target markets and buyer personasIn case you missed the article in tabloids across the world a few years ago, ‘Target Market’ actually changed it’s name to ‘Buyer Persona.’ It happened around the same time Snoop Dog changed his name to Snoop Lion so don’t beat yourself up if you missed the news.

Ok, obviously this didn’t make it to the tabloids but I do wish it had made it into headlines to help spread this news to the masses that target markets are going away and buyer personas are taking its place. I can’t tell you how often I start talking about buyer personas to people in different industries and I’m just met with a blank stare.

So here I am letting you know WTF happened to target markets and what the heck buyer personas are.

Target markets historically gave demographic information and very little psychographic information. You’d see target markets that look like this:

  • Gender: Female

  • Age: 35-50 years old

  • Annual Income: $50,000-90,0000

  • Location: Southeast United States

From that little information, marketers were expected to create great ads and content that really spoke to customers, which is like throwing darts blindfolded. Instead of continuing to guess what these customers care about, we starting gathering more information. And that is when I believe the buyer persona was born.

Little by little, we began adding more and more data to our research until it became night and day between what target markets were originally and what buyer personas are today.

So what do buyer personas look like then and why are they so great?

Buyer personas include the demographics you’d see in target market research but it also includes more information crucial to creating great content. This is great news because we can base our marketing content on actual facts and legitimate research rather than guessing.

So here’s what an example buyer persona could look like:

  • Name: Sally Inbound

  • Gender: Female

  • Age: 35-50 years old

  • Annual Income: $50,000-90,0000

  • Location: Southeast United States

  • Reports to: Director of Marketing

  • Time at Company: 1-2 years

  • Role in Buying Process: Influencer of Director of Marketing

  • Job Description/ Key Responsibilities: She is works on the online marketing all day for her company. She reports to the Director of marketing who is often the biggest influence in this marketer’s development.

  • Trigger: “I spend all my time using different tools and software to implement our entire online marketing program. After 1 year of doing the marketing like this, I’m frustrated and feel like I’m wasting time.”

  • Success: “I can access all my analytics in one place and feel like I’m saving time. I have very clear visibility into what is going on with my marketing efforts and the tools I use are very easy to learn.”

  • Concerns Objections to the product: Cost; Paying for the software takes away money from our marketing budget to spend on ads and events.

  • Content Consumption: Digital natives with disposable income, keeps up with latest trends and marketing philosophies.

HubSpot Academy also gives some examples of different buyer personas from various types of businesses.

What does the shift from target markets to buyer personas mean for you?

This doesn’t mean a whole lot for you if you’ve been finding out this more in-depth information for your target market/buyer personas all along. It would be kind of like when your friend Sue gets married and changes her name. Same person, different last name.

If you’ve only been using information found in typical target market research, though, its time to get researching. This information will help you create more remarkable content that your customers actually care about.

Not sure how to do buyer persona research? Read our blog article about how to do buyer persona research or call us for some help.

Photo Credit: Poster Boy NYC via Compfight cc