A [buyer] persona is a representation of your ideal customer derived from research from current and former customers, vendors, and employees. These personas help you gain a better understanding of your customer. Having a defined persona or personas will help you shape your marketing message for your specific audience.
Every company will benefit from having their personas identified before creating content. Audio visual companies, that typically have a product or service that varies in complexity may find themselves with a number of different personas.
It is important to identify these buyer personas and develop a profile based on a set of similar characteristics. Let’s take a closer look at how this works for several different personas.
An End User of technology may initiate an inquiry or may be brought in to provide input regarding their specific needs for a particular space. This person’s requirements may influence the selection of the chosen product or service.
Determine where the end user searches for information and how they gather their intelligence. Do they begin their search online? Do they have an on-site/off-site technical contact that they rely on? Are they searching for answers in forums or on social media from peers?
Entry Level Technicians at a company or school could be a potential persona. They usually have first-hand knowledge of technical challenges or needs. In addition, they likely have received input from the end-user we mentioned previously. While the competency level can vary among these personas, they typically have specific challenges to overcome.
Are they tasked with equipment operation and maintenance? Are they required to train end-users? What resources do they have when they encounter a problem? Who is their first point of contact (i.e. tech support, manager, manufacturer’s rep, Google, etc.)?
Technology Directors most definitely play a role in determining what products and services to purchase. However, they likely have different pain points. Again, we want to group them based on our findings.
What is the biggest challenge in their role? Do they have purchase authority or only influence purchasing decisions? Are they AV savvy or do they have an IT background? What sources do they use for information? What channels do they frequent online (i.e. LinkedIn)? What type of projects are they typically involved with?
C-Level Executive types may not get directly involved with product specification, but they likely hold veto or approval decision regarding new projects and the overall budget for those projects. It’s important to understand their unique challenges and concerns. How will spending money on this project help them meet their business objectives? What impact will it have on their bottom line? What value does it provide for the organization? How will it benefit stakeholders?
Procurement and Purchasing Departments are tasked with choosing vendors based on several criteria. Their job is to help their organization get the most value for their dollar. While they may portray themselves as impartial in their selection process, this is not always the case. Purchasing agents and managers are people too. It is easy to develop relationships with them using content in the same manner as other personas.
If you develop an understanding of their role and their problems, you can also create content that is less technical in nature yet specific to these types of individuals; who could determine the future or fate of your next big deal.
Find out what a typical day is like for someone in purchasing at a company similar to one with whom you’d like to do business. Ask them questions over lunch or over the phone. For example, what makes their job difficult? What do they dislike most about the RFP process? What does the process require of them specifically? What would make it less difficult or unnecessary altogether?
Again, ask questions and look for opportunities to see how you can help solve a problem or make their job easier. Then create solution-focused content.
The previous personas are likely to be found in the integration space. However, different groups within the audio visual industry will have very different personas. The idea is to gather as much (research derived) data as possible to develop the most defined profile.
Here are a two examples of well-defined personas and how content was created to match their needs.
1. A Custom Home Theater Company could have a persona that is a 45 year old male, who lives in suburban America and makes six figures. His name is Dave, better known as “Do-it-yourself Dave”. Dave is a self-professed videophile or audiophile and fails time and time again at do-it-yourself projects. As a result, he always ends up buying high-end toys for his house and having them installed every time the newest technology comes out.
The data obtained from several “Dave” profiles suggest that creating how-to or do-it-yourself videos would be extremely relevant for him. While it may seem counter-intuitive for a custom home theater firm to provide such content, the truth is, Dave is likely to make his purchase with the company that provides him the best education based on his needs and desires.
2. A Rental Staging Company identifies a persona that is a female event planner for a fortune 500 company. Her name is Evelyn, aka “Event planner Evelyn”. Evelyn is tasked with running a small team that handles five major company events each year. She oversees everything from venue selection, hospitality, food and beverage, transportation, speaker contracting, and so on. However, her biggest pain point is finding different and unique entertainers for a very demanding audience.
Since your company takes care of the A/V/L and staging needs for other fortune 500 customers, you have seen some great entertainment over the years. You write a bi-monthly blog posts that tells the story of how you’ve supported the AV needs of these very unique entertainers and you include their contact information.
Event planner Evelyn searches for a solution online and finds your blog posts, which turn out to be extremely helpful in helping her secure an acrobatic dance team from Asia. In turn, she reaches out to you to see how you can support all her rental and staging needs for their upcoming event. The event is flawless and your company lands a three-year contract.
So there you have it. You now know what a persona is, what a clearly defined persona looks like and which questions you can ask to help create your own.
Start creating personas today by downloading our template How To Create Buyer Personas For Your Audio Visual Business.
Also published on Medium.