What Is Buyer Persona? Definition and Guide

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a fictionalized characterization of your best customer(s) based on information about them and how they use your product or service.

These descriptions mirror your various market segments, with names to match the type of buyer. You might have Stylish Sally and Practical Polly and Discount Daphne as personas in your clothing business, for example, all representing different categories of buyers with similar backgrounds and habits.

In this case, Sally might be primarily concerned with looking snazzy at any cost, while Polly is focused on finding more functional, long-lasting outfits, and Daphne really only buys when you have a great sale, but is great for clearing out last season’s merchandise.

But personas are more than just clever names. They provide a description that helps you attract more buyers just like them, by personalizing your marketing messaging to attract them.

Personas help you better understand what your customers are:

  • Thinking
  • Feeling
  • Concerned about
  • Hoping
  • Expecting
  • Planning
  • Believing

Most businesses have multiple buyer personas that they sell to, but don’t go overboard in developing dozens. Start small and expand as you start to differentiate among your various customer types. One to five personas should be plenty to begin with.

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Negative personas

Just as you want to identify buyer personas you hope to attract and do business with, you may also come across customer types you do not want to do business with.

Negative personas are buyers who waste your time and resources with no intention to buy, or a low possibility of buying. These personas might include, for example, Questioning Quinn, who peppers you with question after question about how things fit, your return policy, and whether you can hold something for her, when, in the end, she doesn’t buy anyway.

Or Returning Rachel, who will buy lots of outfits and return them right before the return period is up; you suspect she wears the pieces, too, making them harder for you to resell.

Negative personas reduce your company’s profitability and interfere with your ability to serve your ideal customers. So you’ll want to keep them in mind as you craft your marketing messaging.

Researching your personas

To prepare a list of your buyer personas, you’ll want to pull together as much information as you can find on them, to better understand them and why they buy from you. These sources of information might include:

  • Industry articles about today’s consumer
  • Your customers, whom you may ask to take an online survey, or that you interview personally in-depth
  • Your website, to determine how your customers find you and what websites they arrive from
  • Keyword research, to discover how your buyers articulate what they are looking for—the words do they use—which you might want to use in your marketing
  • Sales reps, who interact with your customers, or your distribution outlets
  • Non-competing colleagues in other parts of the country, who may be willing to share their company’s buyer personas

Building a buyer persona

To create your own buyer personas, you’ll want to try and paint a complete picture of who they are, taking into account such things as:

  • Demographics: age, gender, income level, education
  • Psychographics: attitudes, beliefs, personality
  • Why they bought your product: what primary purpose
  • Where they bought your product: in a retail store, online, at a discounter
  • How your product is used: what functions are most important to them
  • What solutions it provides: how does it enhance their life or solve challenges
  • How often they buy it
  • Objections: why would they consider not buying it
  • Communication preferences: is email the only way they communicate or do they prefer texts or calls or print?

Together, these descriptions and characteristics help you picture your ideal customers, so that you can talk directly to them about their wants and needs, and help them to see why your product is the perfect choice for them.

Buyer Persona FAQ

What is a buyer persona and why is it important?

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of a company’s ideal customer. It is based on research and data about existing and potential customers and paints a vivid picture of who the customer is, what they do, what their motivations are, and what their goals are. Buyer personas help companies focus their marketing efforts on the most likely buyers, and can inform everything from product development to website design. By understanding their target audience, companies can create more effective marketing campaigns, better target their content, and more effectively position their products and services.

What are the 6 buyer personas?

  • The Innovator: Driven by the need to be the first to adopt a new product or technology.
  • The Perfectionist: Highly motivated by quality, they’re willing to pay a premium for the best product or service.
  • The Value Shopper: Always looking for the best deal, they’ll compare prices and shop around to get the most bang for their buck.
  • The Impulsive Buyer: Prone to spontaneous decisions, they don’t spend much time researching and are often driven by emotion.
  • The Bargain Hunter: Highly motivated by discounts and promotions, they’ll go out of their way to find the best deal.
  • The Loyalist: Highly committed to a particular brand, they’ll remain loyal even if a competitor offers a better deal.

How do I create a buyer persona?

  • Identify Your Target Audience: Before you begin creating your buyer persona, you need to identify who your target audience is. Think about who you’re trying to reach and what their needs and desires are.
  • Research Your Target Audience: Once you have identified your target audience, you need to conduct research to gain a better understanding of them. Talk to current customers and potential customers, visit forums and blogs, and look at industry and competitor data.
  • Create a Profile: Using the data you have collected, create a profile that describes your ideal customer. This should include demographic information, such as age, gender, and occupation, as well as psychographic information, such as values, interests, and goals.
  • Identify Their Challenges and Pain Points: Identify the challenges and pain points that your ideal customer experiences. This will help you understand what motivates them and how you can best serve them.
  • Develop a Persona: Using the information you have gathered, develop a persona that represents your ideal customer. Give them a name, a photo, and a backstory. This will help you visualize them and create marketing messages that resonate with them.