Three Questions For More Actionable Buyer Personas

What’s the best way to get more information? Ask a question. If that sounds overly simple, bear with me.

Three Questions For More Actionable Buyer Personas

What’s the best way to get more information? Ask a question. If that sounds overly simple, bear with me.

The ability to ask questions of and about our target audiences in ever-more sophisticated ways is one of the best things about being a marketer today. In the past, our industry was built around qualitative metrics—and plenty of good old “shots in the dark.”

Back then, our questions were more likely to be, “I wonder if that billboard is targeting the correct demographic?” or, “Do you think our target audience found that information useful?”

Today, the abundance of integrated technologies, data, and online activity allows us to study people’s habits and tendencies. This information enables us to paint an increasingly detailed picture that empowers us to build “growth marketing” experiences that are more and more meaningful to our target audiences.

Growth marketing, like anything involving human beings, is complex, organic, and up for interpretation (and frequent change). But at its essence, growth marketing involves two components: building repeatable back-end processes that in turn allow us to more easily create consistently compelling experiences on the front end.

The most important thing for growth marketers to have in mind is a clear objective as well as a sharp picture of their audiences—and this is where buyer personas come into play.

Here are three questions marketers can ask to help hone in on effective buyer personas that enable engagement, and ultimately, action on the part of consumers.

Question 1: What Are Our Ideal Customer Profiles?

In this new world of digital, quickly iterative, and increasingly metrics-driven campaigns, marketers need to have a clearer picture than ever of who their ideal customers are.

Marketers should challenge themselves and their teams with these additional questions to take a deeper dive into establishing these ideal customer profiles:

Circulating these questions among your team is key, since I’ve frequently found that using internal “crowd wisdom” is an important step in circulating and fleshing out our ideal customer profiles. Each team member (and even department) will view target customers through a unique lens. Taking a crowd approach to building out profiles ensures that you’re not missing any key angles or important considerations about customers’ roles, goals, and challenges.

Question 2: How Can Our Content Better Guide Our Ideal Customer Through The Demand Funnel?

Once marketers build ideal customer profiles, the next step is to create targeted content, messaging, and workflows that all come together in the form of experiences that guide buyers through the stages of the demand funnel.

A commonly overlooked consideration, especially at the outset of testing new content, messaging, and workflows, is to keep targeting and messaging consistent for that particular segment. Changing things up too often prevents marketers from being able to zone in on what’s working and why—or what’s not working and why not.

In crafting a content and messaging strategy, here are a few additional questions to keep in mind:

These questions can help you determine what kind of content will be of greatest value to your ideal customer persona(s), so you can reliably give them what they need, when they need it.

Question 3: Are You Iterating And Optimizing Every Six Months?

Especially in the new era of digital marketing, there’s no such thing as setting campaigns on autopilot. It’s essential to re-evaluate the results of your efforts frequently; every six months is a good benchmark to start with.

Successful growth marketers and demand generation teams are incredibly data-driven. Accurate data, creativity, and technology together allow far greater output with less resources than were required in the past. Of course, having a consistent process is key to making this equation work. Once you have a consistent process, you can more easily assess whether your ideal customer profiles/personas are well-targeted.

The key is to never stop assessing. Buyers have new alternatives (and targeted content) popping up every day. Their goals and concerns might shift. The market landscape as a whole could change.

So it’s important to audit your personas at least every six months—and do so ruthlessly. If a message isn’t converting, ditch it. If a piece of content or a particular topic has low engagement, stop writing about it. Or if messaging is working and gaining traction, expand on it; if a blog post has high click-through rates, consider launching a webinar on the same topic.

By answering these questions, you have more information about who to target, what to say, and when to say it, enabling you to do your job better. More actionable buyer personas, or ideal customer profiles, will enable you to increase conversions, decrease sales cycles, and avoid wasting resources. And those outcomes are worth asking a few well-crafted questions to achieve.

See what the Twitterverse is saying about personalization: