Already very familiar with personas? Using this concept already and looking to take it to the next level? Then this is the blog for you.
The concept of buyer or customer personas has been around for over 20 years. A persona refers to a detailed description of a target group based on research conducted on buying behaviour. Buyer personas provide insight into the needs, challenges and behaviours of a target group. In turn, this can be used to develop tools such as webshops or campaigns that reflect and respond to this insight.
The concept is a highly regarded one, because it contributes greatly to the customer-focused approach and translates into direct results. Studies show that lead generation campaigns that target different personas have more than double the results (+124%) of generic campaigns.
A lot has changed in commerce. Over recent years, we have seen business transform into data-driven marketing and sales activities. You see data analysts popping up in commercial departments everywhere. It is also getting easier and easier to use data in marketing.
So it’s only logical that the concept of buyer personas has also evolved over the years. Nowadays, a lot more research and data is being used to create personas.
What is a quantitative buyer persona?
A quantitative buyer persona refers to a customer profile where the insight on needs, challenges and behaviour is derived from quantitative research and data. Alternatively, initial customer profiles can be created using qualitative research, and then validated with quantitative research and data.
The latter option – with quantitative validation – is the method used by GROUP7.
For us, using a workshop to create a persona is just the beginning.
A good persona is not something you only use for marketing. It helps everyone in the organisation to better identify with the customer and make more informed choices. It also benefits you in terms of product development and branding.
How do these projects work? And what is the purpose?
Thinking from the customer point of view can be tough because you’ve already formed an impression of them. The key thing here is taking a fresh look, from the outside-in. Think from the customer point of view with every move you make. Understand their problems and help them find solutions. This will help you exceed your customer’s expectations.
GROUP7 has developed a unique method of gathering insight about your intended target groups using a variety of sources. Step by step and following an established process, we work together to build personas grounded in a solid foundation that will then help you make your campaigns more successful.
We go through the steps in a team. This ensures higher quality and more support. Our favourite combination includes marketers, sales representatives and account managers as well as a decision-maker such as the commercial director. Have you also got a data analyst or ‘data scientist’ on your side? Then please include them in the team.
The steps we will follow are listed below:
Step 1. Gathering insight.
In this step, we use the existing information that is already available in your company. If necessary, this is supplemented by research results from our Professional Community surveys (only available for the Netherlands and Belgium).
Here, we look at earlier research reports, recent customer experiences (especially from sales) and data patterns (CRM, decreases). We also give you instructions on how to go on a customer safari. In this process, you visit your potential target group in pairs, watch in awe at how they work and then ask some ‘why’ questions about what you’ve seen. The answers may well surprise you!
You’ve now gathered all the information you need and can identify with the customer. Then we’re going to bring it all together. To help structure everything, we will give your team a homework assignment to help you prepare for the first working session. During the first joint working session, we will use our preliminary work to connect with the customer and draft the first (preliminary) buyer personas.
Step 2. Delving deeper and expanding insights
After the first working session, we’ll already have a good idea of who your personas are. We would now like to know how they perceive your company/brand and what their knowledge, attitude and behaviour is like in the category. We are especially interested in finding out what their goals and motivations are and what they see as opportunities. To this end, we use the in-depth interview method.
There are two ways of going about this:
- We can do the interviews.
A professional and experienced interviewer will conduct the interviews and we will prepare a report on the main findings. You will also be given the opportunity to attend the interviews using a digital tool or you can watch them afterwards.
- Your organisation can do the interviews.
Of course, we won’t just send you off completely unprepared. We will provide practical interview training and interviewing guidelines that you can then use to conduct a number of interviews yourself.
Step 3. Quantifying and prioritising insights
The results gained from the first two steps will already give provide insight into who your customer groups are. However, now it is important to know which of these previously revealed insights play a key role in their decision-making process. We do this by first conducting a quantitative study (survey), where we present the previously identified goals, drivers, etc. to the target group so they can be prioritised.
We also do a web analysis: we look at which pages were visited most often on your website, if possible according to each target group. We also analyse the use of social media and search engines. We analyse your CRM data: for each target group, we look at the level of interaction with your company, the most common discussion topics, the most frequently asked service questions, complaints, etc.
We will also analyse the data from your marketing automation system. In this process, we look out for patterns in your target audience: are they opening your emails, what topics are they clicking on, etc?
