How to improve sales and marketing during an event? Build a Buyer Persona!

- Eventory Blog


How to improve sales and marketing during an event? Build a Buyer Persona!



In today’s market companies focus their actions on defining specific needs of the prospects. A Buyer Persona, often associated with sales departments only, can be now named the best method to increase sales. Used in the event planning process can significantly improve its effectiveness and therefore contribute to better sale effects. Why is it worth to use Buyer Personas while planning an event? How to do it to improve sales? If you want to know, keep reading.   

It’s not a surprise anymore that even the big companies start to see the profits that come with implementing events to their business strategies. Events contribute to the accomplishment of the strategic goals and, what is more, are objectively easy to measure. While organizing the events alone can boost the company’s performance, managers should still think how to improve sales and marketing and make events even more profitable.

While organizing (or attending) an event, thanks to having a well-planned marketing strategy you have a clear purpose. You know why you do the event, it’s not just a blind making money anymore. You put all this effort to fulfill a specified need – like a generation of X leads or raising brand awareness. To make sure that it will work for you – the key is to target the actions to the right people. While simply doing the market research may look sufficient, building a Buyer Persona is a way to give your whole company’s operation the right (more relevant and efficient) direction.

What actually is a Buyer Persona?

You may ask “why do you need to bother yourself with yet another target group analysis?” After all, you’re not an amateur. You know, more or less, who buy your products and your promotion worked good so far. Right, but the key is to determine the exact profile of the person that you want to attract.

Basically, that’s what a Buyer Persona is. The term’s definitions are rather consistent. It’s a semi-fictional portrayal of your ideal customer. Done taking into a consideration the market information and real data that you already have. Long story short, you take all the vital information about the dream customer you’d like to have (age, position, incomes, and so on) and put it all together to create your perfect “average Joe” of your industry.

If you still can’t imagine how this all works, let’s try with an example. A Buyer Persona for a regular coffee shop would be a Jane or Joe, aged 20-45, who enjoy a quiet time with the top quality coffee. This person would pop into the store mostly in evenings to calm down after a long day at work and prefer traditional interiors.

In comparison, Starbucks could define its BP as a person who also loves a cup of coffee, but don’t want to spend hours drinking it. Such a customer would show up at Starbucks at any time.  See? The same product but this quick brainstorm let distinguish the ideal customer profiles. Now, when you get an idea, I want to introduce you to yet another term.

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What is a Marketing Persona and is it really the same thing as a Buyer Persona??

Sometimes, going through specialistic marketing and business content you can spot a term Marketing Persona. Trying to define it, you could eventually come to the conclusion that it’s a Buyer Persona but named differently. And that’s in a way true, but there are nuances that can diversify those two things.

Marketing Persona is a full profile of a receiver of a company’s promotional activity. While preparing such persona, you want to gather general demographic information but also create a coherent set of characteristics that will later help you adjust your marketing strategies to increase sales (and the effectiveness of promotion).

Now, comparing two terms we can either state that they’re equal and mean the same. More accurately, you can say that Marketing Persona is Buyer Persona but upgraded with information such as:

  • What is the target’s resilience to the promotional message
  • What media does target prefer?
  • Where do they look for information about new products?
  • What is the most appealing for them? And so on.

Building a Buyer Persona – a tool of many marketing strategies to improve sales and more!

Regardless of the name you use to describe it, creating a semi-fictional character that represents your company’s ideal target group can significantly benefit for its performance.

Firstly, a Buyer Persona is something to refer to while planning your company promotion. You know what are the core characteristics of your message receiver (or let’s call it – your prospect). Having such a profile to look at any time you need, you can always come back to your target group definition. Therefore, not only can you adjust actions specifically to target’s preferences but also constantly make all the activities coherent.

Secondly, knowing what your ideal customer values, you prepare the end product in a way entirely connected to the prospect’s needs. You could say that your company already does that but, believe me, a Buyer Persona will help you not forget about the core requirements and maintain the usability of your offer. Therefore, the sales will automatically increase and profits will rise.

Comparing just those two main benefits of preparing Marketing/ Buyer Persona for your business you can already see that it can help your performance and minimize the possibility of missing the target while planning the promotion. But there’s more – detailed profile of your company’s dream client can also support other tools of a marketing strategy.

