In the past, marketers would typically segment their audience in terms of broad demographics – things like age, occupation, geography, income, ethnicity. However, these crude categories offer only superficial insight. Customers are real people with unique motivations.
More recently, we have begun to humanize the science of demographics – to think of market segments in more personal terms, and recognize that these groups are made up of individuals – people with unique roles, identities, and priorities.
Even in B2B marketing, 48% of buyers reported they they are more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing to address their specific business issues. And yet, less than half of B2B marketers use buyer personas (or customer avatars) today.
Well-crafted buyer personas not only allow for alignment across an organization, but can help you determine where to focus your limited resources – including when making a marketing video. That’s why it will be one of the first things we ask for when researching the target audience for a video.
What is a Buyer Persona?
The term buyer persona describes this semi-fictional portraits of your ideal customer. It includes demographic information, but it is more focused on their motivations and goals. Buyer personas attempt to describe what prospective customers are thinking and doing as they make their way through the buyer’s journey.
This can include everything from their daily job functions, challenges, and pain points, to a list of their preferred sources of information, their hobbies, and where they tend to spend their time online.
How To Create a Buyer Persona
How you develop your buyer personas depends on the type of information you have available. Here are a few ways to gather information:
- Look at the Data – If you have any data that pertains to your customer’s demographics, look for any significant trends that might be able to help you formulate generalizations about your customer’s behavior. If you happen to use marketing automation software, email marketing or video marketing platforms that integrate with your customer CRM database, then try to uncover any behavioral trends in how leads or customers typically find and consume your other content.
- Talk To Your Sales Team – They interact directly with your customers on a regular basis, so they have valuable firsthand knowledge. Ask your sales team to describe some of the more qualitative aspects of your customers. What motivates them? What kind of people are they? What problem are they trying to solve? What are their common objections?
- Interview Customers And Prospects – Going straight to the source will help you to paint a much more intimate picture of your ideal customer. Ask what they like about your product or service – ask them what they don’t like. This direct contact provides invaluable insight for your marketing efforts.
Hubspot has some excellent tips as well as a free template, and there is certainly no shortage of other resources online to help you as you develop your buyer personas. Whatever questions you ask or data fields you use, you should customize them based on your industry, whether you’re targeting B2B or B2C customers, and any other factors that might help in segmentation.
It’s a good idea to review and refresh your buyer personas every few months, as well as anytime you’re introducing a new product or are targeting a new market.
Using a Buyer Persona to Better Target Your Videos
Many businesses can have as many as 4-5 buyer personas, especially in a complex buying process. When considering the audience of your video, we’ll try to focus on 2-3 of these personas at the most, but we’d prefer to narrow it down to just one. Speaking to a single persona will result in a video that is that much more focused and, therefore, more effective.
So how exactly can a buyer persona be used to make a more targeted and effective video?
1. To Tell a More Relevant Story
Marketing videos like ‘explainer videos’ are an excellent way to demonstrate the value of your product or service in a clear and engaging way, but the power of video really lies in its ability to tell a story. Storytelling can help you to cut through all of the noise, and most importantly it can help you to make a human connection with your prospects.
Characters are what help establish the connection between you and your audience. When it comes to an explainer video, the goal should be to present a character that your ideal buyer can relate to, and to make them the hero of the story.
The conflict will be the lesson you’re trying to teach your audience by showing how this character transforms through the challenge they face, and it’s how you’ll create an emotional connection between your audience and your character. This should relate to your viewer’s own needs and problems, as well as which stage your prospective buyer is at in the Buyer’s Journey.
Only once you have a clear picture of your ideal buyer and their goals can you establish a character for your story that will represent them and the challenges they might face.
Further reading: Why Storytelling Matters
2. To Help Set the Tone
Many important considerations will be made throughout the production of a video, from choosing a style for cinematography or animation, to choosing background music.
Music in particular is an extremely personal thing. What one person loves, the next person can’t stand – it’s the reason there’s a nearly endless supply of music being created. When selecting music for video, we need to set aside those personal preferences and prejudices, and think instead about our buyer persona. What types of music would resonate best with them?
3. To Choose a Voice
Many videos (especially animated ones) will rely on a voice-over to help tell the story. There are many subtleties in the human voice, so it’s important to make sure it’s appropriate for the message of the video, and that it will be relatable to your audience.
Fortunately, gender isn’t as crucial as you might guess. Audiences generally have no preference, unless the subject matter of the video is gender-specific (which is comparatively rare). Unless there’s a good reason for choosing a particular point on the gender spectrum, we recommend being open to all kinds of voices.
What tends to matter more is the voice-over artist’s perceived age, as people tend to relate more to their peers and may, therefore, be more receptive to your message.
4. To Determine the Language
A good scriptwriter is always thinking about the nuances of speech and knows how to produce a script that is not only easy to read, but easy to read out loud.
Voice-over scripts that are more conversational and with shorter sentences tend to sound much better, but the language should be tailored to your audience. How familiar are they with technical jargon? Are we speaking to a layman, or trying to establish expertise with a person with specialized industry knowledge?
The buyer persona document is the best place for a scriptwriter to start when researching the target audience for a video in order to make some of these important decisions.
Not to worry if your team has yet to create your own detailed buyer personas – it’s certainly still possible to create a successful video without one. But there’s no time like the present to start personalizing your marketing. It will help you in the long run and is sure to help to make more targeted and effective videos as well.