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February 21, 2017

3 Tough Questions To Ask When Building Your Buyer Persona

2 minute read

3-Tough-Questions-To-Ask-When-Building-Your-Buyer-PersonaYou must know your customer before you can market to them. It’s Marketing 101. It’s the foundation of inbound marketing. After all, how are you going to creative compelling calls-to-action if you have no idea what makes your target customer tick? And these days, it seems that every Molly Marketer is on board with creating buyer personas. To know your customer is to sell to them. But how deep into your customer psyche do you go? To really know your customer is to convert them into evangelists for your business.

You’ve met those people. The Starbucks fanatics who have the cup practically glued into their palm at all times. They’ll tell you why a barista writes your name on a cup. They know all about the roasting process and the charitable work that the coffee giant does. Or the big box superstore fans who just won’t shop anywhere else. How special could those big box stores be? According to some die-hard fans, other retailers just won’t do. So how do these companies attract people who drip loyalty?

The truth is, any marketer can ask the easy questions. They can pinpoint demographics like age, education level and income. But what about the hard questions? If you can ask those, get to the answers and build a marketing campaign around that persona, then you might have a chance of creating more than a few evangelists for your brand.


Here are three questions you should ask to get to the heart of your target persona.


1. What Need Does the Persona Have That our Product/Service is Not Solving?

Your product can’t be all things to all people. And it shouldn’t be. But you should have a firm grip on what the product can’t do for your customers. When you know that, you can either address it head-on in your messaging or use your messaging to convince your customer why they need to buy into your brand anyway.

2. What Other Products/Services are out There That May Meet Their Needs Better Than Ours?

It’s important to know your competition and you probably have a whole list of features and benefits of the products your competitors offer. However, have you really delved into that product from the customer perspective? For example, why would a customer go to Caribou Coffee over Starbucks? What’s the draw? Is it because they feel cozier there? Or do they have better prices? You need to know what your customers are really looking for and why they go where they go to get it.

3. Do They Think With Their Heart or Their Head?

You know that customers make product decisions regularly. But different personas come to the same conclusion differently. For example, according to the Myers Briggs Foundation, a person who has the Feeling preference in their personality type makes decisions based on weighing what people care about, values and what will maintain harmony. A person with the Thinking preference makes decisions based on objective principles and impersonal facts. These two personality types would need vastly different communication from your marketing team. You need to develop a marketing program that addresses all the ways your target personas make decisions.  


Building a buyer persona takes time, effort and a lot of creativity. It pays to get the sales team involved and to do some data analysis on your target market. But it’s important to find out more than just their basic demographics if we want to really get inside their heads and ensure that our products and services meet their true needs.



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Ryan Burkett
Ryan Burkett

Ryan Burkett is a senior partner and solutions delivery champion at Stratagon. Ryan shares passion in traditional, inbound, and digital marketing, but really gets his kicks building client experiences that never disappoint. Whether a envisioning a tradeshow or mobile tour, a targeted campaign or content-filled microsite, or even building customer strategy and business processes to help our clients deliver for their clients, Ryan delivers. Family man, sports fan, member of the Crossfit cult. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.