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The Importance of a Buyer Persona


The talk about this mythical “buyer persona” or “ideal customer” is always buzzing, but nobody ever explains what it practically is and why it’s so crucial.

Well, the importance of this figure is simple: diving into marketing without a clear understanding of your customers – their behaviors, culture, and what influences their buying decisions – is like setting sail from Lisbon and trying to reach New York without a compass (I know, I’ve used this example before, but I really like it).

That’s where your buyer persona comes in.

Your buyer persona serves as your compass, embodying your ideal customer.

But not just any ideal customer: the absolute best customer you could ever have.

The buyer persona is precisely the customer you dream of doing business with; a three-dimensional mental image of a real person embodying all the qualities you desire in your customer.

Someone who possesses all the qualities that put you in the best position to sell them your products or services and do it with a smile.

Why bother with a mental image that isn’t real and doesn’t provide any physical advantage in your business?

Because imagining this perfect customer helps you communicate your marketing message more effectively, write blog posts, and create videos that resonate exactly with that type of customer.

By working with the image of your ideal customer in mind, you’ll create content that triggers the exact motivations that drive your customers to purchase your product or service.

This is the importance of a buyer persona.

In this blog post, I’ll guide you through the process of creating your own.

However, let’s be clear: what’s been said so far has nothing to do with mental manipulation or hypnotic sales techniques to push products and services onto people who don’t need or can’t afford them.

Manipulative selling isn’t ethical, and ethics are everything for my blog.

If you’re looking for manipulative sales techniques, turn to Dan Kennedy.

He’s the top dog in unethical selling, even though his theories lack real-world evidence, as I’ve never heard testimonies from significant entrepreneurs who have been helped by Dan Kennedy.

Furthermore, I’d like him to explain – assuming his manipulative techniques, which he’s been explaining for decades, actually work and exist – how to handle testimonies filled with insults and the inevitable negative word-of-mouth resulting from selling in such a cheap and deceitful manner.


Crafting Your Buyer Persona


There are many ways to build an image of your ideal customer, but I’d like to use a process mentioned by Allan Dib in his great book The 1-Page Marketing Plan (which I recommend everyone to read), called PVP.

PVP is a framework designed to help businesses understand if they’re focusing on the right target customer.

It’s interesting to note that this framework goes beyond traditional demographics like age, income, or gender, which are important but not as fundamental as the psychological and emotional aspects of your customers.

How does this index work?

By analyzing and evaluating each potential customer on a scale from 1 to 10 based on the PVP index – which I’ll show you shortly – you can create your buyer persona.

After all, your goal is to spend your marketing budget as effectively as possible; and to have more certainty about your marketing effectiveness, you need to focus on a market segment instead of trying to reach everyone, as I’ve already explained in this blog.

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer, you’ll gain the clarity needed to craft effective marketing messages that truly resonate with your customers’ psychological triggers.

Allan Dib attributes the creation of the PVP index to Frank Kern; I haven’t found any reliable source to confirm this, and I strongly doubt that such an important concept could be credited to a marketing consultant who doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, and whose results, like those of all self-proclaimed marketing and business gurus such as Dan Kennedy and friends, are only self-referential.

However, it doesn’t matter much, it was just for the record and to always demonstrate the reliability of what I’m saying.

What matters now is understanding this PVP index and using it to help you build your buyer persona.

The Elements of the PVP Index

PVP stands for Personal Fulfillment, Value to the marketplace, and Profitability.

PERSONAL FULFILLMENT

This part of the PVP index asks you how much you enjoy dealing with this type of customer.

It’s often overlooked by companies when thinking about their target audience because they’re just looking for the audience where they can make the most money.

However, as Allan Dib rightly points out, I think this is a very important question to ask.

The reason is that if you constantly work with people you’d rather not work with, you’ll end up burnt out.

You should never forget that feeling personally fulfilled by your work and business is important.

Only this will help you build a lasting business and maintain a healthy mindset.

While other marketing tools today often overlook this, you shouldn’t overlook the invaluable feeling of happiness in your daily work and with the people you work with.

These are the principles I’ve always advocated on my blog.

VALUE TO THE MARKETPLACE

If you provide value but the target audience you’ve chosen doesn’t appreciate it, they’ll never pay for your service.

Or, perhaps worse, they might demand heavy discounts because they don’t respect your profession.

To avoid this, think about which audience values your work the most.

There are two types of customers who appreciate your work: those whose principles and values align with your brand’s, and high-spending customers who turn to a professional like you because they don’t want to waste time and hope you’ll do all the work for them.

For the former, it’s about understanding and aligning your brand’s values with those of your market, while always respecting ethics (I strongly advise against doing business with people who don’t respect ethics and common sense just because they pay well).

