A buyer persona is a fictional character created to represent the ideal customer being targeted by an advert, campaign or work of content. Artificial intelligence has been introduced to existing customer data to find similar traits and behaviour patterns in customers. The importance of the buyer persona is in the depth of detail that the character is created with. Personas go beyond a basic profile with a group of characteristics – it paints a picture of a fully fleshed out human being with likes, dislikes and behaviour patterns.

While the use of profile can give some idea of the end-user and is useful a buyer persona takes into account cultural customs and norms which deliver greater detail and insight into the behaviours of the ideal customer. This, of course, comes with the ability to customize messages to their specific tastes. It also enables the business to know other pertinent issues like when and where to find their buyer, what they’ll likely be doing and with whom. The buyer persona helps you answer six key questions about your content consumers. These six key questions are examined in detail below

Who are they?

Who are your consumers? A profile might tell you they are a millennial female who works out and enjoys weekend tourism which is all well and good. However, a buyer persona has to do with how they identify their selves. What symbols and messages are consistent with their self-identity? A buyer persona lets you look at a person through their own view, not a list of demographics.

Where are they coming from and where are they going?

What places does your consumer frequent? The buyer persona includes information on other activities they partake in that are closely related to your offering. A simple example of this in practice is the relationship between sports enthusiasm and sports betting. It’s highly likely that people who enjoy one enjoy the other. The buyer persona approach accounts for this by building in activities that the buyer engages in. This covers both activities that the buyer does in conjunction with the primary activity, as well as activities that the buyer may carry out independent of the activity but could still be related.

What do they do?

To build on the previous aspect, the buyer persona also gives you insight into what your consumers do, with your product. Now, this varies from product to product but the fundamental point is how they enjoy your product and this involves the environment. Consider the audiobook as a product, in what environments to audiobook users enjoy their books? Do they combine them with other activities? For me, it’s while doing house chores and commuting that I listen to audiobooks. Some do so during morning exercise and others during mealtimes. As your buyer persona is created from data derived from your current consumers you can use the understanding of their settings to provide useful product features.

With whom?

Some activities are best enjoyed alone and other activities are enjoyed with friends. The American ABC network captured this concept beautifully when they lined up their hit tv shows Scandal and How to get away with Murder to show consecutively on a Thursday night during prime time tv hours. They then created an advertising campaign focused on encouraging viewers to have friends over for a night of wine and tv. This tapped into the ‘what do they do’ question (drink wine) with the ‘who do they do it with’ question (their friends). This is an excellent use case for the buyer persona in content generation as it ultimately resulted in viewership rating boosts for the channel.

What do they respond to?

Buyer personas created will give you information on what exactly your consumers respond to. This covers issues of the content medium; written, audio or visuals. The buyer persona uncovers the key characteristics of a specific consumer segment. The buyer persona addresses the call to action. What sort of action step is acceptable for your chosen segments persona? Process the transaction immediately, leave their details for you to follow up or arrange a physical meeting? These considerations are informed by your buyer persona. It’s not unheard of that consumers abandon orders in e-commerce for example at the very last stage. Of course, there are many reasons for this but one of them may do with the call to action. Another call to action that leaves money at the table is the “Direct message for prices” on goods advertised on free open and public platforms.

The buyer persona takes the buyer profile and goes a step further, it tells the buyers story. You don’t really understand someone until you know their story, do you? Create the buyer person from your early adopters to give you an idea of who you’ll be dealing, how they think, what they do, and how they communicate and like to be communicated with. This process is not only for startups and new products; it can be applied at any stage of the product life cycle. You will likely need more than 1 buyer persona to capture your target market and that will help you cater messages to the different participants.