In my prior blog, 3 Philosophies of a Great Company, I wrote about the importance of knowing your customer. We’ve all heard this expression before but many companies still struggle with the essence and simplicity of its meaning. Knowing your customer involves having a thirst for knowledge, the ability to confront reality, and dedicated resources including time and dollars. Those that embrace this strategic component are those that excel and succeed.
Using a buyer persona process is a great way to get to know your customer. Companies like Sirius Decisions and HubSpot have invested countless resources in the development of creating a buyer persona process that drives new customer growth while improving the retention rate of existing customers. When used effectively, buyer personas can become a powerful P&L management tool. How? Buyer Personas help to:
- Improve target marketing by aligning your product or service to the right audience. If your product is geared toward SMB (Small-Medium-Business) or enterprise-size companies, your buyer personas will provide critical insights into the buyer behaviors of these specific segments. Having a deep confidence in knowing your customer helps to avoid wasting precious time, and money, spent marketing to the wrong prospect group.
- Provide granular detail around how your prospective buyer thinks and gathers information. How do they make their buying decision? This information helps improve your ROI on marketing investments by knowing what to say, where to say it, how often to communicate your message, etc. Keep in mind that each business could have more than one buyer persona. A CEO, CFO, Office Manager, General Manager, all make decisions differently. Why? Because each have their own perspective from which they process information. This becomes extremely important when determining where each of these individuals go to find information. Sirius Decisions concept of “watering holes” illustrates the importance of knowing where to place your message – where your customers and prospects spend their time.
- Convert your value proposition into a high-impact message. The strength of your value proposition is dependent upon how well your message aligns to the needs of your customer or prospective buyer. You cannot succeed if your value proposition is disconnected from the buyers needs. Therefore, having a completed buyer persona allows you to take your value proposition and craft it into a specific message that addresses the needs or pain points of that buyer. Being able to demonstrate to the buyer your understanding of their needs, builds their confidence and, ultimately leads to their conviction to select you as their provider of service.
Think about the companies that really seem to know what the customer wants. Companies like Apple, Toyota, Cadillac, Samsung, Proctor & Gamble, and Victoria’s Secret are all companies that have taken a buyer persona approach to growing their market share. They invest heavily in knowing their customer. They understand that what worked yesterday may not work today given internal or external influences to their market. The key is change. Seek it, drive it, embrace it, demand it. Change is what drives innovation and innovation, if done correctly, drives growth.