We tend to get some funny looks from people when we say that writing fiction prepared us well for marketing. That’s not because marketing and advertising is always fiction. In fact, the most effective and beneficial marketing is cut-and-dried truth, as detailed as you can get. As storytellers, however, we tend to see things in a more…“creative” light. That means we do our best to convey that truth in fun, touching, and even scary ways, so that buyers connect with the material.
Fiction vs. Reality
Where fiction writing really comes into practice is during the creation of buyer personas. Imagine, if you will, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. What comes to mind? Now, eliminate all of those things you just thought that could fall under the category of “stereotype.” See, it’s important to flesh out these buyers and really discover their motivations, just as a writer might do with a character in a book.
In fact, we work from buyer persona worksheets that look very much like a character development worksheet, where we determine a particular buyer type’s age; income, geographic location, familial situation, the way they spend their money on fun, convenience, and necessities; and maybe even what kind of car they might drive. Not so much the brand of car, but in general, what type of car would appeal to this type of person?
We don’t know many Fortune 500 CEOs, so we have to research, study, and, yes, make things up. We also have to make sure that our profile is general enough to encompass a large number of similar buyers while also being specific enough to know what type of content will reach them.
How We Learn Our Buyer Personas
One of my favorite things to do is people watch, and I can do that anywhere. Sitting in a restaurant, resting my feet after walking for what seems like miles at the mall, I sometimes apply a different story or character for every person, couple, or family I see. Depending on the body language of a group of people, I decide which one is the leader, the comic relief, the snob, or the goody-goody. As brand storytellers, we do the same now in a professional capacity in content marketing.
When working on a buyer persona, I take some time to really watch my target audience. Fortunately, the Internet can tell us anything we want to know. If we’re working on a buyer persona for Fortune 500 CEOs, we can pull up interviews, videos, social media accounts, and news stories in just a few seconds. Studying several of these buyers, we begin to see patterns emerge. Smaller details may not be the same for everyone, but we do start to get a sense of their income levels, their family situations, and even the general locations where these buyers are concentrated.
We can do the same for C-level women, hard-working single moms, teens and college students… Whatever “characters” we need to profile, we can do so with a little bit of research. We can even profile businesses to help one company reach another for those B2B selling situations.
What really sets us apart from other companies that practice buyer persona development is that we have years of experience in making things up. Of course, you know I mean “creatively” doing what everyone else does. We’ve got imaginations for days and days, which helps us develop fuller, deeper, more meaningful buyer personas so that we can develop fuller, deeper, more meaningful marketing content to reach them.
Want to know how that all works? Reach out any time. We’re here to help.