It’s hard to sell something if you don’t understand who you are trying to sell it to. Yet, marketers face the challenge of clearly defining who their target buyer really is, particularly in education. In many K-12 environments, decisions are made at the school district or even school board level, but often teachers, parents, and others in the school community are influencers when it comes to purchasing.
An effective way to develop a snapshot of who your education customer is and who influences their decisions is to create buyer personas. That way you are communicating the right message to the right person!
First, what exactly is a buyer persona? A buyer persona is a representation of your target customer based on market research and data about your existing customers. When developing a buyer persona, you will want to think about demographics, behavior, motivation, and goals. The more details, the better so that you create a persona that you can effectively craft messages that resonate and turn prospects into sales. Here are a few tips for creating buyer personas that will help you map your customer journey:
- Research. Like any good marketing activity, creating buyer personas starts with research. You might want to create short surveys for a select group of current customers and prospects that dig into who they are, what their goals are and what motivates their school purchasing decisions. Then talk to your sales team and learn more about their insights into the education customers they work with daily. Who are those customers? What are their pain points and what seems to help them finally make a purchasing decision? In addition, ask customers, prospects, and your sales team who they think influences these education decision makers when it comes to purchasing your product.
- Create a template. Based on all the great information that you have gathered, create a template for your buyer personas so that they all include similar information. For example, if your buyer is an elementary principal include age, educational level, professional associations they belong to, and other demographics and then information about their goals, challenges, and motivation. You can also create similar personas for the key influencers that impact your buyers. In addition, you can work with the team at MDR to round out your buyer personas to ensure that they reflect what is happening currently in the education marketplace. When completed, these buyer personas will be a valuable tool for both your sales and marketing teams as they work to successfully sell your products to schools and districts around the country.
- Develop messaging that targets your personas. This step is critical to your success. Once you have developed your buyer and influencer personas (and run them past your sales team for their input), then build a messaging framework to communicate with each one of them. If your buyer is a school principal, you will likely need a different message for them than a parent who is active in the school and has a big impact on the decisions the principal ultimately makes (an influencer).
- Use Your Buyer Personas. Now that you have invested in creating buyer personas, be sure to use them. They can help you define segments in the education market and plan carefully targeted campaigns. In fact, you can work with the team at MDR to develop integrated marketing campaigns that use the right channels for your buyers, ensuring that you are communicating the right message to the right people at the right time.
You’ve created great buyer and influencer personas and are using them to support your marketing campaigns. However, your work isn’t done. It is important to revisit them on a frequent basis as the market environment changes, your product changes or time just passes. Keeping them fresh is critical to buyer personas informing your successful marketing campaigns. And MDR is here to support you as you develop and implement those stellar campaigns. Reach out to us!