Course: How to Build Better Buyer Personas

How to Build Better Buyer Personas

  • Life Time Access
  • Certificate on Completion
  • Access on Android and iOS App
  • Self-Paced
About this Course

This course is about building "buyer personas" for business-to-business (B2B) markets.

  • How good are you are preparing a persona as part of your go-to-market plan?
  • And, how creative can you be if you don't have a market research budget?

I have 33 years of hi-tech marketing experience, and I usually found myself in the hot seat of needing to create or update my target segmentation model and personas without having access to any market research. Oh, and I needed to draft this by Tuesday!

I discovered that there are tools available to me that I had overlooked -- the persona template being one of them. In this course, I reveal all of my persona secrets and best practices!

Whether you work for an established enterprise company or the newest startup, this persona methodology will work for you!

This course contains:

  • Approximately 2 hours of video lectures
  • Detailed description of my 10-step persona building process
  • Download my persona template and learn about the 3 most critical components
  • Examples of real personas created by real marketers in B2B companies
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • And more!

This course is designed for you:

  • Product Marketing Managers
  • Product Managers
  • Product Engineering Managers
  • Product Owners
  • Marketing Communications Managers
  • Marcom Managers
Basic knowledge

Requirements for this course include:

  • A basic understanding of your business and the value you provide your customers
  • Familiarity with basic target segmentation models
  • A basic understanding of go-to-market strategies
  • At least some hands-on experience in basic marketing programs, such as writing press releases, web copy, advertising, presentations used by sales teams, etc
What you will learn
  • Discover how and why the B2B "buyer persona" is a critical ingredient to your product positioning, messaging, and go-to-market plans
  • Learn how to build, critique, and apply the B2B "buyer persona" to your enterprise or start-up business
  • Expand your marketing experience as you build and hone your persona skills online and on your schedule
  • Evaluate your success by mastering post-lesson tests and pre- and post-assessment quizzes
  • Discover how to collaborate with your colleagues as your work the persona exercise
  • Earn the B2B persona certificate, showing your mastery of this important tool
Number of Lectures: 19
Total Duration: 01:41:19
Introduction to B2B buyer personas
  • Persona Introduction  

    How well do you really know your target customers?

    This may be the most important question for your business and marketing campaigns. Knowing them requires much more than just stating their job title!

    It is no longer enough to build a product and hope an audience finds you. "Hope" is not an effective marketing strategy. Today's successful companies got that way because they invested time and resources to truly understand their ideal customers and their needs, wants, and expectations.

    This introduction sets the context for what's at stake. Whether you are a product marketer, advertising manager, web designer, product manager, or anyone else wants to know their customers better, this course will greatly help you in defining your product plans and go-to-market strategies. Why? Because the persona is your rudder. It's your guide. Without one, you'll be lost.

  • What does not having a persona look like?  

    Not having a persona can lead to alignment issues and unnecessary arguments between marketing and sales teams. Many conflicts are easily avoidable if we take the time to properly conduct the persona exercise. Here are a few problem signs to look for. If any of these sound familiar, your marketing and sales teams may be aiming at different targets. Alignment is needed, and the persona exercise will help resolve these issues.

  • What is a persona?  

    Often times, when I ask marketers to tell me about their target audiences, I get some pretty vague and unhelpful answers. A vague label associated with a market segment (i.e. CIOs of the Global 5000) is not the same thing as a persona. They are related, but they are clearly different and are used for very different purposes in planning marketing campaigns. This lecture includes some definitions that will keep you on the straight and narrow path to successful marketing.

  • Quiz 1: Persona Pre-Assessment  

    The following set of questions will help assess your current familiarity with personas in general.

  • Exercise 1  

    Before I share details of the 10-step persona-building process, we need to get a sense of how you think about your target audience(s) today. The results of Exercise 1 will provide you with a foundation from which you can build as you continue the course.

Getting started
  • 10-Step Process Overview  

    Building a buyer persona is a cornerstone to any marketing strategy. Not only that, a company that is unable to empathize with its target customers can never hope to be customer-driven. And, if you don't know your customers and their goals, objectives, or pain points, your marketing programs will never produce the ROI you want.

    Your success starts in prioritizing and understanding your market segments and the persona(s) who live in those segments. But completing a buyer persona template is not just a rote exercise. Every component must be carefully considered. These 10 steps will guide you to success in both creating a high quality buyer persona, and more importantly, aligning your sales and marketing teams for success.

    Be sure to download the PDF of the complete course presentation. 

  • Step 1: Clarify your marketing objectives  

    Before you dive into the mechanics of creating a persona, you need to know your objective. Do you want to capture new customers? Do you want to sell more products to existing customers? Do you want to steal business from a competitor? Whatever your objective is will have a profound impact on what your target persona looks like. This lecture explains why and the implications your choice of objective will have on your target persona.

  • Quiz: Your marketing objectives & your persona  
  • Step 2: Gather your resources  

    If you have a mountain of up-to-date market research at your finger tips, then building a persona can be an easy exercise. However, life is not always easy.

    • How do you build a persona if you don't have any market research budget?
    • What if your marketing intelligence and information is incomplete?

    These questions define the reality of most marketers. The good news is that you likely have some resources and tools that you may have overlooked. Be creative. Learn how to think like a "guerrilla marketer" -- someone who has a clear task but no (or limited) budget. Here are 6 ideas -- all of which I have personally used to supplement my rather meager (re: non existent) market research budget.

  • Quiz: Conducting some quick market research  
  • Step 3: Form a team  

    If you create a persona by yourself, alone, you will not succeed. It's a team sport. Here's how you can set up your team and manage expectations for success.

  • Quiz: Forming your team  
Working the persona template
  • Download the persona template  

    Download this persona template. You'll reference this throughout the course.

