- A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of one of your target audiences.
- A persona helps you and your marketing team build strategies and messaging that are tailored to the persona’s values, goals, and pain points.
- Explore a range of buyer persona examples to help you build your own personas.
Does your inbound marketing team use buyer persona examples to target your customer base? If you’re not using them to their full potential, you’re missing a big opportunity.
When potential customers feel seen, heard, and understood, a magical thing happens. They believe that the brand’s products or services are the perfect fit for them, and they convert. What’s more, that individual relates to and bonds with the brand throughout the customer journey.
The feelings of solidarity and mutual understanding give rise to a loyal brand champion. The customer will follow the brand on social media, and they’ll actually look forward to the emails that hit their inbox. They’re also more likely to leave reviews and recommend the brand to their friends. In other words, they’ll become every brand’s dream customer.
Making a stranger feel uniquely seen and heard is no easy feat, though. So how do so many of our favorite brands pull it off? It all starts with in-depth buyer persona research. In this post, we’ll walk you through nine different buyer persona examples for B2B and B2C customers.
WHAT IS A BUYER PERSONA?
A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents an ideal customer within one of your target audiences. Brands comb through real-life customer data and market research to build each user persona. These avatars help you and your marketing team build strategies that are tailored to the persona’s values, goals, and pain points. They also help you visualize the real person you’re selling your products or services to so you can fine tune your marketing messages.
A buyer persona template should include any information that may be useful to both marketing as well as your sales team. Ultimately, your template should help you understand decision-making behavior as well as common objections customers have to your brand. Your marketing personas may be very different from the personas of other companies. There’s no right or wrong way to put a persona together.
What’s important is that you gain value out of the insight derived from your personas so that you can connect with your audience more effectively. Ideally, your personas make your marketing efforts easier.
What to include in a buyer persona template
You may want to consider some of the following types of elements for your persona development:
- Marital status
- Family make-up
- Income level
- Education level
- Online sources of information
- Favorite shows (TV, Netflix, etc.)
- Social media accounts
- Passions or causes
- Frustrations or challenges
- Type of company (for B2B)
- Job title (for B2B)
- Who they report into (for B2B)
- First-person statements
The value of audience segmentation
Most brands have multiple target audience segments. For example, if you’re an apparel brand, you may be targeting not only teen girls, but also teen boys. Or, in addition to teen girls, your target customers may include tweens.
Within each audience segment, a brand may have one or multiple personas. For example, if a brand targets both teen girls and boys as audience segments, it may break down its personas within each of these segments according to specific age ranges within the teen years (e.g., 13-15, 17-19), or may define personas based on urban vs. rural teens, or based on attitudes, lifestyle, etc.
Use audience segmentation to scale your efforts
Audience segmentation is critical because it enables you to scale your targeting beyond individual personas. It may not be realistic to configure your website to target every persona individually. In fact, that could hurt your SEO by diluting your content. Instead, target audience segments to reach each group of related personas cost-effectively. Remember, different personas could make similar purchasing decisions, so it would make sense to group them.
The secret is to scale by targeting audience segments overall. Then, create more specific messaging based upon psychographic, behavioral, intent, or demographic information. This unlocks your ability to run individual marketing campaigns that directly target your user personas where possible.
In other words, you’re going to segment your segments.
When you try to please everyone, you please no one
When you treat your audience as a single unit and build messaging and campaigns for the whole, you run the risk of leaving a bland impression across the board because you haven’t made anyone feel like you’re speaking to them specifically. It’s the age-old “people pleaser” dilemma: in trying to please everyone, you please no one.
Rather than unintentionally excluding valuable customers or sharing messages that don’t resonate deeply with anyone, segmenting at different levels lets you build personalized campaigns for each audience segment and each customer persona. This makes your audience members feel like your messages were written just for them, that your brand really knows them and has exactly what they need.
Use buyer personas to differentiate your brand
Highly targeted and customized messaging helps your brand to differentiate itself from competitors. Whereas competitors may have similar offerings, your precision-targeted messaging could be the difference between noise that clutters their lives and a breakthrough connection that helps them to build affinity with your brand.
Why every business needs buyer personas
Without buyer personas, your business would be in the dark. For instance, you wouldn’t know what content to create, what product qualities and benefits to highlight, what pain points to address, or what emotions to evoke. In short, you wouldn’t know how to best help your customers. And you’d run the risk of bombarding your entire audience with too much content that they just don’t care about.
Over time, you’d lose audience interest and trust. And that’s a tough thing to earn back.
Even if your audience doesn’t leap to unsubscribe, you miss out on valuable conversion opportunities when you market to everyone in a generalized way. Say you’re a retailer and your men’s suits are on sale. When that message gets lost in the general noise instead marketed to a specific persona directly, the people who’d be excited to buy suits miss the memo.
Personas help you share the right content with the right people at the right time. More importantly, they give you the insight you need to learn about your audience’s preferences, goals, challenges, and desires so that you can optimize your marketing. With that, you can delight your audience with every single message.
Let’s dig into some examples of buyer personas that will inspire your own templates and help you extract better ROI from your B2B content marketing.
B2B BUYER PERSONA EXAMPLES
B2B personas help you understand the fears, motivators, and mindset of key decision makers among your target customers. We’ve created some high-level examples of buyer personas to up your B2B lead generation game.
SaaS buyer persona examples
Let’s say that your business sells a content marketing automation and scheduling tool. Your set of audience personas could include the following:
Calvin, the In-House Content Marketer
- Millennial or Gen X
- Male or female
- Reports into Marketing Director
- Reads the Content Marketing Institute blog
- Biggest frustration: Cannot easily keep on top of all the moving parts of the content production process; tasks are falling through the cracks; manual Excel spreadsheets just aren’t cutting it anymore.
When Calvin started at his company, they were small. They operated on a lean budget and he wrote 100% of the company’s blog posts. As the company grew, Calvin’s role did, too. He’s now in charge of coordinating content and outreach efforts across several channels, and he communicates with a small team of freelancers.
Calvin uses a spreadsheet to track posting schedules and assign topics to freelancers. But, keeping it up to date is a hassle. When freelancers are done with an assignment, they email it to Calvin directly and he schedules it into the blog. Communication and scheduling take up a great deal of Calvin’s time, which frustrates him. As a result, sometimes things slip through the cracks.
Calvin entered the field of content marketing because he’s creative. He’s not thrilled about the process part of his role, so he wants it to be as easy and automated as possible. He does care about his work, however, and wants his marketing strategy to produce results.
Sam, the Social Media Strategist
- Gen Z, Millennial, or Gen X
- Male or female
- Reports into Account Director
- Reads Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner
- Biggest frustration: Sam is spending too much time on coordination with other team members and on client reporting.
Sam works for a digital agency and manages social media for a portfolio of five or six clients at a time. Her plate is full, but she has her system nailed down to a science. She currently uses a scheduler to manage all her clients across platforms, but she’s looking for a new solution with better team collaboration and reporting features. The new solution must have all the same capabilities as the old one, plus more.
Because Sam works with clients, she wants reports that are clean, easy to digest and attractive. They should be client-ready when Sam runs the report – no wasting time reformatting the data or dropping it into a template. The solution would get serious bonus points from Sam if they could also generate insights about the data on the fly.
Mary, the Digital Marketing Director
- Gen X or Boomer
- Male or female
- Reports into Marketing VP
- Reads the Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, and a mix of marketing blogs
- Biggest frustration: Mary needs her team to up their game when it comes to a structured, efficient, reliable process while achieving greater scale.
Mary manages a team of in-house digital marketers and agency partners. She won’t be using the tool herself, but she pays attention to what her team members need and she’s been noticing they’re struggling with automation, coordination, scheduling, scalability, and reporting. Mary isn’t worried about budget, but practicality and scalability are top priorities.
To that end, she wants everyone on her team to use the same tools whenever possible. That means the solution must be flexible enough to meet a variety of needs, and user-friendly enough to quickly onboard everybody.
HR buyer persona examples
Let’s say that your business sells a simple, easy-to-use employee feedback system. Your buyer personas might include:
Diane, the VP of HR
- Gen X or Boomer
- Male or female
- Reports into the CEO
- Reads the HR Bartender and HPPY blogs
- Biggest frustration: Employees don’t voice their concerns to HR. As a result, they have a mountain of negative Glassdoor reviews.
Diane’s company spends millions of dollars per year on employee happiness: top-notch benefits, bottomless cold brew, events, workshops, and tons of office perks. Yet, every time she visits Glassdoor, she greets a sea of unhappy reviews. The company’s strategy, CEO, and the day-to-day grind all come under fire affecting brand reputation.
Diane has tried to build a culture of openness so that people feel comfortable coming to HR with their problems and feedback before they hit Glassdoor, but nobody does. She needs a system that will help her team gather quick feedback frequently and aggregate the data into a set of logical takeaways. In other words, Diane needs a more agile way to keep her finger on the pulse of how employees are actually feeling. While Diane believes anonymity is paramount to honest feedback, she does need a general sense of where the feedback is coming from so she can pinpoint whether specific teams are less happy than others.
Diane wants HR to survey each employee every two weeks. She’d also like employees to be able to easily provide anonymous feedback, from their phones, in under two minutes. Diane has certain KPIs to hit. However, she genuinely wants her company’s employees to love where they work.
Evan, the Entry-Level Employee
- Gen Z or Millennial
- Male or female
- Reports into a Manager
- Information sources are varied across the employee base
- Biggest frustration: Evan is overwhelmed by the internal politics that seem to drive the behavior of managers. He feels there’s no realistic way for him to voice his views or concerns without retaliation.
