Who Is Your Target? Buyer and User Personas

Article by | September 15, 2016 Positioning and Messaging

One thing that confuses many people in the technology industry is how to speak to their buyers, who often aren’t “technology people.”

That’s because the teams at tech companies have built products to solve problems for users, not necessarily to help buyers make a decision. The Pragmatic Marketing Framework reminds us that we build for users, but we market to buyers. This is where building your buyer persona becomes so invaluable to the marketing process.

Who’s Your Target?

If I were to ask you who the target market is for your product or service, you’d probably start thinking about an ideal client you already have and start listing the characteristics of that person and their company. For example:

  • C-Level professional
  • Works in the ____ industry
  • 100+ employees
  • $25M in annual sales
  • Multiple offices domestically
  • In charge of finding technical solutions, etc.

Good start. But that’s more of a “company profile” than persona. Personas shouldn’t be a profile of the ideal client you already have. They are a representation of what’s typical in your target market.

If you’re just focused on targeting more of the former, you might be losing out on a large swath of prospects that fall into the latter group. Let’s take a closer look at how to figure out who you’re targeting.

Getting to Know Your Buyer

There are two people of most interest to you: those who buy your product and those who use your product.

Even within those two categories, there are often different types of buyers and users. Why does this matter? Because of each of them need very different, distinct messages and sales approaches. For now, let’s look at your buyer specifically.

Depending on the size of companies in your target market, there may be a few types of buyers:

  1. Economic Buyer: There’s an economic buyer who owns the budget, and may ultimately be your final decision-makers.
  2. Technical Buyer: There could be a technical buyer whose main role is to find the right “fit” in their organization. They want to know: “Is this the best possible solution for our organization amongst the competition?”
  3. Functional Buyer: There’s also a functional buyer (very much akin to a user) who’s looking for a solution to help them do their job better, faster, and more effectively.

Each of these buyers is looking at your product from a different angle. Can you see how you’d need to provide very different information to each of these? So, in building your buyer persona, think about your target’s answers to some of these questions:

  • What are their key activities?
  • What keeps them up at night, worrying?
  • What role to they play in the decision-making process?
  • Where do they go/search to solve problems?
  • How do they get new ideas and product information?
  • Why haven’t they found you yet?

There are several ways you can answer these questions, and start building your buyer persona. Here are a few:

  1. Talk to your salespeople. They’re face to face with buyers every day.
  2. Research job descriptions. You can learn a lot about role expectations of your buyers by looking at their job descriptions.
  3. Read what they read. In print, and online.
  4. Trade shows and conferences. Don’t go for the exhibits, go for the content. Learn about current trends, issues, and problems in your industry.
  5. Interview them. Your existing clients (or even dead lead list) are a gold mine, and most humans like talking about themselves and their jobs! Read some of our tips from the last email.

As always, if you have questions about building a buyer persona and marketing to them, that’s what we do. Reach out.

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