By Adam Lofquist, Founder and CEO, The Lofquist Group
Editor’s note: This is the second of three articles on Customer Persona. This explores the basic characteristics needed for a customer persona that effectively informs your B2B marketing strategy.
The biggest problem with most customer personas is that they are too vague, organizations are afraid to niche down because they think they are throwing away customers and money. It makes sense, they want to make as much money as they can so why not target everyone.
If you are fighting that battle, read my previous article to learn how you can overcome it.
Here is a great example of why so many customer personas do not work.
Using traditional, surface-level information to build a customer persona, King Charles and Ozzy Osborne would be surprisingly alike. They are both male, born in 1948, live in the UK, married twice, live in castles, and are wealthy and famous. They would be part of the same target audience, receive the same marketing messages, and be followed up with by your sales team using the same scripted playbook.
Much of the demographic information that is used in a customer persona misses the mark without context. You need to know more about your prospects in order understand them, help them, and ultimately have them as customers. Here are the key characteristics of an effective customer persona.
In the B2B world there are two different demographics you need to have. The first is for the organization and the second is for the role. For the organization, examples of what you will want to focus on are the industry, revenue, and how many employees they have. For the role, demographics you will want to focus on title, seniority, and industry.
The reason you need to have demographics is it allows you to identify where you can find information about your persona. You can know where to market to them and learn about their journey. It allows you to create a stronger value proposition.
Simply think of psychographics as the personality of your customer persona. Like demographics, in a B2B setting there will be two sides, the organization and the role. The role side is a bit more intuitive to figure out, one thing I would mention is do not be afraid to get personal, because you need to understand the entire person, not just their job.
You may be thinking that organizations do not have personalities, but they do. It is built on their values and their leadership philosophy among many other things. Think of the difference between Patagonia and The North Face. They are both in the same industry, but their values and belief systems are different.
This is critical so you know what you should be focusing on when you market to them. What are their interests and causes they care about? Are they more concerned with revenue or profit? What is the strategy they are using? It will help you pinpoint issues and opportunities that matter to them.
This is simply the location that your target market lives in. It does not have to be a specific city or even country. It can be rural vs urban or homeowner vs apartment renter. This may not be a big factor depending on your business.
This is important for the obvious reason that if you do not want to waste money marketing to a persona that cannot use your product or service because of their location.
The final aspect of an effective customer persona is the driver section. This includes the areas of the problems they are trying to solve and the opportunities they want to leverage. It includes where they get their information and how they make decisions. Dig even further to understand their needs, wants, desires, goals, and obstacles. You need to consider how they are currently solving the problem or addressing the opportunity, even if that is no solution at all. This will allow you to create more compelling messaging that speaks their “language.” It will allow you to be more relevant to your customer persona because you have an avenue to build empathy with them.
Messaging that uses the “language” used by your target audience, gives you credibility and helps build trust with prospective buyers. I am not necessarily talking about languages in terms of English, French, and Spanish but in terms of the vocabulary they use to speak about the things that concern them.
One final thing is that, as silly as it sounds, it helps to have a name and image to associate with each customer’s personality. It helps take it from an idea to giving the persona life.
About the Author
Adam Lofquist is the founder and CEO of The Lofquist Group, a company which helps startups scale their business by identifying the value proposition that will win over customers. In this role he has helped organizations grow their revenue by more than 75%, increase their customer base by nearly 81%, and beat annual goals by 53%.
Prior to starting The Lofquist Group, Adam worked at a number of startups and small to medium sized businesses where he helped them identify growth opportunities and then developed and executed plans that reached those opportunities. He also has worked with a number of non-profit organizations helping them grow their programs and have a greater impact on their clients and community.
Adam is driven by his ability to help people and organizations grow. He earned his business degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he majored in Marketing and Finance. In his free time, he likes to run, bike, and travel.
The Lofquist Group helps startups with revenue, validate the value proposition that will help their business scale. We help you leverage the actions of your target market not just what they say to make more informed decisions on how to market your startup.