On the other hand, to attract high-spending customers to you, although it’s not always possible, I’ve written a blog post about it: How to Target Rich Customers“.

PROFITABILITY

While personal fulfillment and sharing values are essential, a successful business must focus on generating revenues and profits net of expenses.

The Profitability component of the PVP Index assesses the potential earnings within a particular market segment.

It examines factors such as the purchasing power of the segment, willingness to spend on your product or service, and overall profitability of serving this particular group of customers.

By evaluating this aspect, you gain insights into the earning potential of each market segment, which is crucial for your business’s success.

How to Use the PVP Index to Create Your Buyer Persona

Let’s get practical now.

The exercise involves brainstorming and jotting down the categories of customers who often buy from you.

I suggest dividing them based on the type of product they most frequently purchase (I’ll give you some examples shortly).

By assigning a score from 1 to 10 to each element of this index, you can pinpoint your buyer persona based on your preference for working with one type of customer over another.

Let me explain how it works and then I’ll illustrate with some examples.

When I was a real estate agent, I wasn’t aware of this formula; I discovered it later.

If I were to apply it today, here’s how I’d approach it.

In Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany, where I worked, there are two types of customers who buy properties: those who buy regular properties like apartments or townhouses, and those who buy luxury villas with pools.

Let’s apply the PVP process:


Buyers of Apartments and Townhouses

  • Personal Fulfillment: 7 – Individuals with modest budgets, often insecure but generally friendly and nice.
  • Value to the Marketplace: 3 – Despite being friendly and nice, they didn’t recognize the importance of my work, and often when it came to paying my commission, it seemed like a “gift” rather than a fee for services they deliberately chose to rely on. This led to very annoying negotiations to lower my commission.
  • Profitability: 8 – Even with the discounted commission, the low expenses led to significant earnings.
  • TOTAL: 18

Buyers of Luxury Villas

  • Personal Fulfillment: 3 – Very wealthy clients but often arrogant and feeling entitled; they often treated me as if I were their “servant,” and I clashed with them many times.
  • Value to the Marketplace: 10 – They acknowledged the importance of my work and never asked for commission discounts.
  • Profitability: 10 – The commission for purchasing a villa with a pool was so substantial that it was practically as if I hadn’t spent money to promote the property.
  • TOTAL: 23

So, if I were to start over as a real estate agent, I would focus solely on the luxury segment.

I would definitely set aside my confrontational nature, which doesn’t go well with arrogance and presumption, and instead of conflicting with this type of customer, I would specialize to become their authority in the real estate market.

More Examples of Applying the PVP Index

Preface: The following examples are entirely made up.

Don’t focus on the content of the examples and the division of clients, I know it might not be the right one, but it’s not important.

What matters to me is that you understand the application of the PVP.

Example 1: Digital Marketing Consulting

Let’s pretend you’re a marketing consultant.

Your most frequent clients are tech startups, small local businesses, and large companies.

Which of these could be your buyer persona?

Let’s analyze them.

  • Client A – Tech Startups
  • Personal Fulfillment: 9 – Exciting and innovative.
  • Value to the Marketplace: 8 – Strong need for marketing services and willingness to invest.
  • Profitability: 7 – Good revenues, but with initial customization expenses and specific strategies.
  • TOTAL: 24
  • Client B – Small Local Businesses
  • Personal Fulfillment: 7 – I enjoy working locally, but sometimes less stimulating.
  • Value to the Marketplace: 5 – Less aware of the value of digital marketing.
  • Profitability: 6 – Less willing to spend much, but manageable costs.
  • TOTAL: 18
  • Client C – Large Corporations
  • Personal Fulfillment: 6 – Prestigious, but often with complex and lengthy processes.
  • Value to the Marketplace: 9 – Recognizes the value and has high budgets.
  • Profitability: 8 – Excellent earnings, but sometimes with long sales cycles and high competition.
  • TOTAL: ➡️ 23

Your buyer persona can only be large corporations.

It was obvious, but at least you understood the process.


Example 2: Graphic Design Studio

  • Client A – Emerging Music Bands
  • Personal Fulfillment: 10 – Creative and rewarding collaborating with artists.
  • Value to the Marketplace: 7 – Appreciate design, but have limited budgets.
  • Profitability: 5 – Small projects, limited margins.
  • TOTAL: 22
  • Client B – Local Restaurants and Bars
  • Personal Fulfillment: 8 – Varied and fun projects, direct contact with owners.
  • Value to the Marketplace: 6 – Some recognize the importance of design, others less.
  • Profitability: 7 – Frequent projects and reasonable costs.
  • TOTAL: 21
  • Client C – Corporate (Multinational Companies)
  • Personal Fulfillment: 5 – Less creative freedom, highly structured.
  • Value to the Marketplace: 9 – Very interested in maintaining a strong corporate image.
  • Profitability: 9 – Ample budgets and longer contracts.
  • TOTAL: ➡️ 23



How to Create Your Customer Avatar


After identifying your buyer persona through the PVP process, you need to understand how to communicate with them effectively.

