Persona Market Research 101: Understanding Your Audience Inside Out

May 17, 2024

ViB Editorial Team


Topics we'll cover

Imagine throwing a massive marketing campaign without knowing who your target audience is. It’s like firing arrows in the dark, hoping one might hit the mark. Unfortunately, that’s the reality for many B2B businesses.

Marketing is all about understanding your audience. What motivates them? What are their challenges? Why would they choose you over the competition? 

If you can’t answer these questions, it’s time to execute a detailed persona market research.

Persona market research isn’t just about knowing your clients’ demographics. It’s about knowing them inside out to truly understand your ideal customer.

So why is understanding your audience so vital?

The B2B landscape is viciously competitive. This means a “one-size-fits-all” vanilla approach simply doesn’t work. To stand out from the crowd, you need to know your audience and tailor your USPs to their needs.

Understanding your audience is vital because it allows you to:

Target your marketing effectively

Knowing your ideal customer’s habits and preferred channels allows you to focus your efforts where they’ll be seen. What’s the use of trying to engage with your customers on Instagram when they don’t use that channel?

This saves time and money compared to a scattered approach.

Craft messages that speak to your audience

When you tailor your message to your audience’s needs and interests, it increases the chances they’ll connect with it. Imagine explaining complex financial concepts to children versus adults – the language and approach would be entirely different.

Personalized and relevant marketing messages can help you drive your audience through the customer buying journey.

Boost conversions

When you understand your customer’s buying journey and decision-making process, you can match your products and services to their pain points. This will make it more likely for those prospects to convert into paying customers 💰.

For example, businesses that have clear buyer personas can boost their revenue by 5.4 times. Plus they are more likely to exceed their targets by 2.7 times.

Retain customers

The key to understanding your customers is loyalty! Buyer personas unlock their wants and needs. 

With this knowledge, you can personalize the experience and create loyalty programs that appeal to your target market. Happy customers return, recommend you to others, and fuel your business growth.

Research shows that businesses that use clearly defined market research personas see a 14.6% average customer retention rate.

Reduce overall marketing spend

By targeting the right people with the right message, you’ll waste less money on irrelevant marketing efforts.  Knowing your audiences helps you prioritize spending and find the right media mix.

Imagine creating the type of content that your ideal customer never engages with- that’s a wasted budget.

There’s an easy way to get guaranteed (and targeted) leads to your webinars, on repeat.

The process of creating marketing research personas

Creating targeted marketing campaigns for your ideal customers boosts engagement and sales. Understanding your target market as real people helps craft focused messaging that truly connects.

Implementing an ongoing market research persona as part of your process is vital as markets evolve, ensuring accurate reflection of your audience.

Discover a detailed roadmap for crafting accurate market research personas with ease:

1. Mining customer data

Your existing customer base is a goldmine of information. Here’s how you can get valuable insights from it:

  • Behavior Patterns: Assess how customers discover your brand. You can look at website traffic sources, content engagement metrics, and form-fill journeys. Many analytics tools can help you identify patterns in user behavior.

  • Lead Capture Forms: When creating forms, you should include relevant fields that can help segment your audience. For example, if your product serves businesses of different sizes, you can capture company-size data to learn what each segment needs.


2. Gathering team insights

Your sales team engages with customers daily. Utilize their insights effectively. Arrange discussions with the team to understand customer profiles and common issues.
Extra Tip: Leverage call recordings and data monitoring for easy access to customer insights by other teams, especially marketing.

3. Perform customer research

Interviews and surveys are two very effective ways to help you gather customer data:

  • Interviews: In-depth interviews can help you learn which ones of your products and services the customers like or don’t like. Through interviews, you can ask about their lives, their pain points, and what drives them. What are their online habits and where do they go for information?
  • Surveys: It’s a good idea to design surveys to gather data on demographics, preferences, and customer pain points. Tools like ViB Deal Intent can help you make and send surveys easily. You can then check the responses to find out trends and common themes.
  • Focus Groups: Convene a select group of target customers through a video conference for a moderated discussion. This approach enables you to observe group dynamics and acquire deeper insights into their perceptions, needs, and motivations beyond what individual interviews or surveys can provide.
Graph of intent data points collected as part of ViB Deal Intent's unique zero-party data collection approach

4. Assess and create personas

Once you have the data, you can work on creating a compelling story:

  • Persona profiles: Use your research to create detailed profiles for each persona. Make sure to include demographics, behaviors, goals, and challenges.
  • Tell a story: Don’t just list facts and figures. You need to craft a narrative that brings your persona to life, showing their interests and behaviors.


