buyer personas (customer personas)

Contributor(s): Lauren Horwitz

A buyer persona is a composite representation of a customer that aggregates the attributes and demographics of a segment of target customers. Attributes are based on market research and data on the company's existing customer base.

As companies create their buyer personas, they should consider factors such as customer demographics, customer preferences and behavior patterns, motivations and goals. Behavior and preferences may be indicated through digital communications such as browsing behavior on a company's website or items chosen in a shopping cart, items that users click on in newsletters as indicated by marketing automation software, or preferences as expressed in customer satisfaction surveys and customer valuations.

Companies also need to develop buyer personas based on customers' activities in various communications channels, including company websites, live chat windows, social media platforms, mobile devices and email. Customer journey mapping may also help companies develop these personas.

Buyer personas provide insight to a company about how to market and sell to these various customer segments. By indicating customer preferences and needs, buyer personas can guide a company in where to focus resources to increase sales or which products to develop. Personas also help companies tailor and personalize their messages to these customer or prospect segments.

Buyer personas enable companies to engage in forward-looking activities as well, such as predictive analytics. Once a company builds composite persons, it can employ predictive algorithms to predict future behavior.

This was last updated in March 2016

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