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How to Develop Your Ideal Buyer Personas: A Case Study

You’ve been told time and time again to keep your buyer personas in mind when creating content, forming sales pitches, and coming up with your marketing messages. Not only that, but you’ve probably had it hammered into your head that the customer should be the center of your universe.

That’s not to say that any of that advice isn’t worth following — it absolutely is. In fact, developing more concrete buyer personas was a New Year’s resolution of Pardot’s own marketing team, and one that we’ve already seen through to fruition! Along the way, we realized that the ups and downs of our process provided a great learning opportunity for us, and one that we would love to share with our readers (especially if you are thinking of tackling buyer personas of your own anytime soon!).

First, Why Create Buyer Personas?

Great question! Personas can come in handy in a number of ways. By having a concrete understanding of your ideal buyer, you can cater your content to their needs and preferences and distribute it among the appropriate channels, meaning that your marketing messages are always relevant. Personas are also helpful when it comes to your lead nurturing and email marketing strategies, since they can help dictate which messages go to which buyers, and when. Take a look at the sections below to see how we approached our buyer persona process, and then meet Sam and Megan at the end of the article!

The Goal

Now, when we say we created buyer personas, we mean we actually created them. We’re talking life-sized versions of what we envision as our ideal buyers, complete with nametags, company profiles, post-it notes covered in buyer pain points, geography information, and more. The goal was to place these buyer personas where our marketing and sales teams would see them every day, providing us with a constant reminder of who we’re selling to, and how we can help them overcome the obstacles they face on a daily basis.

The Process

The idea of creating life-sized buyer personas was a little daunting at first, but went much more smoothly once we started breaking our personas down into more manageable pieces. We started by looking at our data and asking ourselves the following questions, beginning with fairly basic information, and then diving deeper (you can learn more about building a complete customer profile using your data in this article):

  • What is our ideal buyer’s position? Does he or she work in marketing, sales, or do both apply?
  • What industry(ies) do they work in?
  • Where are they located?
  • Are they B2B or B2C?
  • What does their budget look like?
  • How big is their company?
  • How large are their marketing and sales teams?
  • What other marketing and sales tools are they already using?
  • What channels do your buyers use for research?
  • What are their business goals? What are they hoping to accomplish with their current tools?
  • What are some of their pain points or limitations?
  • What would they put on their “marketing wishlist” for the next year?

The Results

Once we had answers to all of these questions, we were able to create a complete profile of our ideal buyers, Megan and Sam (marketing and sales, respectively), and place them next to our marketing department. Now, Megan and Sam serve as constant reminders of our ideal buyer, helping to inform our marketing decisions, strategy, and communications. View the pictures below to see our completed project!

buyer personas

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Good luck, and let us know about your own experiences developing buyer personas!