Also remember: Businesses often have several customer segments, so create multiple personas. You should also review and update your persona as your business and customers evolve.

Thumbnail of ViB B2B Marketing Trends Report

Discover the latest trends and statistics — and the key actions B2B marketers and leaders need to take today. 

Online market research tools that power up your persona development

Customer personas thrive on rich details, and online research is a goldmine for those details. Here’s how online tools can help you create your persona:

User behavior analytic tools

Tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Crazy Egg can shed light on how visitors interact with your website or app. What pages do they visit? How long do they stay? 

By analyzing user journeys and clickstream data, you can identify patterns preferences, and engagement levels of specific pages. This helps you understand conversion funnels and identify drop-off points where potential customers might be getting frustrated

Social media behavior tools

Social media platforms are goldmines of customer sentiment and behavior. You can use social media tools like Sprout Social, Brandwatch, and Buzzsumo to listen in on conversations and discover what your audience is talking about and what their sentiments are.

These tools also allow you to analyze competitor social media engagement to gain insights into their target personas and messaging strategies.

Survey tools

Survey tools like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, and Google Forms are a direct way to gather in-depth customer opinions and feedback. These tools allow you to craft targeted surveys to gain valuable insights into your audience’s demographic needs and challenges.

They can also help you discover what motivates your customers and what factors influence their purchasing decisions.

Competitor analysis tools

Understanding your competitors is essential for crafting unique personas. Competitor analysis tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and the social listening tool of HubSpot help you analyze your competitors’ target audiences and marketing strategies.

They do this by revealing competitor website traffic demographics and interests, providing insights into their ideal customer base. They also show you how your competitors interact with their audience on social media platforms.

The best part is that they show you how customers perceive your competitors by analyzing online reviews and testimonials.

Industry reports tools

Industry reports from platforms like ViB Research, Gartner Research, and Forrester Research offer valuable data and insights into market trends, customer behavior, and competitor activity.

Tools like ViB Research can also take a research report and transform it into various types of content to appeal to different groups of people. This could include blogs, whitepapers, press releases, infographics, eBooks, emails, and other formats.

Online forum and influencer marketing tools

Online forums and influencer marketing platforms, like Reddit and Upfluence, can help B2B marketers discover niche audiences. You can analyze forum discussions to understand their specific needs, challenges, and preferred communication styles. 

You can also identify influential figures within these communities who align with your brand’s values. By interacting with both the communities and influencers, you gain valuable insights and discover potential customers who are already primed to connect with your brand.

Persona research model comparison

Persona market research involves two main approaches to help you understand your ideal customer better: in-person and online market research

While both methods can help you uncover valuable customer insights, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. We will cover them in detail here:

Comparing the advantages of in-person and online market Research

When weighing the benefits of traditional in-person market research against the convenience of online methods, it’s crucial to consider various aspects.

Let’s delve into the advantages of both approaches to understand which one best suits your research needs.

In-person research

Online research

1. Gain richer insights through body language cues and nonverbal communication.

1. Gather data from a wider, more diverse audience, reaching geographically dispersed groups.

2. Ask follow-up questions to clarify understanding and uncover hidden motivations.

2. Conduct research quickly and cost-effectively, gathering a large volume of data in a short time frame.

3. Encourage open and honest sharing through rapport building and a more natural conversation flow.

3. Analyze large datasets to identify trends and commonalities across a broad customer base.

4. Observe group dynamics and interactions in focus groups.

4. Easily track participant responses and completion rate.

Best Practices for in-person & online research

Best Practices for in-person research

When it comes to conducting in-person market research, following best practices is crucial for gathering valuable insights.

  • Careful participant selection: Recruit participants that accurately reflect your target audience, considering demographics, backgrounds, and buying behaviors.
  • Targeted surveys: Design surveys with clear questions tailored to your specific research objectives. Segment your audience to ensure questions are relevant to each group.
  • Clear & focused questions: Frame questions that are unbiased, easy to understand, and encourage detailed responses. Avoid leading questions or jargon.

Best Practices for online research

Now when conducting face-to-face market research, following best practices is crucial for gaining valuable insights.

