Guest Column

Why You Need Customer Personas

By - Adam Lofquist, Founder and CEO of The Lofquist Group

Target audience-GettyImages-1325758122

Editor’s note: This is the first of three articles on Customer Persona. This first one dives into why it is important to have a customer persona and the difference it will make for your business.

If you’re a B2B marketing professional, you know the importance of having a customer persona but there may be some in your organization that do not share your thoughts. As someone who has been there before, I know the frustration, it can feel like you are hitting your head against a cement wall.

When you run into a dam of resistance from your co-workers telling you everyone can be our customer, here is an analogy that can help. Imagine you are trying to catch all the fish in the world, every last one. Would you use the same lure to catch a Goldfish as you would a Great White Shark? No, absolutely not. Your goal is to lure in your perfect customers, the ones that will help you reel in a trophy year for revenue and profit.

Those who don’t see the value in the time and effort it takes to develop a customer persona feel like they are throwing money away by not casting their net to everyone. But you don’t just cast a net anywhere, you go where the fish are. With an effective customer persona, you can still catch other customers along the way, and you can gain more customer segments and revenue.

Follow the Data

Here are some cold hard facts from McKinsey & Company.

  • We will get more sales if we target everyone. Nope. Companies that use customer personas correctly outperformed the competition by 85% in sales growth and 25% in growth margin.
  • It will be too expensive to niche down, we will waste all of our money. Think again. Companies that leveraged customer persona increased operating profits by 6%.
  • When you leverage your customer persona along the Buyer’s Journey you can get five to eight times the return on investment. You can improve sales by 10% or even more.

It is not just McKinsey that understands the value of customer persona. Research by the Marketing Insider Group uncovered that 93% of companies that beat their sales goals leveraged the power of customer personas. 56% of companies have generated higher quality leads using personas. If you want to beat your sales goal, listen to this. Companies that did beat their revenue goal were four times more likely to have used a persona.

What do customers say?

It is not just the companies that want you to leverage a customer persona, it’s your customers too. 81% of prospects and customers want you to know about them according to the Marketing Insider Group. They want you to know what they need to know and know when to approach them and when to leave them alone. Don’t be that cheesy used car salesperson always stalking your customer. 87% of customers are positively influenced by relevant content and messaging.

The goal of a customer persona is not to scare away other “potential” customers but to lure in your best customers.

Here is a simpler way to think about your customer persona. As marketers we like our terminology and we create fancy words to describe things. Customer Persona is no different. You may have also heard buyer persona, ideal client profile, target market. While there are some differences between all of these, what you need to remember is that it just boils down to one simple task. How will you be more relevant to your customers, so they cut down on the path to purchase, increase revenue and gain brand loyalty?

Just remember, much like fishing, you will not get a catch on the first try. You will have to recast and redo your customer persona as you gain more information about who they are and how you can find them, which you can find in the next two articles.

About the Author

Adam Lofquist
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.