A key component to a successful content marketing campaign is the thorough understanding of the buyer persona of the target audience and I want to share some tips for how to create them when your targeting different vertical market sectors.

Research by incisive media shows that the average technology company has an average of eight buyer personas and making them specific to the role and target organisation type can be challenging.

Lots of marketing automation platforms and agencies offer some form of automatic persona generator, we have one on our website.  The tool works by asking some specific questions and based on the inputs received it creates a persona. These tools are a great starting point if you’re new to developing personas and produce a good starting point that can be enhanced regularly.

Below are my suggestions for refining the persona:

Ask Sales

Your sales people are in contact with your typical persona everyday and can provide valuable insight into their behavioral attributes. Find the sales person who is responsible for the selling to the vertical market you are building the persona with. Get them to review your persona and feedback anything they disagree with and add anything they feel makes the persona more accurate.

Use LinkedIn to Build a Bigger Picture

At this stage you have a very internal viewpoint of the persona.  In the same conversation ask your salespeople or CRM for contacts that meet the persona you’re trying to develop.  Ideally, you’ll need 4-5 contacts.  Look them up on LinkedIn and data-mine information like qualifications, career paths, professional association memberships, etc.

You’ll also discover which LinkedIn groups memberships, even favourite media titles and influencers.  These will be helpful when your looking at your content because you can make it resonate more if you reference work by them.

Interview Customers Who Match the Persona

Ideally, if your salespeople allow, interview your customers from the vertical market sector. The purpose of the interview is to test and verify your assertions about them.  You’ll never know what you might find. Armed with this information finalise your persona.

These 3 simple steps will make your persona’s more realistic and provide insight to your content and marketing automation workflows.