Many marketers, myself included, have built customer personas based on demographics such as gender, race, age, income level, education, and much, much, more. (To see some of the content I’ve written on those, you can read more here)
I know, you’re probably thinking, “what’s so bad about that?”
Well, it might have worked for traditional businesses, but as businesses are trying to expand to an omnichannel model, it no longer works. The lines between demographics are blurring more than ever, so focusing on what your customers look like or do for a living can be an effort made in vain. In fact, the best way to categorize your customers is by how they shop and purchase your products.
Relying on customer personas such as Healthy Heather or Martha the Stay at Home Mom really doesn’t do much for the business unless you understand how that customer shops and then individualize their shopping experience. According to Marketing Evolution’s article, “From Persona to Person,” understanding the customer journey calls for marketers to create journey maps based on real insights opposed to educated guesses about their customers. Understanding how a customer navigates your channels from start to finish is key in providing the person-level insights you might need, which is usually collected by a data analytics software or platform of sorts.
While I won’t get into how exactly to pull this data, mostly because it varies across programs, I can go ahead and explain some of the basic customer personas that are based on behavior rather than demographics:
These buyers want to purchase recommendations from their networks. Having online reviews are detrimental to attract this type of consumer and a single bad experience is likely to scare them away. These are where influencers are very impactful because socialites depend on their communities for recommendations. Also, making sure your site has an active blog and an ample social media community is key.
The buyers who want everything done right. Perfectionists are the people who do their due diligence in researching the product and is fully aware of exactly what they need. They also hate to be disappointed and negative experiences scare them away as well. Making sure that all of your marketing messaging and customer experience is consistent and top tier is very important for this customer type. Make it easy for this customer to research your product through white papers, or other collateral that explains the technical aspects.
The Ain’t Got Timers
These buyers want their purchasing process to be quick and efficient. Businesses should add value to these customers by making things easier for them. For example, Geico shows quotes for their competitors on their site, making it easy for customers to get a quote and compare in one place quickly. These customers also will rely on word-of-mouth marketing and reviews from others. Offer incentives like free shipping, easy returns and exchanges, to attract them.
The buyers who want the shiny new object. While Impulsives are far and few, these are the customers that will see a television ad and buy it. These are also the first people in line for an iPhone as soon as it comes out, just because its new. Exclusivity is the name of the game, so offering them first dibs to a launch or upcoming promotion is a great tactic.
The Panic Buyers
These buyers typically make purchasing decisions at the last minute. I’m sure most of our fathers lie in this category. They wait until the last minute and don’t have many options, so fast shipping, gift-wrapping, and email reminders help to keep your business in mind.