Ditch These 9 Buyer Persona Myths and Succeed in 2022

A set of well-crafted buyer personas is one of the greatest tools a digital marketer can have at their disposal. However, you may be buying into common buyer persona myths that hurt your strategies more than they help. Here are a few to be aware of and remove from your thinking.

Ditch These 9 Buyer Persona Myths and Succeed in 2022

This year, buyer personas are more than just helpful when it comes to digital marketing. They can actually make or break your success. 

Get them right, and you can look forward to online content, marketing strategies, and social media presences that yield profound results. 

Get them wrong, and you can miss the opportunity to connect with your target audience altogether.

That’s why it’s essential to know what’s true and what isn’t when it comes to creating buyer personas that help you reach your marketing goals, build your brand, and connect with your customers. 

Here are some especially persistent buyer persona myths that stick around year after year, even among savvy marketers. 

    1. You only need to create buyer personas once

    Many people think of buyer persona creation as something that happens only once, typically when a business is brand new and looking to determine a first marketing or branding strategy.

    However, nothing could be further from the truth. 

    Markets, technology, products, and consumer tastes are all constantly changing. Your marketing strategies need to change and evolve on an ongoing basis, as well. 

    So falling back on buyer personas that are out of date is a recipe for disaster. The pandemic alone changed so much about how people shop, spend money and consume content. 

    Savvy marketers will be keeping an eye on the market, analyzing data, and updating their buyer personas accordingly.

    2. Good buyer personas contain as much information as possible

    This is perhaps one of the most persistent buyer persona myths — the assumption that more is always more when it comes to the information a particular buyer persona might contain. 

    However, it’s essential to understand that while great buyer personas are detailed, the idea isn’t to include as much information as possible without caring whether it’s relevant and valuable. 

    Taking too granular an approach to building a persona is, at best, a waste of your marketing resources and time.

    Instead, focus on crucial details that affect a buyer’s decision-making process regarding spending money and finalizing purchases. 

    For instance, what factors or people influence their buying decisions? How, where, and when do they research and purchase their products? What might inspire the person to complete a purchase with you (or avoid one)?

    3. Buyer personas need names and faces

    By now, every marketer has probably been told a time or two that the key to creating a solid buyer persona in one’s mind is to make it as much like a real person as possible. 

    That means giving the persona a name and sometimes even a face, the better to bring it to life and help it feel real. 

    Well, it’s officially time to add that belief to the growing pile of buyer persona myths.

    The problem with giving a buyer persona a face and a name is that it potentially creates bias

    Bias can lead a marketer to unintentionally overlook potential consumers who might be an excellent fit for a product despite not being exactly like Suzie Homemaker or Bob Banker. 

    Once you form an unconscious idea of who Suzie and Bob are as people, you potentially risk excluding people who don’t look, sound, or present themselves as they do even though they do buy your products.

    4. It’s a good idea to add character traits to your buyer personas

    Speaking of buyer persona myths that concern making your personas too much like real individuals to be truly useful, this is another — confusing character traits with core values and motivations that influence long-term buying decisions. 

    Understanding your audience starts with buyer personas based on the right things and organized accordingly.

    The problem with basing a buyer persona on character traits is that people can (and do) often change as individuals without necessarily losing interest in the brands and products they love. 

    Basing a persona on the wrong things can cause a marketer to lose sight of the big picture — that a customer is effectively trusting their brand to deliver a specific experience

    That decision likely has nothing to do with individual character traits.

    5. Buyer personas are 100 percent fictional

    Don’t make the mistake of confusing your buyer personas with fictional characters. 

    Creating one doesn’t mean putting on your creative writer’s hat before cracking your knuckles and getting to work. 

    So don’t base yours on assumptions you or your marketing team have about your audience and customer base

    The best, most effective personas are based on real consumer behavior. So, at the end of the day, there’s no substitute for actual data when crafting buyer personas that work.

    Take a look at the numbers as to how your customers actually interact with your site once they get there. What does it tell you about who they are and what they’re looking for? 

    Use surveys, feedback forms, and interviews with existing or potential customers to add context to your data. 

    Speak to salespeople, customer service reps, and other members of your team who interact with customers at various points in their buyer’s journey. 

    Then use what you learn to build or finetune your personas to match.

    6. Buyer personas represent only your ideal customers

    Although you will occasionally hear that your personas should only represent your ideal customers, this is another one of those very persistent buyer persona myths. 

    Every company has model customers they love or potential demographics on their wishlist that they’d love to reach. 

    However, the vast majority of your customers will not fit these ideals, so leaving them out of the equation when building your personas is a big mistake.

    Don’t stop at simply interviewing and researching your best customers and most desirable leads. 

    Instead, create a clear picture of your entire customer base by also assessing occasional buyers, prospects who started strong but haven’t converted, and customers who had negative experiences with your company. 

    Personas that cover types of customers that aren’t your ideal, including negative buyer personas, can provide valuable insight into what is and isn’t working with a given marketing campaign.

    7. The more personas you create, the better

    It’s easier than you think to overdo it when creating buyer personas, especially when you have lots of data to work from and you’re on a roll. 

    You naturally know how vital personalized content is, and you want to plan your marketing strategies accordingly. 

    But, before you know it, you’ve unnecessarily over-segmented your customer base and have them sorted into 50 different buckets.

    Every company is different, so there’s no magic number of buyer personas you should be shooting for. But making your personas tediously specific can hurt your efforts more than it helps them. 

    At best, it’s confusing. At worst, it can add up to a massive waste of resources. 

    So don’t overdo it right off the bat. Instead, start slowly with just a couple of personas and create more as needed.

    8. B2B companies don’t need buyer personas

    With so much talk flying around about changing consumer values and customer buying journeys, it’s not surprising that one of the more widespread buyer persona myths says personas are only a B2C thing. 

    Buying into that mindset causes a marketer to lose sight of the fact that B2B clients may be different from everyday consumers, but they are still buyers. 

    So if you don’t understand their unique motivations and needs, you’re losing sales.

    While it’s true that most B2B clients do make extremely rational purchasing decisions based on data, product features, and long-term business benefits, that’s not the whole picture. 

    B2B clients are as human as B2C consumers. That means personal values and emotions play a role in their buyer’s journeys, and well-crafted B2B personas can help you better understand how that works.

    9. Marketers who know their customers don’t need personas

    Remember, buyer personas don’t just benefit new companies and businesses looking to rebrand or tap into entirely new demographics. 

    Personas are about more than simply getting to know your customer. They’re about developing a deeper understanding of their wants, needs, goals, and motivations. 

    It’s definitely possible to know your customers very well but still not understand everything about why they behave as they do when considering a purchase, especially as their needs evolve over time.

    That said, buyer personas have marketing value for businesses of every type and size. 

    Adding them to your marketing repertoire can help keep you from making erroneous assumptions that could lose you customers and ultimately hurt your bottom line or brand reputation

    Keeping them updated on an ongoing basis ensures you know your customers well now and continue to understand them well into the future.

    Wrap Up: Leave Buyer Persona Myths Behind for Good

    Creating incredible buyer personas that genuinely capture the essence of who your clients are and what motivates their purchase decisions is a skill. 

    And like any skill, it can be mastered with enough research, dedication, and practice. 

    Part of that means identifying best practices and persistent buyer persona myths that can hinder success. However, the right tools can help the process considerably, as well.

    Take the next step toward creating better, more accurate buyer personas with our ultimate buyer persona generator

    It takes the guesswork out of creating dynamic custom personas that really work, so you can get to work creating fantastic content and closing sales sooner rather than later.

    Shannon Hilson Rock author vector
    Rock Content Writer

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