In 1999, Alan Cooper, known as the father of Visual Basic and a hero for tech enthusiasts like myself, wrote the book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum“.

In this book, Cooper emphasizes the importance of prioritizing user experience in the software design process, rather than solely focusing on technical specifications or product features.

Keeping the ideal user in mind helps designers visualize user needs, expectations, and behaviors throughout the design process.

This concept has also been adapted in the marketing world.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find information on who originally had this insight, but they deserve all our praise.

It’s widely accepted that to effectively communicate with our buyer persona, you need to envision the exact image (avatar) of your ideal customer when creating your content marketing.

Addressing your content directly to this imagined customer as if they were in the same room with you will help you create highly effective content.

Indeed, it’s essential not only to understand who the right customer is, as I’ve shown in this blog post, but also to see them, understand them, anticipate their moves, and be “their perfect solution at the perfect moment”.

How do you create this image?

Let me explain right away.

How to Communicate Effectively with Your Avatar

Whenever you need to write a blog post or produce an educational video, make sure to address issues that resonate with your customers:

  • What worries your customers?
  • What concerns do they have when trying to solve a particular problem?
  • What do they constantly complain about?
  • What fears do they harbor when considering the purchase of your product/service?
  • What recurring problems in your industry occupy the minds of customers?
  • What thoughts cross their minds as they engage with your content?
  • Do they believe you genuinely want to help them, or do they think you aim to take advantage of them?
  • Are there complicated purchasing procedures that could be better explained in your content?
  • Are there prevalent myths within your industry that you can debunk?
  • How can they achieve their goals faster, better, and more efficiently?
  • What actions can they take to immediately solve their problems?
  • How can they enhance their productivity and improve their daily lives?

This approach ensures that your communication is not only clear and engaging but also deeply connected to the needs and desires of your audience.


Let’s dive into an example.

I’m a blogger, and my perfect reader is a professional or entrepreneur aiming to kickstart or enhance their existing business.

Here’s how I tackle questions and tailor all my blog posts to fit this target audience:

What worries your clients?

Entrepreneurs and executives of multinational companies often fret over scalability, return on investments (ROI), and maintaining a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving global market.

What concerns arise when they seek to solve a particular problem?

Their concerns revolve around solution reliability, the service provider’s expertise, and whether the solution seamlessly integrates with their current operations.

That’s why I always back up my points with authoritative and trustworthy sources.

What are their constant gripes?

Common complaints include inefficient processes, high costs of technological integration, and the struggle to find qualified personnel who grasp global business dynamics.

What fears linger when evaluating the purchase of your product/service?

I don’t sell anything, but when they invest in a marketing course, they fear overcommitting resources, the risk of disruptions during implementation, and not reaping the promised benefits.

What recurring issues in your sector occupy clients’ minds?

Issues such as data security, compliance with international regulations, and keeping up with technological advancements typically top their concerns.

What thoughts cross their minds while engaging with your content?

They’re assessing the credibility of the information, its relevance to their specific challenges, and whether it offers actionable insights rather than just theoretical knowledge.


Do they believe you genuinely want to help them or suspect you’re out for personal gain?

Since I don’t sell anything, my readers know I have no reason to feed them lies.

Plus, as mentioned before, I always include links and pictures from reliable sources to support my arguments.

The only real criticism they could level at me would be if I wrote my blog posts with the help of ChatGPT.

Business owners and freelancers aren’t fools; they’d catch on, ditch my blog in a heartbeat, and I couldn’t blame them one bit.

Are there complex purchasing procedures that could be better explained in your content?

I don’t have products to sell.

Are there common myths in your sector that you can debunk?

Oh, countless ones I barely have time to list.

I always aim to bust at least one in my blog posts.

How can they achieve their goals faster, better, and more efficiently?

I always provide solutions that streamline operations, cut costs, and enhance productivity.

I often share case studies or examples where similar businesses have made significant improvements.

What actions can they take to immediately address their problems?

Inbound marketing is definitely a strategy they can apply right away and see results.

How can they boost their productivity and improve their jobs?

In my blog posts, I always recommend marketing tools that boost my readers’ productivity, freeing up their time to focus on crafting the most effective marketing strategy.

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