Building Bad Buyer Personas is so Easy, Nearly Everyone Does It!
Buyer personas can be an invaluable content marketing tool, helping businesses identify and connect with their target audiences. But if you’re not vigilant in creating actionable buyer personas using real-life data and market research, you can end up with an unreliable marketing tool that turns away rather than converts prospects.
Building bad buyer personas is remarkably easy and, unfortunately, more common than ever for marketing firms. Why? Because, very often, the experts creating buyer personas:
- Ask the wrong questions about businesses and their customers
- Rely on conjecture rather than data and facts
- Make invalid assumptions about large cohorts of people
- Ignore unhappy customers
- Assume B2B and B2C buyer personas are the same
- Never explain how buyer personas should be used
If you’d like to create terrible buyer personas that don’t work, this guide is for you! Get started wasting marketing dollars and creating the lamest buyer personas ever by:
- Ignoring what sets your business apart.
If you’re going to create buyer personas that work, you’ll need to identify exactly what makes your business special, then figure out how to convey these unique differentiators to all segments of your target audience. Depending on your company history, mission/vision statement, product, service, or geographical area, your target audience may care most about your stellar customer service, commitment to design innovation, or your never-fail products that prove ROI beyond the shadow of a doubt. But, if you fail to examine what makes your business special and sets you apart from the competition, you won’t have to convey this information to potential customers. Makes life so much easier! In the same way, ignoring what makes your customers distinct from each other will enable you to create super crappy buyer personas. Just count on everyone, from the CEO to purchasing, to be carbon copies who want and need the exact same information when making buying decisions.They’re all essentially the same person, right? Come on.
- Rely on fairytale composites of customers rather than facts:
Creating rock-solid buyer personas that effectively inform your content marketing strategy requires a deep, data-based understanding of your customers. Demographics, online behavior, market comparisons, and customer interviews are all fact-based, data-driven information that can be used to create buyer personas that work.
But if you’re aiming to create the worst buyer personas possible, start (and end) with assumptions. Tons of them. And never, ever speak to your customers directly. Assume you know what’s most important to them without ever actually engaging them. Be sure to avoid asking what type of content or information helps them make their buying decisions. Don’t provide a variety of content types for different learning styles: neglect video, downloadable content, targeted email campaigns, eCourses, and well-written web content. Bottom line? Assume all your customers are the same, learn the same way, and have the same concerns.
- Presume that all your customers are happy and disregard evidence to the contrary.
The best buyer personas include data from happy and unhappy customers alike. Why? Because the customers you lost to your competition can provide invaluable insights, helping you align content marketing efforts with customer service goals and even your company vision and mission statements. If you aim to retain, and even win back, unhappy customers, interview those you’ve lost or those who’ve spent time on your website without making a buying decision. Then figure out what you might be able to do better with your messaging. What information would have helped them make a decision? Would they prefer more customer testimonials or a try-before-you-buy guarantee?
Of course, you want to create ineffective buyer personas. So, ignore your unhappy customers. Who needs them anyway? It’s not like you want to use buyer personas to figure out customer objections before they occur, answering them with well-written, targeted content. Pffft. Just assume you’re better off without those complaining windbags.
- Make buyer personas one-size-fits-all by assuming B2C and B2B personas and buyer journeys are exactly the same.
The types of information and content forms companies need to provide in order to attract and retain B2B ad B2C clients are wildly different and depend a great deal on your relationship to your customers, what business or service you provide, and what industry you work in. B2B and B2C buyer personas and the journeys those individuals take when making buying decisions aren’t the same. But you can pretend they are! Then you’re well on your way to creating gloriously flawed buyer personas that cost lots of money and don’t work worth a damn. Remember: the greater number of decision makers involved in B2B buying decisions should be ignored at all costs, as should the demographics of buyers in B2C customer journeys. Assume the engineering department needs the same information someone needs to buy a pair of running shoes. That won’t hurt a thing.
- Once you have your buyer personas in hand (hopefully you’ve paid a real fortune for them, too), don’t ask an expert in data-driven, research-based buyer personas to explain exactly how your company should employ your new marketing tool to create targeted content that converts.
Roadmaps and strategy are for sissies. In fact, it’s best to stick your buyer personas in a desk drawer so your entire team can forget they ever existed. Definitely don’t try to use your buyer personas to integrate messaging between your sales and marketing departments, or work on creating an evolving sales and marketing strategy that moves in time with the ever-changing marketplace. Just bury those suckers and pretend you know everything.
If you, like the Synectics Media team, believe in the creation of effective, actionable buyer personas, reach out. We love answering questions and creating strategy-driven, effective content marketing strategies using buyer personas. But let’s be honest: you’d be far better served by buyer personas pumped to the brim with poppycock. So, have at it with your terrible buyer personas. Don’t give your customers a second thought. They’ll won’t give you one, either.