Why do you need a Buyer Persona for event planning purposes?

When thinking about Buyer Persona and its benefits, people normally have in mind sales department. While the assumption is perfectly correct, a buyer profile can be a vital element of almost every planning process in a company. The same applies to the process of planning an event.

Building Buyer Personas will help you initiate the whole process

Organizing an event is a demanding and exhausting task. Definitely, the end effect is worth the effort in the end, but the key is to have good foundations. To start and direct the process in the right direction. One of the things that will help you kickstart a complex process of planning the event is really knowing your target audience.

A good plan for the whole event undertaking is the key to an efficient process which eventually leads to a success. With the precise knowledge of your perfect event audience, you can outline its profile. Participants give the event its purpose and determine how it will look like.

To fully understand your potential (and dream) audience you need to research its needs, habits, and demographics. Did you notice something? If not, I’m here to tell you – these are exact contains of a Buyer Persona profile.

Prepare it using the data you already have or gather the information from your experience and performed surveys. Determine what’s your goal and who can help you achieve it, with the clear and systematized target profile it should be much easier and accurate. This way, the whole organization process will be coherent and aimed at the specified group of people that you want to attract. People who will contribute to better results.

Example: Thanks to your Buyer Persona, you now know that the attendee of your dream is an ambitious, conscious representative of Millennials. It turned out, during the analysis, that this group value a strong bond with the brand, care for the environment. How can this help? From the very beginning, you can plan the event using the CSR and Employer Branding techniques and motives. You know you’ll win your target’s hearts.

Use Buyer Persona to support your event promotion

One of the parts of an event planning process is choosing the right way to promote it. Good marketing strategies, to increase sales and achieve goals, have this part buttoned up to make sure event fulfill its mission. How to decide what will work best for you? Once again the answer is an ideal buyer profile.

A Buyer Persona is a clear representation of those who you want to receive your message. You have their characteristics, desires, and information of the preferences – all in one place. Therefore, it can positively contribute to the efficiency of your promotional campaigns by making it easier to choose the right form of it.

First of all, building Buyer Personas lets you choose what your communication should look like. The tone of the message is important when it comes to attracting the right audience – it makes it more personal. Then there’s an aspect of the appropriate promotion channels. You have to choose the right way to transmit the message.

Also, a well-prepared Buyer Persona gives you an insight into your dream target’s behavior. Knowing it, you can determine where you should reach potential attendees. Do they prefer email communication or are you more keen to Facebook and social media promotion? With a Buyer Persona, you’ll also know what values you should expose (and apply) while promoting your event. Therefore you will offer what your target is looking for and what is appealing for them.

Example: Your Buyer Persona profile told you that a perfect attendee of your event loves to spend hours on Facebook? Great, now you go launch that fancy Facebook campaign and save money on billboards. Do they follow celebrities words? Promote your event with a help of social media influencers.

Attracting the right audience to the event is the best way to increase sales. With Buyer Personas on your side, you make sure that the adequate promotion will reach people you want to host.

Building Buyer Personas makes it easier to prepare an event itself

An event planning process is also about taking care of event attractions and its profile. A Buyer Persona presents all key preferences and needs of your dream audience group. It will allow you to adjust the core parts of an event and as an effect, boost the attendees’ experience and satisfaction.

Knowing the desired audience is vital to start the planning process in terms of matching it to the target’s characteristics. Here, it also helps to plan the actual event. Buyer Personas help with choosing the venue (and every event organizer knows that venue search is not an easy task), obtaining partners, organizing attractions that will provide unconventional experience and much more.

Need an example? Let’s assume that your company is about to start a recruitment campaign. You need to hire talents to IT departments. You know that events can make wonders when it comes to attracting potential employees, so you go that way. Now, you have an image of your ideal candidate but rather blurred one. Do your Buyer Persona to clear that view.

Example: You have a Buyer Persona. It turns out that they like to carry a job search on informal networking parties – then you can book the venue that your prospects find attractive and adjust the style to the preferences. Find out whether they like face to face interactions or a more open way to network nd provide them with opportunities. I guarantee you – the results will be much better than launching a job fair without a Buyer Persona.

