Are you defining the right buyer persona?

All articles | Strategy
Published Apr 17, 2019 | Written by Katie Hughes

Defining your buyer personas is a critical part of an inbound marketing strategy. 

By understanding your personas' fears, aspirations, and interests, you can create content that speaks directly to them. 

And if you know what media channels or social network sites they use, you can ensure your content reaches them. 

The result? More leads.

But how do you define your personas?

How do you even identify who they are in the first place?

“We’ll just target the CEO, right?”


As HubSpot echo in this recent article, many organisations make the mistake of focusing their efforts on the CEO.

But while the CEO may ultimately be the decision maker on everything to do with the business, actually, it’s likely that they aren’t the ones reading your blogs, downloading your eBooks, or listening to your podcasts. 

Why? Because ultimately, they aren’t the ones who will be using your product or service.

That’s who you should be creating personas for - the people who will be using your product or service. These are the people you want to build a connection with.

To paint a picture of our personas, we need to draw on the insights and experience of our sales and marketing teams. We need to talk to our existing customers - and those not buying from us - to get a deeper insight into their needs and wants, goals and fears.

Download "The Insider Guide to Developing and Using Buyer Personas"

But it goes deeper than that too.

I’m currently reading Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice, a book by Clayton M. Christensen, which introduces the Theory of Jobs To Be Done:

“Customers don’t simply buy products or services; they ‘hire’ them to do a job…. When a customer decides to buy this product versus that product, she has in her mind a kind of resume of the competing products which makes it clear which does her job best.”

The whole point of personas is to understand what your target audience truly need. What goals are your ideal customers ‘hiring’ your product or service for? 

Marketing Mary's age and hobbies don't drive her decision-making behaviour. The Job she is trying to get Done does.

Your personas should illustrate the people who will ultimately use your product or service. 

And if you truly understand the jobs they would ‘hire’ a solution like yours for, you’ll be better equipped to craft more helpful, relevant, and engaging content.

A common mistake or misconception comes in the form of this simple sentence: "My primary buyer persona is the CEO." This is an understandable mistake as many people equate a primary buyer persona with the decision maker. When we focus on convincing the decision maker in a sale, we end up writing blog posts aligned with a decision maker's interest, creating assets for the decision maker to download, etc.

To be frank, the decision maker is likely not looking at any of this.

This critical mistake can misinform your entire strategy, resulting in fewer deals closed, missed revenue goals, and inapplicable content, all because you are creating an experience for the wrong persona.

Published by Katie Hughes April 17, 2019
Katie Hughes