Evan has been working at his company for two years. He’s comfortable there, but he knows things could be better and the mismanagement he sees at the top frustrates him. The internal politics are overwhelming. He believes he and his fellow employees have valuable insights that go unheard, and going around an immediate manager to voice one’s dissenting view would be a recipe for a horrendous performance review.
If the company had an anonymous feedback system in place, especially something he could use easily and frequently, Evan would gladly use it. However, he needs to fully trust that the feedback really is anonymous. If the HR software’s messaging implies that it’s on the side of the company and not the employees, Evan won’t use it.
B2C BUYER PERSONA EXAMPLES
Find high-level B2C buyer persona examples below to help you build your own personas that help you connect and engage with your audience more effectively.
Ecommerce buyer persona examples
Let’s say that your business sells running shoes and activewear for women. Your audience personas may include:
Marissa, the Marathoner
- Gen Z, Millennial, or Gen X
- Information sources include Runner’s World, Women’s Running, and Self.
- Biggest frustration: Marissa gets depressed whenever she is injured and sidelined from running. She needs a reliable running shoe that’s comfortable, is durable, and provides her with the proper support to ward off injuries.
Marissa doesn’t just run marathons; she competes in them. She consistently finishes in the top 25 overall, and often wins her age bracket. Because Marissa is a serious runner, the right shoes and gear are critical.
Marissa’s biggest fear is being sidelined by a recurring issue or injury until she’s forced to give up on the sport she loves. She needs shoes that are built for speed and performance, and they must support her long-term health as a runner. Cost isn’t a concern for Marissa; she’ll pay as much as she needs to for the right shoes. However, she’s wary of fashion sneaker brands that prioritize trendiness and clout over performance.
While she’s open to new styles and technologies, she tends to be mostly brand-loyal within a few favored brands. Road-testing shoes from a brand he’s not familiar with could prove expensive or even dangerous. She’s in it to win it, and she wants a brand that connects to her passion and drive and seriousness as a runner. Her ideal brand is backed by people who live and breathe running as much as she does.
Caitlynn, the Comfort Queen
- Gen Z, Millennial, or Gen X
- Information sources include Self, Women’s Health, and Disney Family
- Biggest frustration: Caitlynn doesn’t want to compromise between activewear that’s fashionable or functional; she wants her outfits to be both.
Caitlynn works mornings from home, and in the afternoon she’s constantly on the go. From grocery shopping to walking her seven-year-old home from the bus stop, Caitlynn gets her 10,000 steps a day in – she just doesn’t do it at the gym.
Caitlynn used to squeeze into heels for her office job every day, but now she lives in tennis shoes, yoga pants and other comfortable attire. Her life is full and busy, and there’s simply no reason to suffer for fashion.
That said, Caitlynn isn’t going to leave the house looking like a slob. She’s appearance- and brand-conscious, and her ideal clothing is an even blend of form and function. She favors flattering options that help her feel at home in any setting, not clothing that makes her look like she came straight from the gym without changing.
Auto insurance buyer persona examples
Anne, the Average Driver
- Information sources include Consumer Reports and NerdWallet
- Biggest frustration: Caitlynn is sick and tired of cute marketing but “Gotcha” clauses in the small print. She knows she’s a good driver, and simply wants a brand she can trust.
Anne drives her car an average amount: to and from work, and occasionally across town to visit friends or pick up groceries. Aside from one minor fender-bender when she was 20 and a couple of speeding tickets, Anne has had a clean driving record throughout 15 years of driving.
Like most people, Anne isn’t passionate about car insurance shopping. She just wants a low rate from a company that won’t give her the runaround when she needs them. While price is important, trust in the brand is the trump card; low rates or not, she wouldn’t buy insurance from a brand she’s never heard of. When she’s in the market for new insurance, she asks friends and coworkers about their rates and reads reviews.
Transparency is also crucial for Anne. If you surprise her with hidden fees or neglect to mention the fine print in your sales pitch, you’ve lost a customer for life.
Tim, the Teenager’s Dad (AKA Tim, the Terrified)
- Gen X or Boomer
- Information sources vary widely, including CNN and USA Today
- Biggest frustration: Tim is a caring father and is stressed out about his teenage son’s safety (and potentially skyrocketing car insurance costs in the case his son gets in an accident).
Tim’s 17-year-old son has had his driver’s license for a year, and he uses the family’s second car as his own. He’s a great kid, but he’s prone to distraction and Tim knows his son shuttles his friends around. Worries about his son’s safety keep Tim up at night, but that’s not all – he also shudders to think about his insurance premiums in the event of an accident. On top of that, he worries that Tim may inadvertently injure his friends if they’re in the car with him at the time of an accident.
Tim is looking for an insurance company that’s comprehensive, reliable, and sympathetic. He’d also like them to appreciate his son’s good initial driving record. Furthermore, he wants them to provide guidance on how to keep his son as safe as possible.