Leverage buyer personas for behavioural campaigns – a tale of modern marketing

What are buyer personas and how to use them in behavioural campaigns? Maximise the impact of your marketing efforts by following these simple steps.

Creating buyer personas is one of the first steps in outlining your marketing strategy.

First is realising you need a marketing strategy.

Second is defining the ideal customer profile, or in other words – a buyer persona.

But actually leveraging your buyer persona in a behavioural campaign is a more advanced move. It’s one of the newest techniques that marketing has unveiled to us in recent times.

It mostly works because of the data and tools we have available today. And it would be a great shame not to use it for your benefit.

To understand what it means to leverage buyer personas in your behavioural campaigns we must first look at the definitions of both.


What is a buyer persona and how can it help your business?


To put it bluntly – a buyer persona is a profile you create that describes your ideal customer.

This ideal customer doesn’t have to be real. In fact, most often they are fictional.

Having a buyer persona defined helps not only the marketing department. It’s also frequently used to help guide the messaging and tone of voice towards the customers.

Additionally, it can help the sales department in training for communication with customers and may even benefit the customer support team.

In marketing the buyer persona helps define:

  1. What type of content to produce
  2. Which channels to target
  3. What elements to include in your message about your product/service
  4. How to develop your product/service further

The process of creating the buyer persona usually begins with looking into your current customers.

Next, you dip into some market research data and then combine this with existing knowledge to form the complete image.

Some companies gather their information using big data sources. Others simply take their current “best customer” and use this to create a more comprehensive profile for them.

To create a buyer persona companies usually use demographic data including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Income level
  • Employment status
  • Marital status

The aim is to build a profile that will be used to direct our marketing efforts in the future.

However, it’s only when you dig into behavioural data that you get to the golden nuggets.

For this, you will need to combine your collected data with the market research data you have at hand.

Behavioural data may include:

  • Pages visited
  • Duration of sessions
  • Average spend
  • Products bought
  • Abandoned cart data
  • How the purchase was made
  • Why the purchase was made

But if you dig deeper into the behavioural data and the science behind it, you will discover information that can uncover great potential for your business.

This is the behavioural science we need to talk about before we go any further.

Behavioural science and what it means for marketing

Behavioural science tries to understand the motivations behind people’s habits or decision-making processes.

In essence, when put in marketing terms, it goes beyond the purchase intent.

Behavioural science looks at the context in which decisions are made and the emotions that drove a particular behaviour.

For example, take a group of teenagers who are deciding if they should smoke cigarettes or not.

Studies have shown that the long-term impact of health implications doesn’t mean much to this group of people.

But if you look at it from a behavioural point of view, what would resonate with this group is a short-term and contextually appropriate factor – teenage romance.

If we demonstrate to teenagers how smoking can drastically impact the number of romances they could engage in, their behaviour would change.

It’s all about understanding the emotional drivers and putting them into the context in which they are observed.

So, how do we go beyond our collected behavioural data and put it to good use?

We ask questions similar to this:

  • What does my ideal customer want?
  • What is his/her main frustration?
  • What are the emotions around those frustrations?
  • How do we convince them we are the best choice for them?

From there you will gain a better understanding of your buyer persona, which will result in greater impact for your marketing campaigns.

Key ingredients of behavioural campaigns you need to know about

Behavioural campaigns are an effective way of increasing your marketing effectiveness.

They strive to track the behaviours that our prospects exhibit and use it as a personalisation booster to increase conversions.

If you would like to know more, we’ve written about them in-depth here.

The crucial points to remember about behavioural campaigns are the following:

  • Marketers are best when they wear a sales hat
  • Shoppers don’t want to be sold to
  • People usually say no to a product or a service at first
  • Customers react best to personalisation and prompt reminders

Now, every marketing campaign consists of other elements that are critical to campaign success, such as proper segmentation.

Behavioural segmentation is a form of customer or prospect segmentation that is mostly based on patterns of behaviour.

These patterns are usually displayed by customers as they interact with a company or make a purchasing decision.

In our case, behavioural segmentation must be strong.

To get a better understanding, there are many behavioural segmentation methods we can look at, some of which are:

  1. Interest level
  2. Engagement level
  3. Usage of your product or a service
  4. Customer journey stage
  5. Purchasing behaviour
  6. Occasion or timing

When it comes to getting deep into the behavioural campaigns, the most interesting data point is the purchasing behaviour.

Today, buyers are outperforming sellers in terms of how quickly they change their behaviour.

Additionally, when you add behavioural science to the equation, we begin to understand how buyers always have a narrative about their purchase.

Want to know more about how to optimise your Customer Journey?

The story behind the purchase

As Seth Godin shared in his book, This is Marketing – he took a trip to India with VisionSpring, a company that sells cheap reading glasses to the developing world.

In one village, VisionSpring set up shop and made its pitch.

But only a third of the people who tried on glasses bought them.

“I was stunned that 65 percent of the people who needed glasses, who knew they needed glasses, and had money to buy glasses would just walk away,” Godin wrote.

He managed to double that figure by changing the pitch.

“Here’s what I did: I took all the glasses off the table. For the rest of the people in line, we said ‘Here are your new glasses. 

If they work and you like them, please pay us three dollars. If you don’t want them, please give them back’.” 

That changed the equation. The first pitch was an opportunity to see better and look good. The second forced the choice of having something taken away that was working, or paying three dollars to keep it.

What is the takeaway of this story?

Two things:

  1. Consumers are mostly impacted by subtle emotional factors in their purchasing behaviour.
  2. Consumers change their behaviour as a response to your marketing message.

So how can we take what we have learned so far and put it to good use? We’re glad you asked.

How to leverage buyer personas in behavioural campaigns

If we combine the knowledge about buyer personas, we get a simple equation such as:

Buyer Persona = Best customer + Demographic data + Behavioural data

Now, if we add our insight about behavioural campaigns we get a conclusion similar to:

A behavioural campaign is a marketing tactic where marketers dig into the actions that prospects perform before they decide to buy.

Every attempt to create buyer personas should bring results.

As mentioned earlier, it will not only help the marketing department but can support sales and customer service as well.

In a NetProspex case study, their design of buyer personas resulted in:

  • 900% increase in the length of visit
  • 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue
  • 111% increase in email open-rate
  • 100% increase in the number of pages visited

So how can we implement this insight and put it to practical use in behavioural campaigns?

Simple. Double down.

Once you know your buyer persona – you also know the type of campaign you need to conduct to resonate with them.

Additionally, you will most probably have more than one buyer persona.

Each of them will fall under a specific segment you will target in your marketing efforts.

1. Tracking the buyer persona through your customer journey

Let’s say you have started an email campaign.

You have segmented your audience based on the buyer persona profiles you gathered and then add additional data that will help your campaign to be more effective.

For example – purchase behaviour.

The segment includes the targeted prospects who visited your site but only made a purchase six months ago.

Based on the session length and pages visited you conclude this segment has a high intent to make that next purchase.

Now, your first email will probably include a voucher offer or a special discount.

Of course, you will include the personal details in your offer, for instance, their name and the last time they interacted with your brand.

Moreover, to leverage this insight and boost your campaign, you will now track everything.

  • Opened email?
  • Read through the offer?
  • Visited your website?

Make a note of it.

Now you go and segment further. This is where the behavioural campaign starts.

2. Using behavioural indicators in your upcoming communication

Not every customer will make an immediate purchase. In fact, if we have learned anything so far, it’s that most of them will skip the purchase on the first attempt.

To get the most out of your behavioural data collection, break your messages down.

Each individual response you make to each behavioural indicator must be different. Personalise it according to the situation your prospect is in.

Keep in mind, the personalisation factor is of high importance here.

The data you already have on your buyer persona combined with the behavioural indicators is immensely valuable. Make sure you use it.

For example, if they opened the email and didn’t use the voucher code – combine it with a personalised message that will resonate emotionally with them.

Assuming that your ideal customer or buyer persona is a woman and your company sells women’s shoes, ask the following questions:

  • If you were to look into her shoe storage what would you see?
  • What type of shoe would cause an emotional reaction?
  • Is there any significance behind her not using the voucher immediately?
  • Was your message delivered at the right time?
  • What kind of message would resonate with her?
  • What must she believe to use the voucher and finalise that purchase?

Remember the insight we got from Seth Godin’s glasses story from earlier?

  • Consumers are mostly impacted by subtle emotional factors in their purchasing behaviour.
  • Consumers change their behaviour as a response to your marketing message.

Based on your answers and the behavioural indicators, include a personalised message that will keep her at ease and make her buy that pair of shoes.

To get the full benefit of behavioural tracking and implementing this data in your campaigns, make sure you break each step down.

Even if, for instance, this woman didn’t react to your next message – put her through a different journey.

Yes, you need to design multiple journeys for multiple outcomes.

This is the most crucial point of behavioural campaigns.

You break every behavioural indicator down to the point that your customers feel like you know them personally.

Which, kind of, you do.

Final words

By following these simple steps you gain more benefits than just an increase in campaign performance.

You open more opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling. The more you know, the more you can sell.

Additionally, you improve the customer journey, customer experience and dive deep into the personalisation of it.

Based on a Walker study, by 2020 customer experience will grow to overtake price and product as the core element of every brand.

Behavioural campaigning is a great place to start and join the leading companies of the future while increasing your revenue at the same time.

Are you getting the most from your email marketing? Do you face challenges in designing your behavioural campaigns?

To find out how we can help you increase your sales numbers, contact our team today.

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