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digetry Blog - Customer Focused Marketing

2016: The Year of Customer Focused Marketing

Posted by Greg Schraff

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Use Buyer Personas to put the Customer in the center of your Business Strategy

“If 2015 was the year of becoming mobile-friendly, then 2016 is shaping up to be the year of user experience.”The year of customer focused marketing

So proclaims Danny Goodwin of Linkdex, who I happen to agree with.

His premise is that when Google makes changes to its algorithms the intent is to improve the consumer experience. Case in point: in early 2015 Google introduced a new “mobile friendly” algorithm to boost websites that were optimized for the mobile phone experience; and in October of the same year Google introduced an artificial intelligence algorithm called RankBrain, which is designed to improve search results for its users.

Besides Google, there are many more examples of the consumer becoming the focus of businesses’ attention. Whether it’s 2016 or some time beyond, it’s abundantly clear that all signs are pointing toward the empowered consumer. (Tweet This!)

So, if you are going to succeed as a business, you better start putting your customer in the center of your business strategy. This all starts by understanding exactly who your customers are and their needs. One way to do this is with buyer personas. If you haven’t already done so, or if you want a refresher to ensure you’re on target, here’s a quick guide on creating buyer personas.


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How to Create a Buyer Persona

Before creating a buyer persona it helps to know what a buyer persona is and how it affects your business. As a way of review, a persona, sometimes referred to as an avatar, is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data and some select educated speculation about customer demographics, behavior patters, motivations, and goals. It’s who you are targeting with your marketing and serves as the foundation of a customer focused small business digital marketing strategy. (If you need further education, go here.)

When creating a buyer persona, there are some best practices to follow:

  1. Focus on motives behind behaviors: pay attention to not just what someone is doing but why they’re doing it

  2. Keep personas fictional, but still realistic: no one has a one-size fits all customer; don’t’ define your persona by describing just one real person

  3. Choose one primary persona: all other personas are secondary (this primary persona will be the one you focus most of your marketing efforts on and possibly your web design)

  4. Tell your persona’s story: don’t just list facts about them; weave those facts into a detailed representation of who this persona is as a person. For example, the Five Chapter Story:

    1. Job and demographic info

    2. What does a day in their life look like?

    3. What are their challenges and pain points?

    4. Where do they go for info?

    5. Common objections to products and services


Once you have these best practice guidelines down, it’s time to build your buyer persona. Here is a five-step process:

  1. Identify questions to ask to develop your persona (you can start with the Five Chapter Story above)

  2. Determine how you’ll research your personas and how you’re going to get your persona-building questions answered. Some options to consider include: interview current customers (the best and most important method), survey customers, talk to your co-workers (particularly your sales team), search for your keywords on various social networks, check out the comments section on key industry blogs (what are people talking about?), search for people commenting on industry blogs on LinkedIn (what info can you glean from their profiles?), ask question on social media.

  3. Compile research and the answers to your persona-building questions. Then, look for themes or trends in the responses. These will become the foundation for your persona definition.

  4. Print out a Buyer Persona Developing Worksheet for each persona you might have. This worksheet acts as a framework to creating your persona.

  5. Use the best practices from above to transform your worksheet into a compete persona. Tell the Five Chapter Story.


Here are some final thoughts to keep in mind when creating your buyer persona: 

  • Details Matter – take a thorough look at everything about who your ideal customers, clients, etc. actually are when researching AND building personas.

  • You don’t have to have an answer for every question before beginning to build your personas; start with what you have and go from there. Personas don’t have to ever be 'done:' continue to tweak and iterate on them as much as necessary.


Remember, empowered consumers drive marketing, so everything you do from a marketing perspective should tie back to your personas - they are the foundation of a solid customer focused marketing strategy. Good luck, and happy Persona building!


To receive a free guide for how to incorporate personas into your lead management process, click below:

B2B Leads - The Lead Gen Blueprint


Topics: Digital Strategy & Marketing

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