You’ve heard us say this time and time again… know your audience. More importantly, know that you are not your target audience.

But, is that it? Just know your target client and you have it made? Maybe, if you’re lucky.

Knowing your audience can be a very superficial practice for some. You have a general idea of who you’re targeting based on either experience or sometimes just intuition. For most companies, they leave it here and accept the results.

But, there is so much more information to be had – so much usable insight you’re leaving on the table.

What if you knew exactly what a client needed at every stage of the buying cycle? And what if you could position yourself to be the one who gives them what they need when they need it? Think you would see a net gain?

We’ve talked about buyer personas before. Buyer personas are the client archetypes you use as guidelines for your marketing efforts. They help you stay focused on the needs of your potential clients instead of marketing to an unknown… or even worse, yourself.

But, if your buyer personas are based on assumptions or intuition, you’re missing a lot. To identify a persona, you need to move beyond speculation and into reality.

5 Rings of Buying Insight™

Adele Revella, founder of the Buyer Persona Institute and author of Buyer Personas, How to Gain Insight into your Customer’s Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business, talks about the 5 Rings of Buying Insight™:

  1. Priority Initiatives – why your solution is sought, or not
  2. Success Factors – a definition of success once your solution is in place
  3. Perceived Barriers – what stands in the way of your solution being chosen
  4. The Buyer’s Journey – how a client gets to their purchase decision
  5. Decision Criteria – who is making the decision and what resources get them there

In the infographic below and in her book, Adele talks about using these rings as a basis for developing your buyer personas. By conducting interviews with actual buyers, you’re able to gather real information about real issues that matter to your target audience.

Instead of basing your marketing efforts on raw data or a hunch, you’re building a strategy that’s, in a way, co-developed by the audience it’s targeting.

Marketing in a vacuum is a waste of time and resources. You need to identify your audience and understand their needs. This method of identifying your buyer personas will take some time.

But, with the insights gained, you will be able to finetune your website, content marketing, email, and other marketing strategies such that they are effective and convert a potential client into a client and a fan!

And, going through this process will save you time and money. If done properly, it will improve your bottom line and show real ROI for your marketing initiatives. And ROI means you’ll get continued support from the C-Level, the folks in charge.

How to Create Insightful & Actionable Buyer Personas (Infographic)

Jon-Mikel Bailey – Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.