Editor's Note: Today's blog post comes courtesy of Tony Zambito, the creator and today’s leading authority on buyer personas. In 2002, Tony established the first-ever buyer persona development methodology designed specifically for B2B Marketing and Sales. Over the past dozen years, Tony has conducted hundreds of buyer interviews and has helped some of today’s leading Fortune 100 companies acquire deep buyer insights. Providing him with a pulse on rapidly changing buying behaviors in the new digital age.
As marketing automation matures, focus is turning towards how to be smarter in reaping the benefits. Getting smarter leads to a better return on your efforts as well as investment. Effort and smarts are needed in spades when focusing on making marketing automation more effective. One worthwhile effort to help make your marketing automation smarter is the use of buyer personas.
What Are Buyer Personas?
While the term “buyer persona” has been out in the marketing world for some time, there is much confusion on how to exactly define and use buyer personas. Let us start with the original definition established more than a decade ago:
Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, where they buy, when buyers decide to buy, and why they make buying decisions.
The purpose of buyer personas is to give us a deeper understanding, as well as model the buying behaviors, of our buyers and customers. It takes a level of research to model what we call an archetype of your buyers. As you can see, the definition goes beyond factual-based segmentation to hone in on behavior. Why is this important – especially for marketing automation?
What marketing automation allows us to do is foster interaction with buyers and customers. Thus, buyer personas, in terms of why they are important, give us the insight into how to foster interaction. And, what is needed today is interaction smarts to get better results. Let us look at how buyer personas can help provide interaction smarts: