Digital Marketing - Know the Person You Want to Target

Apr 22, 2020 1:42:22 PM

The Search for the Right Persona

Savvy marketers want to better understand buyer personas relevant to the products and solutions in their portfolio. However, not every marketer understands the importance of prioritizing the search for the right persona. Persona creation can be laborious and getting agreement on personas can be even more challenging, but it is worth the effort. Once you create a persona, it becomes the guide for every person in your organization entering a dialogue with a customer or potential buyer.

The result of good persona work is consistent, compelling communication. Buyers are far more likely to dialogue with your organization when you know them well, speak their language, and meet them on their territory. Every piece of content created by digital marketers should have a specific persona in mind.

For example, starting a dialogue with someone who is a business sponsor will be very different than a conversation with an information technology leader. Conversations with an individual contributor who is a technician will be very different than with a manager or director-level IT professional. For every piece of content that I author, I try to imagine that person sitting in front of me. I play it out in my mind and do my best to consider how the conversation might proceed.

Following is a set of questions that I typically use to describe a target buyer persona.

Persona Name and Story

It always helps to name your personas, describe their role, and tell their story in a brief paragraph summary. For example, “Evan, the Executive Business Sponsor.”


What is your role in the decision for [specific product or solution]?

Where in the buying cycle do you play the biggest role in decision-making?

How are you measured in your job?

What does your typical day look like?

What skills do you require to do your job?

What knowledge or education do you require to do your job?

What tools do you typically use in your job?

To whom do you report? Who reports to you?


For what areas are you responsible when it comes to objectives or goals?

How do you define success?


What are your biggest challenges?

How do you try to overcome these challenges?


In what industry or industries does your company work?

What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?

Watering Holes

How do you learn about current trends and skills for your job?

What publications or blogs do you read?

To what associations do you belong?

What social networks do you frequent?

Personal Background

How would you describe yourself personally (age, generation, experience)?

What personality traits describe you best?

What kind of language do you use and understand?

Shopping References

How to you prefer to interact with vendors (email, text, virtual, in person?)

Where do you research vendors or products?

How do you search for information to make purchases?

Where do you make purchases online?

What motivates you to buy [specific product or solution]?

If you are interested in seeing a sample persona, feel free to send me an email and I will happily share it with you. Let’s work together on some powerful, persona-based digital marketing content.


John Santaferraro

Written by John Santaferraro

John is the research director for analytics, business intelligence, and data management at EMA. His 23 years of experience in the data and analytics market span everything from startups to executive positions at Fortune 50 companies. His deep understanding of the industry comes from years of leadership in product and marketing organizations, along with multiple big data imagineering efforts for finance, communications, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, events, oil and gas, and utilities. John's coverage area also includes data integration, data discovery, metadata management, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, digital marketing, and innovation.

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