Why it’s Necessary to Develop Negative Buyer Personas

2019/05/03 08:00

negative buyer personas

Creating negative buyer personas can help you fine-tune your marketing strategies.

Making sure that you’re speaking to the right types of customers is a key element in creating and successfully executing a marketing strategy. In a way, identifying your ideal (and not so ideal) customers is a lot like dating. You need to know about the characteristics that are not a good fit for you just as much as you want to outline exactly what you’re looking for in a partner.

The Basics of Negative Buyer Personas

Overall, a buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer that is built on real data as well as general market research. Buyer personas help brands to describe their ideal customers so that they can create marketing strategies and campaigns that will appeal to them.

Also known as exclusionary personas, negative buyer personas are the opposite of your ideal customers. Negative buyer personas ensure that brands know which types of customers are not an ideal fit for them and could potentially eat away at their budgets.

How Negative Buyer Personas Benefit Marketers

Here are just a few of the ways that negative buyer personas can benefit your marketing efforts.

  • Flag inappropriate prospects

Marketing teams encounter failed customers all the time but by creating negative buyer personas, your team will be able to identify a bad fit much sooner. Negative personas are a checklist of sorts that help marketers, and even sales teams, to be more efficient at their jobs.

  • Optimise existing buyer personas

Developing negative buyer personas can also be learning process, particularly if your business is just starting out or if you haven’t looked at your existing buyer personas for some time. By discovering more about the types of customers that aren’t a good fit, you may find that you need to refine your existing buyer personas too. Very often, buyer personas need to change based on the current stage of your business and the products or services that you’re offering, which is why creating negative personas is one of the best ways to optimise your existing personas.

  • Revaluate your products

Negative buyer personas can tell you a lot about where your products or services might be failing certain audiences. Recognising where you may be going wrong not only allows you to offer something better to existing customers but it could also uncover potential market opportunities. This is not to say that you should adapt your products and services for every market though – your product won’t be for everyone.

  • Optimise your messaging

Once you start refining who you should be speaking to, it becomes easier to create campaigns and messaging that speaks directly to those people. Creating negative buyer personas is a great way to optimise your existing campaigns and create stronger campaigns in the future.

Creating Your First Negative Persona

The first step in creating a negative buyer persona is to know who you want to target. Without having a clear picture of the customers you want to target, it’s almost impossible to get an idea of the people you don’t want to reach.

Next, arrange a brainstorming session with any teams who have contact with customers. Brief the teams beforehand so that they know what information they need to bring to the table. You will be surprised at the different insights that you will gather from different departments and how that can change both your existing and negative buyer personas.

Now you can move onto past and existing customers as well as leads. Your former customers can be a wealth of information as they can provide you with exact details on why they decided to stop being a customer. Not all customers and leads will want to be interviewed and many of them won’t want to speak over the phone, so you may want to decide if sending out a survey over email is a better option.

You will now have the information you need to start creating your negative buyer personas. Start with the basics such as demographics and location before you move onto specifics such as goals and challenges.

Look at the information that you have about customers who turned out not to be a good fit for your business and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What were their goals and how did your business fail to meet them?
  • How difficult was it to acquire and manage this customer and why?
  • What was the customer’s biggest complaint or pain point?
  • Is there a specific reason why this customer was not profitable?
  • Were there any specific signs that stood out during your dealings with this customer?

You will very quickly notice a few trends as you go through this list of questions, which will help you develop one or several negative buyer personas.

Creating negative buyer personas does take resources as well as time and effort but the benefits of creating them are clear. Along with knowing exactly who you shouldn’t be speaking to, marketers will also have additional insights that will help them develop stronger campaigns and content for their ideal customers.

In a world where customers demand a highly personalised experience, there has never been a better time to develop negative buyer personas.