Who is your customer? It’s a simple enough question, but it can be nearly impossible to answer in full.
A person is more than their title, that’s for sure. And it’s always important to check your bias. Not every IT Manager likes to spend their weekends playing MMOs or LARPing and not every sales rep comes back from Vegas trying to pass off a $300 dinner as an “expense.”
Building buyer personas is a great way to help focus your marketing team…if those personas are accurate and relevant! Because, here’s the thing, we tend to make A LOT of assumptions about what people think, what they like, and why they make decisions. One thing I learned from reading A Drunkard’s Walk (not about drinking, turns out) is that our brains are champs at finding patterns where there aren’t any.
The only way to really know the driving forces behind your customers’ decisions is to ask them. Put aside your demographic data and do some digging. Set up a few phone interviews with recent buyers and have them tell you their story. Where were they, business-wise, when they found your company. What made them look into you at all? What made them choose you? Was there a point where you almost lost them? What did they like about the competition?
When you hear a few of these stories, you’ll start to notice some real patterns. Patterns you can test out with your future marketing.
It’s a lot trickier, but if you can interview some of your customers who got away, you’ll get a clearer picture of your strengths and weaknesses (and the competition’s).
There’s a story behind every major purchase. Find that story and you’ll be better able to understand the characters involved.