Buyer Personas

Posted by on Feb 12, 2012 in Blog, Copywriting, Marketing | 3 comments

Buyer Personas

I needed an idea for a radio spot for my graphic design services and was struggling with how to translate such a visual medium into sound. I was also aware that Kauai Design is primarily a B2B (business to business) business and that the vast majority of the radio audience are not business owners or executives. So how could I reach out to that small percentage of listeners who need my services?

It came together while reading The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott. Buyer personas.

Scott insists that ‘push’ marketing (hawking your product’s features and benefits to the world) is old school and no longer effective in a mature (and skeptical) market that has heard it all. He says that ‘pulling’ your potential customer is where it’s at in the ‘new rules’ of marketing. He suggests clarifying who your customers are and what they want, then creating a buyer persona for each of your market segments, including a name, gender, age, details about their lifestyle, and the specific concerns that you can help them resolve. Then speak to the needs of each subset of your customer base directly in your promotional materials.

Recent political campaigns have successfully segmented voters into ‘voter personas’ and reached out to them by addressing their specific issues. You can attract a certain type of customer, donor, subscriber, member, applicant, or other target group by appealing to their unique set of needs and values.

My client, Rob’s Good Times Grill, calls out different segments of their customer base on their rack card. They offer a quiz for readers to self-select their reasons to visit Rob’s. Are you looking for atmosphere? Fun? A sports venue? Karaoke? Food? Tropical drinks and happy hour specials? “Did you answer YES to any of these questions? Then THIS is where you should be!”

My clients generally fall into these categories:

  • the start-up entrepreneur that needs branding or the established business that needs its look updated and refreshed (often due to a name change, new location, new ownership, or just a tired old logo)
  • the mid-sized organization that can’t do it all in-house and needs a creative partner to help with annual reports, membership campaigns, fundraisers, media kits, programs, newsletters, portfolios, menus, and the like
  • the small business owner with a product, service or event to promote who needs an ad, a brochure, rack card, poster, etc.

So back to the radio ad. With this ‘buyer persona’ concept marinating in my mind, my board of directors (ok, my husband) came up with the phone tree concept (auditory, right?) for calling out these three buyer personas and letting them know that Kauai Design can help…

(Sound of a phone ringing on the other end of the line. Phone is answered by an automated phone tree.)

FEMALE VOICE: Thank you for calling our solution center. If you’re a start-up business in need of a logo…or if your company’s branding needs a kick-start, Press 1.

(Sound of “1” button being pressed)

MALE VOICE:  You need Kauai Design!

FEMALE VOICE: If you need help designing print promotions for a product, service, or event, Press 2.

(Sound of “2” button being pressed)

MALE VOICE:  You need Kauai Design! …     Hear the full 60 second spot here.

Food for Thought:  How can you apply (or how ARE you applying) this principle to your marketing? Who are your buyer personas? What specific needs can you help them address? And how can you customize your marketing message(s) to speak directly to them, to their needs and to their values? 

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3 responses to “Buyer Personas”

  1. S. Morris Wise says:

    Of course, defining and knowing your customers in marketing is everything. I love the idea of asking questions to the potential clients as it allows them to self-select to come to you! I agree with the idea that most people have “heard it all” and tune out a lot of marketing ads, so keeping it fresh is important and this seems to do it. One further thought in the questions department; sometimes you need to make a potential customer aware of something they don’t know they need. Again, asking the right questions can lead someone to a “conclusion that they need your product/service” even when they weren’t looking for it.

  2. Michelle says:

    Awesome post Linda as well as radio spot, congratulations!

    • linda says:

      YOU are a natural, Morris!

      Thanks Michelle, my mentor and coach. You have so helped Kauai Design step up its online presence!

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