Buyer Personas, Customer Segments, and Why You Need Both

We’ve talked a number of times in this space about the value of buyer personas. Today we’re going to discuss a different concept: customer segmentation.

We’ll take a look at how customer segments differ from buyer personas, and why it’s important to involve both in your marketing strategy.

Customer Segments

Customer Segments

This is what it sounds like: Groups of different sets of customers or potential customers, separated by their needs and/or defining features. They’re broken down into groups based on things like age or location, or by things such as interests and lifestyle.

The idea here isn’t to get insights into one customer, but to understand groups of customers in the wider marketplace. They can help you identify the types of customers that are out there and what they might be interested in.

Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a fictitious character created to give you a glimpse at your ideal customer. You create them by interviewing your actual customers. A good inbound marketing strategy requires you to fashion at least two buyer personas, which means you should interview between six and 10 people.

Among the questions you want to ask in the interviews:

  • What does your company do or make?
  • What is your role at your job? What is your job title?
  • How do your supervisors measure your performance?
  • Who do you report to? Does anyone report to you?
  • What is a typical day like at work?
  • What skills did you need to develop to do your job?
  • What are you responsible for, and what does it mean to be successful in your role?
  • What are some of your biggest challenges at work?
  • What are some blogs or other publications you read to get information about your industry?
  • What professional associations do you belong to?
  • What social networks do you use?
  • Describe your career path. How did you get to where you are today?
  • Describe your personal background (marital status, family, etc).
  • Describe your educational background. What level of education did you complete, what subjects did you study, and where did you study them?
  • What’s your favorite way to interact with vendors (in person, via e-mail, over the phone)?
  • Do you use internet research to find out more about vendors or products? If you’ve said yes, how do you search for information?
  • Talk to us about a recent purchase you made. How did you decide to buy the product/service?

When you know your potential customers pain points and the places they get their information, you’ll have an easier time at creating content that speaks to them.

Buyer Personas

How To Use Segments And Personas

Segments and personas give businesses different types of information.

Personas give you a qualitative analysis of customer behavior. Customer segments give you a quantitative breakdown of the market. It tells you what people’s buying habits and attitudes are.

Your goal here is to find out what your customers want and need, how they differ from each other based on demographics, and how they decide to buy products or services.

For example, if you sell a product that appeals to parents, you’re dealing with a pretty broad range of people. Customer segmentation can help you divide that group into smaller, more manageable chunks: parents with one kid, parents with infants, parents with teenagers, middle class, upper class, etc.

Once you’ve broken down your customers and started to hone in on specific features, you can start building personas.

With personas, you’re blurring the line between fantasy and reality. They’re based on actual people from your target audience, but given new names and details. It’s sort of like when a movie based on real events creates a composite character modeled after a few real life people.

If you’re wondering how to tell what your customers need and want, contact IQnection. Our digital marketing team is skilled at identifying your ideal customers, and creating content that speaks to them.

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