Buyer Personas improve marketing relevance

I could be listing the reasons why you need a Buyer Persona while planning an event but it all comes down to one main benefit. This marketing method provides companies with the (more or less) fixed image of the person they address their actions to. Therefore, when knowing who is the aim, they manage to keep the cohesion of marketing strategies to improve sales and marketing on top quality.

When comparing all the operations in the event planning process to the already built Buyer Persona, companies fit every point of it to the person specified in the profile. This, when done correctly, significantly raises the relevance of applied solutions. As an effect – an event gathers the right people, is adjusted to what they like. In the end, it brings the desired profit and contributes to the achievement of set goals as modern customers value customized actions.

Building a Buyer Personas let you provide the customer with a feeling that the product, service or attractions are prepared directly for them. Therefore, the perception of a brand is better and the profits rise. Also, the higher relevance of actions contributes to better budget spending.

Example: Red Bull is the best example of using Buyer Personas to make marketing actions relevant. They know they market to active people. Therefore, they don’t waste money on organizing mixers for heartbroken souls or archeological diggings. Instead, they sponsor an unconventional indie festival or throw speed dating while parachuting or jumping off the cliff.

What can happen when you skip building Buyer Personas step?

More and more companies notice the importance of portraying the perfect customer (or an attendee, when it comes to events). However, often we can observe how some might underestimate it. There are firms that assume they know their target and don’t bother writing it down and analyzing it. This may lead to further loss of resources.

A vivid example of such an approach can be a GAP. The Company in 2010 showed to the world its brand new logo. But nothing was right about it. The public went mad, the industry pointed it out as a huge mistake. And it was true – GAP went back to its old logo six days later. What happened? They assumed that the traditional, some might say boring, logo no longer fits the market. But they didn’t realize that their (and their customers’) value was the tradition associated with the old logo. See, this situation could be probably avoided with basic target group analysis and without it turned out to be a great loss of money and brand value.

The same applies to organize an event. You shouldn’t change the whole meeting formula just because something is a trend. First, you need to check if your dream attendees will enjoy that and it’s something that fits their habits.

How to build Buyer Personas that will drive more sales during the events

The question of how to improve sales and marketing can sometimes give the sleepless nights to sales representatives and marketing managers around the world. The same question can be asked when it comes to events – how to make a full use of them and generate as many leads as possible. One of the answers to this question could be, guess it or no, building Buyer Personas.

Now, building Buyer Personas for an event can slightly vary from doing it for the regular business purposes. The difference will lie only in the data you want to achieve. To get down to the personas making you should know how to get the information. You have about three options here:

  • Rely on your already existing data – analyze the history of closed deals, previous event attendees, and obtained leads to create an image of customer who wants your product. You can reach for data generated on FB profiles, Google Analytics, industry reports or even information about previous events, and so.
  • Run a Survey – you can either buy such data from the professional company or, if you have any ongoing events, use an application (such as Eventory) to find out what attendees would have interest in your company’s service. Also, you can implement scanning mechanisms such as QR codes to find those interested in a product. Then, make a profile.
  • Ask the right people – last but not least, you can ask your employees how they see their perfect prospect. Sales managers, Customer service – it’s also for their benefit to have this sorted out so they’ll be willing to help you.

Just to be clear, you don’t have to choose one method from mentioned above. To be honest, it’s best to use data from different sources. When you have that, we can move to create your Buyer Persona for an event.

Step #1 Define core demographics

The first step of building Buyer Personas process is to gather the basic information of your target. The demographic research you want to run should cover characteristics such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Incomes
  • Location
  • Occupation and so on.

Preparing an ideal customer profile for an event situation you should broaden the range with specifics like industry they work for, what is their decision-making capacity (sure every lead is good, but you should aim at those who can actually buy your product), what is their job title, how high in company’s  hierarchy they are.

To make the whole process easier, before you start determining a Buyer Persona you aim for, think through what information will be vital. Then, prepare certain questions and answer them. Also, don’t be surprised when it turns out that you can determine a couple of different segments. It’s a perfectly normal scenario that means you’ll have to diversify your actions.

