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March 19, 2015 // 6:00 AM

What Does a Great Buyer Persona Look Like? Dissecting 3 Real-Life Examples

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Any project you undertake gets easier when you have real examples to guide you -- but it's not always easy to find them. Take buyer personas, for instance. Most companies keep theirs under lock and key, making it really difficult for other marketers to find inspiration and guidance to make their own.

So we decided to help. We spoke with three of our customers to see if they'd share their personas with the world -- and they said yes. Below, we've shared their personas, and dissected why their examples are great. Note the different colors of numbers on each example -- those in orange and red are the must-have elements of a buyer persona; those in blue are nice-to-have features.

Visual Creatives


Inside Visual Creatives' Buyer Persona

1) Semi-Fictional Character 

Visual Creatives has indicated that their buyer persona is typically an agency owner or founder. They've created a generalisation of their ideal customer through analysing their most profitable and loyal customers.

2) Day in Their Life

By thinking about what a day in the life of your persona looks like, you can better understand their challenges and motives. Visual Creatives has done this really well and documented the fact that their persona is struggling for time throughout their day and typically finds the information they need on the web. That indicates that a company should communicate with an agency owner by creating easy-to-find, relevant, and educational content online, rather than by contacting them on the phone or through email.

3) Demographic & Biographic Behaviour

You can see that Visual Creatives has noted the typical age, income, education, and location of their buyer personas -- this is the typical buyer persona demographic information marketers use (but it doesn't have to be the only demographic information you use). Besides giving you a basic understanding of who your ideal customer is, it can be great to have for getting more specific in your advertising targeting. 

4) Persona's Goals

Visual Creatives has done a great job generalising the goals that many agency owners are striving to achieve for their agencies. Knowing your audience's goals and aspirations is crucial -- it helps you better cater your content, product, and services to help them achieve those goals. 

5) Pain Points

In the Challenges section of Visual Creative's persona, they indicate that their agency owner persona is working in the business rather than on the business. This is an issue that many business owners face and dream about being able to do. If Visual Creatives can show its persona how they will be able to make this dream come true, they're going to generate more qualified leads and new customers.

6) Information Search Process

We touched upon this in point number two on "the day in the life" of a persona. However, if we look at this example in more detail, we can see the agency owner is on the phone all day long trying to generate more business. If Visual Creatives tried contacting their persona on the phone, they are going to irritate the persona by taking up valuable selling time -- or might just reach their persona's buyer persona.

It's also important to note that the persona switches off in the evenings after being too busy to contact during business hours -- this means that Visual Creatives needs to be very smart about when and how they contact their persona.

7) Type of Experience Desired

By knowing what your persona generally expects of you once you secure their business, you'll better be able to attract and convert new clients. Visual Creatives know that they will be viewed as an extension to their client's staff and so can position themselves this way to their leads during and after the sales process. 

8) Common Objections

By analysing what the common objections leads have for not signing on the dotted line, you can better prepare a solution to counter them. This will be invaluable to your sales team.

9) Story Format

By writing the overview of your persona's goals up in a story format, it is much easier for everyone in your organisation to think of them and remember their story when creating content or speaking to leads and customers on the phone.

10) Image

As a supplement to the point above, adding an image to your persona makes them more real to everyone within your organisation, making it easier to visualise that persona when they are having conversations or writing content for them. 



Inside HUCACE's Buyer Persona

1) Semi-Fictional Character

HUCACE has created a persona who typically works as a HR Manager, named Tina. Note that she is not a specific person who has bought from them.

2) Day in Their Life

In HR Tina Manager's day, we can see that she is trying to keep up with technological advances and has a decreasing budget. She typically doesn't say "no" to many people -- this means she has a lot to do and often works late.

These are all things that HUCACE can leverage in their marketing messaging. For example, they could offer a product/service/content that helps Tina stay on top of technological advances, tips that help her do her job on a low budget or save her money, and tools that automate some of her job so she can get more things checked off her to-do list.

3) Demographic and Biographic Behaviour

Similar to the above example, HUCACE has demographic info for their persona that they can use in their segmentation and targeting.

