How to Create Manufacturing Buyer Personas from Interview Findings

Challenges: Growth

Posted by Meaghan Ziemba

How to Create Manufacturing Buyer Personas from Interview Findings

Focus on the insight patterns within your interview transcripts to create the buyer personas for your industry.

Now that you’ve conducted all of your interviews with your buyers, it’s time to create your buyer personas from your interview findings.

To start, review all of your transcripts and highlight the sentences that contain one or more of the 5 Rings of Buying Insight from the Buyer Persona Institute, which are:

  1. Priority Initiatives: Why and how did this problem become an urgent priority of the buyer?
  2. Success Factors: What expectations does the buyer have for success?
  3. Perceived Barriers (Bad New Insight): What are the barriers that prevent this buyer from selecting you?
  4. Buying Process (Buyer’s Journey): What process makes it easy for this buyer to select you?
  5. Decision Criteria: What is the criteria that the buyer is using to compare their options?

Then, edit all of the quoted information using your own words so it is easier to read and understand. Group together quotes and ideas with similar insights or key thoughts. Include information on company management changes, mergers, budgetary changes, etc., because this information may have an effect on a company’s purchasing decisions.

Create a spreadsheet to track the key insights and their sources (Name, Company, and Job Title).

Remember the following rules for personas:

  1. Focus only on the characteristics that tell you how to persuade the buyer.
  2. Consider demographics, such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, education, profession, occupation, income level, and marital status, during the final stage of persona development.
  3. Build an additional persona only when the differences impact a buyer’s decision - you’re not building personas off of job function, but rather intent during the buyer’s journey.

 

Demographic vs. Psychographic Characteristics

You want to build your buyer personas off of both the demographic and psychographic similarities you find in your interview transcripts. According to Brent Walker of c2b solutions, “[Both demographic and psychographic] information helps brands develop relevant communications [...] with their target audience.”

Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain the “why” they buy.

Demographics focus on factual characteristics such as age, gender, income, marital status, etc. Psychographics are your buyer’s habits, hobbies, spending habits, and values .

Adele Revella, from the Buyer Persona Institute, encourages awareness of the following patterns:

  • Ideal buyer vs. unlikely buyer -- An ideal buyer is a prospect that is active in the buyer’s journey and has similar goals to your most valuable customers.
  • Current customer of product X -- Current customers can provide feedback on how your products and services are helping them reach their goals of success and on areas of improvement.
  • Specific competitor’s customers -- Customers of competitors have valuable insight on why they selected them over you. They can also provide feedback on why they left a competitor for your product and services.

 

Tips for Summarizing Your Findings

Reviewing this information does not need to be overwhelming. Maintaining a spreadsheet of each interview will help track repeated data, negative feedback from lost or current customers, and demographic versus psychographic characteristics.

As you are writing up your findings, focus on the information that can improve your marketing decisions; for example, a customer who increased their lead times by purchasing one of your products would make a great case study on the company site. An article explaining the top ways in which product X decreases manufacturers’ lead times can be created and promoted on social media to generate more traffic to the site, increase subscribers, and potentially gain more leads.

Also, remember to communicate emotions to maintain a human element. Include interactive components within the text to encourage engagement from your audience. For example, ask your readers for their opinions and personal experiences with your products and services. Make sure to respond back to them to build trust.

Now that you have your personas created and documented, it is time to leverage them for marketing and sales enablement.