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The Importance of Buyer Personas…And Tacos!

Megan Kukowski

Just because you build it…

That good ol’ saying is only applicable if you’re planning to run a free pizza and Nutella stand…if you build that not only will they come, but we will too.

Unless that’s your brilliant business plan, it’s imperative you know your target audience. Know it, memorize it, live, eat and breathe it. It should be in the back of your mind at all times and should mold everything you do as a marketer to attract more, high-quality leads.

Most people agree that knowing who your customers are is important, but what trips most businesses up is the process of attaching a specific buyer persona(s) to their product or service. Thinking you appeal to everyone and marketing to everyone isn’t going to cut it anymore. We applaud your optimism, but we hope you’ll allow us to gently lead you back to reality. You may have more than one persona, but very few, if any businesses are ideal for everyone.

A really important strategy is to put a detailed face with a target. For example, say I own Paco’s Tacos. The buyer persona for Paco’s Tacos isn’t simply ‘people who like tacos.’ How am I supposed to tailor my messaging, platforms and products to ‘people who like tacos?’ Instead, the buyer persona for Paco’s Tacos should be something like this:

Name: Mark
Age: 24, millennial
Occupation: Electrician
Salary: $35K
Hobbies: Video games and motocross
Relationship status: Single
Kids: None
Issues/causes important to them: Gun control, WWF

It may seem silly to get so specific, but these are the characteristics that, while not all directly-related to your product, will help you decipher who your current and potential customers are, so you can market to them by what’s important to them. For example, because my persona, Mark, enjoys motocross, I may consider a sponsorship in a local competition or an ad in a popular online motocross magazine.

How do you decide what your persona looks like? There are multiple ways to go about it, but these are a few we recommend and unfortunately it does require a bit of homework on your part. We know, what a drag…but we think you’ll enjoy the ROI for targeting your advertising to those who have the best chance of not only seeing it, but appreciating it.


1. Probably the simplest and most effective strategies: Look at your and your competitors’ customers. Who are they? Can you find any trends that you could take advantage of?

An extremely simplified example would be if I did a tally at Paco’s Tacos of how many females versus males came through the door every day for a week. If 380/500 customers were male, that says something important about my buyer persona, especially if I’d been previously advertising in a local beauty publication.

Another great way to learn about your current cliental is by looking for trends within your website and/or Facebook traffic. We can help with this if you’re not sure where to start.


2. You’re a new business? Create a survey to feature on Facebook, your website or in your business. Ask questions vital to nailing down a persona and offer a chance at a gift certificate or something similar to entice them to fill it out. Paco’s Tacos might ask, in addition to general demographics:

“How many times (if any) have you eaten at Paco’s Tacos?”

“What kind of deals, promotions or coupons entice you to act?”

“What’s your favorite publication? (Online or print)”

“Do you frequently check the nutritional content before purchasing food?”

“What social media platforms do you utilize the most?”

Some things to remember about these surveys:

  • Open-ended questions may get you more specific answers, but multiple choice questions are much easier and faster to report and draw conclusions from, so it’s best to have a combination determined by your time/analyzation capabilities.
  • There’s a chance your survey results in a number of respondents who don’t fit your buyer persona but are simply seeking a free gift card. These people will help you define your ‘negative personas,’ which in the end are almost as useful. Just be sure you have a distinguishing question such as, “On a scale of 1-5, how much do you enjoy fast-food Mexican restaurants?” So you can separate the leads from the non-leads.


3. Host a focus group of those you think would fit the bill. This could help you not only confirm your target audience, but also teach you extremely valuable information about them. Again, incentivize them to participate by feeding them dinner or giving them a gift card for their time. You could gain some incredible insights from these willing participants, but only if you have the questions, setup and documentation capabilities to get the most out of the session.

Ask them what they think of your brand, what they would change, what’s important to them in your business’ sector as a whole. Get as much out of them as you can in an hour or two, and record it! You can only write so many notes, and having documentation to review will allow you to go back and clarify down the road.


You’re officially on your way to having the accurate who, what, where, when and why of your current and potential customers. Once you’re confident in it; draw a caricature, frame it and buy it a beer because they just became your best friend!