, using these propositions with their CEO, whose interests are in higher level areas, results in being lumped in with the competitors to be decided purely on cost.

For B2C a brand’s value proposition and messaging needs to consider multiple buyers too. A brand will have multiple buyers, from stockists, to investors, through to individual product range consumers. Then different types of consumers with geographical differences like language, customs, pricing and more.

An example is a car company. They will have a variety of models for a variety of buyers, with levels of models within these that appeal to even more buyer groups. In each individual model there can also be multiple buyers, like a small hatchback being an ideal first car for a 17 year old girl. It needs to speak to her in messaging that appeals to her wants. Considering the value proposition for the parent who would likely be buying the vehicle may be wise too.

Naturally this means that your value proposition messaging has to be relevant to the person who is being marketed to at each and every encounter. Think of each as selling it to each decision maker on each step of the sale. It does not mean your brand’s core purpose and positioning needs to differ though, so long as it too is relevant in an overarching, meaningful and authentic way.


How do you get your message right for each group?

Simple. Define each and every buyer type and create a buyer persona for each one. A buyer persona is your ideal, stereotypical Jane or John that buys your offering. Remember, there can be multiple buyers for a single sale, like the example of front line user and CEO, or the father and daughter for the hatchback. You define her (or him) by working through a series of questions (our buyer persona template is available on request) to define their buying criteria and character.

Once you have created your buyer personas, you use them to guide your messaging for that category, always referring back to “Is this relevant to Jane?”

Action Step.

Choose one buyer persona to develop during each month, or quarter depending on your businesses capacity. During that period, refine and roll out your marketing for that persona. Start by testing smaller segments to get the value proposition message right, and then roll it out. Accompany that with training of your sales staff to engrain the new value proposition for that persona. Take your time and do it right and start with the most profitable and frequent buyers for your offerings.

As with any marketing, the key is to test and measure, then evolve your branding and messaging with that new knowledge. Business today is won by those who understand all the value gaps they fill, and knowing how to communicate that value with relevance for all their different buyers.

If you have any questions about this piece or if you’d like a copy of our buyer persona template, or if you’d like our help with implementation, simply comment below.

Warmly, LF

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