  • Step 4: Demographics - Who are they?  

    Part 1 of the persona template is focused on demographics.

    Completing the persona template should not be a rote exercise. Every element included in your persona must be relevant and have meaning. And there are indeed precise implications for every piece of data you will include. That means you will want to be very selective in deciding what information to include vs. what is not relevant. Before you start customizing your own persona, consider the basics shared in this lesson.

    Be sure to download the "persona template" file (Microsoft PowerPoint). You can refer to this template in the lectures on Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7. (You can find the download button in the Udemy tools window to the right of the video screen.)

  • Quiz: Understanding demographics  
  • Step 5: Where do they work?  

    Part 2 of the persona template is critical for any B2B marketing programs: understanding the company profile of where the persona works. This element is the one most often missed or excluded from other persona exercises and templates you may have used in the past!

    In addition to knowing the basic demographics of our target persona, we also need to know some information about the company they work for. Let's say you want to target all Chief Information Officers. Bill and Bob are two Chief Information Officers at two different technology companies that you want to target. They both follow the same industry trends and offer competing solutions to solve related customer problems. So far they sound the same. However, Bill works for a Fortune 500 company with 100,000 employees; Bill works for a start-up with 25 employees. Does that matter? Maybe. Elements of the persona's workplace, company culture, and business goals may be very different and very relevant. This persona dimension often provides important clues in who you should target and why Bill and Bob sometimes behave differently even though their demographics may be similar.

  • Quiz: Exploring the company your persona works for  
  • Step 6: Psychographics - Why do they behave like they do?  

    Part 3 of our persona template capturespsychographics. This important dimension helps us understand how they think, how they make purchase decisions, and why they behave like they do. The more we understand the psychology of the buyer, the more in tune we can be with them. This will lead to our creating better, more relevant messages that matter to the target customer.

  • Quiz: Understanding psychographics  
  • Step 7: Examples  

    Step 7 unveils several real persona examples created by real marketers. Each persona tells a story, and each company learned some important lessons about their customers. Marketers also learned how to use the exercise to align their sales and marketing teams and achieve great success in their marketing campaigns. 

    Be sure to download the PDF of persona examples. These are the same slides used in this lecture. (You can find the download button in the Udemy tools window to the right of the video screen.)

  • Quiz: Looking at a few persona examples  
Using the persona
  • Step 8: Socialize it  

    Sharing your persona with colleagues is not only a good idea, its a requirement for success. If you don't, you run a risk of inciting "not invented here" syndrome. That's when others in your organization criticize your work and fail to embrace your marketing recommendations. You can avoid this by making the time to socialize your draft persona and inviting feedback. This lesson offers a few tips to help you manage internal politics and keep your marketing plans on track.

  • Quiz: How to socialize your draft persona  
  • Step 9: Apply it  

    Congratulations! You've completed your persona. Now, what do you do with it?

    The persona is only as good as how you apply it. This lesson offers a prescription for immediately applying the persona in three foundational next-step exercises:

    1. Building a clear and focused positioning statement that defines how and why our product is different and better than the nearest competitive alternative.
    2. Drafting a crisp elevator pitch using customer-ready messaging, via my unique "message box" exercise.
    3. Designing effective marketing blueprints to illustrate how your content marketing strategy will come to life for your target persona.

    This lesson reveals what you need to know and where you can get additional information on these 3 critical elements necessary for every marketing strategy.

  • Quiz: How to apply your persona to your marketing activities  
  • Step 10: Learn from it  

    Step 10 offers a quick perspective on how to put the knowledge you've gained from this course to immediate use. There is no reason why you can't now gather a few colleagues over lunch to brainstorm your first persona. Don't be intimidated by this dynamic, ongoing process. Your persona-development skills will improve each time to guide the exercise.

  • Quiz: How to learn from your persona  
Moving forward: Bring your own persona to life
  • Exercise 2: Build your own persona  

    Remember you persona notes you captured in Exercise 1. Go ahead and refresh your memory.

    Now, in Exercise 2, I'd like you to craft your own persona using the best practices you've learned. You can use the PowerPoint template I shared in Step 4 (see downloadable materials found in Step 4), or you can create your own. Turn the target audience description you provided in Exercise 1 into a proper persona following the 10-step process.

  • Frequently Asked Questions  

    Since I first introduced this course in 2013 I've received a number of questions from students. This short video provides a few answers to some common questions:

    1. How can/should market research inform your persona?
    2. What is the downside of using a persona?
    3. How do you know if you have the right persona?
    4. How should I evolve personas over time?

    If you have other questions you'd like me to address, please write to me via Udemy. I'll include your questions and answers in additional FAQ videos.

  • Conclusion & additional resources  

    Congratulations! You've taken your first step on the path to the "Marketing High Ground" -- that mystical place where you understand the customers so well that you become acknowledged and valued within your company as the "customers' advocate". This should always be the goal of all marketers. Everyone on the marketing team can benefit from taking a few moments each day to remember who their customers are and what they care most about. Doing so will make you more effective in your planning and execution of marketing campaigns, programs, activities, and offers. 

    This lecture points you to some additional books and online courses you may also find of interest in your pursuit of the Marketing High Ground.

    1. Book: The Marketing High Ground: the essential playbook for B2B marketing practitioners everywhere (paperback)
    2. Book: Marketing Campaign Development: what marketing executives need to know about architecting global integrated marketing campaigns (paperback)
    3. Online course: Product Management & Marketing: Positioning -- how to build a product positioning statement (coming soon to Simpliv)
    4. Online course: Tell Your Story: How to Create Your Best Elevator Pitch -- how to build better customer messaging (coming soon to Simpliv)

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