4) Persona's Goals

All of the goals that HUCACE have listed for Tina should be considered when creating content or positioning their product/service in a sales conversation. HUCACE should look for related keywords with the highest search volume and create content around those keywords to attract more Tinas to their website. 

5) Pain Points

As with Tina's goals, HUCACE should have the same strategy in place for her challenges. You can see above that she is concerned with hiring top talent, predicting job performance, and employee engagement. By knowing what her challenges are and how their product or service can help her solve them, they'll be more able to capture her attention.

6) Information Search Process

Tina researches information online and chats with her colleagues to discover best practices. This means that she could be influenced by social proof, so HUCACE should think about how they could use things like testimonials, social media, and referral programs to drive conversions.

7) Type of Experience Desired

Tina wants a vendor she can work with that is extremely flexible to her needs and she wants to feel part of the process. She also wants to buy from a reliable brand that offers stellar customers service. By researching this, HUCACE knows that this is important to their persona and can shape their marketing and sales process accordingly. 

8) Common Objections

In this example, Tina's challenges are the same reasons she will tell HUCACE she can't sign the contract for new business. Her senior management isn't convinced of the value she brings, and she is short on budget as a result. Something HUCACE can do to help alleviate this issue is to create a piece of content that is targeted at her boss and demonstrates the value of improving Tina's job. This content will be really valuable to your sales team, too, since they'll need to pull in the decision-maker at some point.

9, 10 & 11) Story Format, Memorable Name & Image

Like we mentioned above, having a story format and a memorable name makes Tina seem more real to your organization.

Fourdiaz Vargas


Inside Fourdiaz Vargas' Buyer Persona

1) Semi-Fictional Character

Fourdiaz Vargas has done their research and found their ideal customer is a business owner -- they call him Walter.

2) Day in Their Life

We know that Walter has a lot of pride in his business because he grew up in it. He is really concerned with growing the business and is open to trying new things to ensure that he does. When creating their marketing messaging for Walter, Fourdiaz Vargas should consider the emotional factor in order to appeal to him. 

3) Demographic & Biographic Behaviour

As with the above example, Fourdiaz Vargas has demographic information for their persona. It may not always be the most illuminating for content development, but it is useful for segmentation once they're actually promoting the content they create.

4) Persona's Goals

Growth in sales and the business overall is this persona's number one goal. He wants to be number one in his industry -- so Fourdiaz Vargas needs to position themselves and their offering as the solution that is going to help him do this.

5) Pain Points

Walter lacks marketing skills and doesn't have time to spend outside of running the business. Fourdiaz Vargas will need to act as an extension of the family and build up trust so that Walter will spend money on their marketing services. A cold, corporate company with no compassion for the little guy will never secure Walter's business.

6) Information Search Process

Walter shops online via his desktop -- he is not so mobile savvy -- and he attends networking events and conferences. Because they put together this persona, Fourdiaz Vargas knows that to get his attention and start building that trust, they will need to be present at these events as well as online. Walter is also on Facebook, so if Fourdiaz Vargas is investing in some paid content amplification, they should be using Facebook to target people like Walter using their Lookalike Audiences and other targeting options.

7) Type of Experience Desired  

Walter wants to create a legacy and a successful business he can pass on to his children. The key word there is successful -- he doesn't want to burden his next generation with the woes of a business. To do that, he's looking for help from a team of experts -- so Fourdiaz Vargas needs to ensure that they are seen as the experts in their industry.

8) Common objections

The objection Fourdiaz Vargas has outlines is that Walter wants innovation. So if they can't bring any new ideas to the table then they won't be able to secure Walter's business.

9 & 10) Story format & Image

Though this is technically an "above and beyond" step to developing a buyer persona, the story format and the image make this example easy to read and remember.

Now that you've seen what a great buyer persona looks like once documented, making your own is going to be easy as pie. Not only do you have the examples above, but you can also use our new free tool to generate your buyer persona into a handy little Word document that you can edit and add to later. Check out our MakeMyPersona tool here

free buyer persona generator


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