Step 4. Validation
In a joint working session, we will compare the preliminary buyer personas with the new insights gained from Steps 2 and 3. We may have to revise the format here and we will certainly have to delete, expand and refine the components. Once we are done with that part, we then brainstorm on how to help the personas. Based on their goals and problems, we will come up with as many solutions as possible to help your personas.
Why we offer persona projects
- Personas help you understand the person behind the customer as well as the problems they face. It’s all about really understanding your customer’s buying behaviour. This will make your commercial activities much more effective. The chances of running successful marketing campaigns are much higher if they are based on buyer personas. In its research studies Gartner reports a quadrupling of the ROI for your marketing efforts.
- A GROUP7 persona project helps you avoid stereotypes. You dig deeper and avoid making assumptions or superficial outcomes. We sometimes see profiles like ‘price buyers’, ‘quality seekers’ and ‘innovators’. This kind of approach is usually oversimplified.
- Our approach leaves room for genuine customer experiences. We like to bring those into focus during the workshop. Here, we do try to avoid basing your personas on gut feelings.
- By using our method, you ensure that it’s not only one colleague or a just handful defining the persona. For instance, because they have a lot of authority or are persistent in ‘pushing’ for what they believe is right. In a persona project, we make the customer profile objective.
- You will carry out a persona project with a team of colleagues. This is how you make sure your personas are actually put to good use. Otherwise, developing a persona and then not actively using it would be a true waste of time.
- As far as we are concerned, creating personas is a crucial step towards micro-segmentation or even 1:1 communication. You can use data to break down your target groups even further. We wrote an earlier article about that.
What happens when you sign up?
When you sign up for a GROUP7 persona project, we will contact you to schedule an introductory meeting and ask you a few key questions. Your answers will help us get properly prepared.
During the introductory meeting, we will discuss strategy, create a plan and go through a proposal. You can ask us anything you like to make sure you are fully informed about the project.
Once the final proposal is approved, we can get started! We begin with our research on customer profiles across various segments.
The project usually lasts 6 to 8 weeks, depending on how much time you can dedicate to it.
Who is the perfect candidate for this kind of project?
The GROUP7 persona project is actually intended for any company in B2B food that wants to become more customer-focused.
It can be very useful when you have to make choices for a new website, webshop or a content platform.
Or when you get started with lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns.
A persona project is also a great starting point when you need to make choices for a digital strategy.
We work together to make sure your communication stands out. Your commercial approach will be a perfect match for the needs of your customers. In turn, this will help your company bring in more customers and sell more to existing customers.
Who is not a suitable candidate for this project?
It’s important for you to take time out to work with us. If you don’t share anything with us, we won’t understand your ambitions and challenges. And although we know a lot about the food business: you know your category much better. So we need you to provide us with information.
Apart from that, a persona project is not for you, if…
- you lack the patience to first create a good foundation for your marketing approach
- you don’t want to set aside time in order to first gather insights, and only act afterwards
- you are looking for an agency that will handle everything on its own, leaving you with nothing to do yourself.
What kind of results can you expect from a persona project?
If you really know the needs, challenges and behaviour of your customer and respond to them, your commercial activities will become much more effective. Your chances of achieving successful in marketing and sales based on buyer personas are much higher than a one-size-fits-all approach. This could include:
- more effective websites and webshops
- better email campaigns
- more leads
- increased sales
When is it not successful?
At times, we see that marketers still struggle to align their campaigns with personas. The one-size-fits-all approach is easier and cheaper for your communications than segmented communications.
We also find that some colleagues don’t truly bring the personas to life. That’s an important part of it. We take your organisation through the process, but we can’t do it alone. It is important for you to be your own ambassador for the persona project.
How much budget do I need to set aside?
We can do a GROUP7 persona project starting from €15,000 excluding VAT.
Please bear in mind that a lot of work needs to be done: workshops, data analyses and customer surveys. We really get to work for you. And in the process, we use our very own proven and unique method.
We will go through all of this during our introductory meeting. In other words, you do not commit to anything until you agree with the approach and our proposal.
How can I sign up?
It’s very simple! Just click the button below to sign up for a GROUP7 persona project. We will then contact you and schedule an introductory meeting.