Demographics will be the core of your Buyer Personas, just the sketch. Now, it’s time to ask more complex questions.

Step #2 Analyze the behavior and motives of your Buyer Personas

To generate more leads during the event it’s crucial to understand mechanisms that drive your dream customers to notice the product. Only then will you be able to conduct the event in a way that will ensure the high lead conversion.

In this step of building Buyer Personas, you need to evaluate the potential of individual segments (it may turn out that some are unprofitable enough to even think about investing in them). Moreover, you need to determine their real needs, what they look for in a product, whether they’re quick buyers or need more time and their decision making process makes them just warm leads and so on. Exemplary questions to get the information, in this case, could be:

  • What he/she values in the service/product?
  • What contact does he/she prefer?
  • How my ideal customer gather the information before buying the product?
  • What does the buying process look like?

Step #3 Choose the perfect profile and combine all the information in one

Having the information needed, put it all together. At this point, you should already determine the characteristics you don’t want to see in your prospect and have inaccurate segments crossed out. What you do now is systematizing the information in one profile.

A good idea would be to have a special template for this purpose. A simple, clear, one-page document will be handy to hand out. Also, everyone in the company needs to understand it so making sure that it’s user-friendly and logical is vital in this case. Later you can always reuse the template for another Buyer Personas you’ll need in future.

Step #4 Apply the Buyer Persona at the event

Congratulations, you created your very own Buyer Persona to get you fresh and hot leads at an event. However, don’t get over – excited with the process itself and remember that you need to use it!

Knowing the preferences and characteristics of your ideal customers you need to create a perfect “buying” environment for them. Firstly, plan the promotional communication in accordance with what they like. Your Buyer Persona profile says your prospects prefer social media over emails, but don’t trust Instagram? Right, throw a promotional campaign on Facebook to reach them.

Then, prepare an event that will fit the target needs. You determined that a customer of your dreams is a middle-aged CEO who hates do deals with strangers at job fairs. Launch a networking party where you’ll be able to approach those profile “Joes” and win their heart with a friendly chat about what your company has to offer.

Building a Buyer Personas for winning leads at events is vital, but you have to use it properly to see the effects. Speaking of effects…

Reminder: Measure how building a Buyer Persona boosted your sales

Measuring the impact of events on the business used to be hard, or even impossible sometimes. However, it’s important to evaluate whether it contributed to your goal achievement or not. Especially, when this goal is improving the sales.

In this particular case, we aim at lead generation. Sure it’s good that we have our perfect customer profile with us, but you need to be able to count warm, hot and even cold leads you obtained. Just to make sure a Buyer Persona did the trick.

So, the first way is to just keep a track in a traditional way. Have a dedicated spreadsheet with you and simply type every interested individual there. Another traditional method would be to prepare an application form and count its number after the event.

You can also do it more innovative. Arm yourself with event mobile application and scan the attendees QR codes when they approach you. The system will count the leads for you. You can also try installing beacons to find out how many prospects approached you. Also, this solution will enable you to have all the new contacts in one place – you just become friends in an application. Such function, among many others, is provided by Eventory, but you can use Social Media profiles for this purpose as well.

Regardless of what’s your method, find out whether the struggle of building Buyer Personas was worth it.

Wrap Up

Summing up everything I said above, no matter how you call this method, Marketing or Buyer Personas can help you hit the right spot with the event you’re planning. Determined profile of the perfect customer can firstly help you prepare an event that will drive your sales, then choose the right promotion which will ensure you have your prospects at the event. Next, last but not least, it will let you conduct the event in a way that will generate the leads for you.

Building a Buyer Personas is a complex process that requires information from (preferably) many sources. You can rely on your own knowledge and needs, ask those who work directly with your customer or simply gather external info. The contains of the Buyer Profile should apply to the matters of:

  • Demographics
  • Habits and mechanisms of a target group
  • Tendencies the target group have

With the profile prepared you can adjust every aspect of the event planning process, and the event itself, in a way that will support your efforts to increase the number of sales. It will simply make your sale and marketing performance more relevant.

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And how it looks in your business? Do you use Marketing or Buyer Personas? Share your thoughts!