  • Engaging design: Create an engaging survey experience to boost completion rates. Use clear visuals, keep it concise, and offer incentives for participation.
  • Experienced moderator: Get a skilled moderator to guide the discussion and maintain focus. Most of all, they should make sure all participants have a voice.
  • Data analysis expertise: Partner with a research team skilled in analyzing and interpreting online data. Look for expertise in statistical analysis and translating data into actionable insights.


So, the takeaway?

Both approaches have value. To get the most from your persona market research, consider ViB Research. This can help you get the best of both worlds! 🙌

Thumbnail of B2B Ideal Customer Profile Template ViB
Simplify your targeting strategy with the one-page B2B ideal customer profile template, designed to help you define your best audience and communicate your targeting needs.

Why is ViB Research the winning choice?

ViB Research offers an affordable option to traditional marketing research firms. We help conduct targeted surveys of pre-vetted tech professionals to generate original research for various content formats (blogs, ebooks, etc.). 

Our expert guidance and budget-friendly pricing (1/3 the cost of traditional analysts) can help you create a rich content library and establish thought leadership.

Real-world success stories

Let’s check out some of the successful case studies from ViB Research to help you understand its value better:

ViB Research actionable insights: Powering lead generation and thought leadership for Illumio

Illumio, a cybersecurity company, wanted to position itself as a leader and generate leads. Mandy Skroupa, Marketing Programs Manager, used ViB Research to conduct surveys targeted at IT Security professionals. 

The high-quality data was used to create industry-leading reports like “Security Risks 2021: Ransomware and the Return to the Office”. This report drove high downloads, increased brand awareness, and established Illumio as a thought leader

The success of the initial project led Mandy to continue the partnership with ViB for its affordability, proven results, and collaborative approach.

Screenshot 2024-05-17 113245

Applying persona market research to your marketing strategy

Market research personas are crucial for connecting with your target audience. Follow these steps to enhance your marketing strategy:

  1. Define Your Goal: Clarify your objective and choose the right research method, like interviews or surveys.
  2. Collect Data: Use tools like Survey Monkey or Qualtrics to gather information from your audience.
  3. Analyze Data: Organize and categorize your findings to identify customer behavior patterns.
  4.  Present or Refine: Share insights with your team and refine your research for more accurate results if needed. 📊 
Graph of how to do market research in house in 4 steps

Measuring the success of your persona-driven strategy

Creating a persona-driven strategy is an ongoing process.

Here’s how you can ensure your efforts translate into real results:

  • Revenue growth: Track revenue generated from marketing efforts targeted towards each persona segment. Higher revenue from specific personas shows the success of your messaging and targeting.

  • Engagement metrics: Track key metrics (traffic, engagement, conversions) by persona to see if your marketing hits the mark. You can even fine-tune your strategy by A/B testing different approaches within each persona segment to further optimize your approach.

  • Customer satisfaction surveys: Gather ongoing feedback through surveys and polls. This makes sure your personas remain accurate and your strategies stay aligned with evolving customer needs. Remember, regularly revisiting and updating your personas can help them perform well.

  • The voice of the customer: Add customer feedback loops into your marketing campaigns. Encourage social media comments, product reviews, and open communication channels to capture real-time insights straight from your audience. 

This allows you to constantly refine your customer personas and marketing strategies, which can help create a winning plan that drives business growth and customer loyalty.

The perfect cold email campaign and cadence do exist.

Hear how Shay finds the right balance between what to say in each email, how frequently to touch base with your cold prospects, and more tips to optimize for conversions, in this on-demand webinar.

Bottom line

Remember, learning about your market research person is key to the success of your marketing campaign. 

Marketing is always changing, and so will buyer persona research. Imagine having affordable tools to perform effective market research on an ongoing basis and creating highly personalized marketing campaigns!

By using online persona market research, you’ll keep your buyer personas fresh and powerful, giving your marketing a major boost.

Ready to get started?

ViB Research wants to help you understand your target audience better. We’ll work with you to design a survey that gathers the information you need and conduct it within our million-strong tech community. You’ll receive a detailed report with all the data, insights, and recommendations you need to move forward.

Try out ViB Research today!

Screenshot of ViB trial options - B2B email marketing, B2B appointment setting, B2B content syndication

Want to test our unique approach to B2B demand generation with a low cost trial?

More Content For You

Factsheet: Are We Email Fit for 2024?

Exploring B2B Market Research Services: A Complete Guide

Leveraging Market Research Survey Companies for Tech Marketing Success