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There Is Something About Mary, And How Market Segmentation Will Help You To Seduce Her

The future of your business could depend on Mary – because she’s a buyer persona.

Mary – fictional buyer persona that she may be – is absolutely real because she embodies all the hopes, fears and aspirations of your dream customer in one key market segment.

But in order to comprehend the true importance of that, we have to rewind a little. Like this…

Marshalling limited resources to achieve the maximum return is core to the function of marketing strategy.

Marketing truths for almost every business include:

  • It is highly unlikely that your products or services will appeal to every person or company on the planet
  • It is highly unlikely that you will have unlimited resources in order to address all the potential markets for your products or services
  • It is highly unlikely that all buyers will buy your products or services for exactly the same reasons.

If you accept these truths, then success depends on:

  • Finding those people with the greatest need or desire for your products or services
  • Focusing your investment where you will get the best returns
  • Truly, deeply understanding the profiles, aspirations, pain and desires of those most likely to become customers.


Segmenting our market and then focusing on the needs of each buyer within each segment is what enables us to create the most compelling sales proposition possible. At a surface level, segmenting a market for business products may seem easy. Obvious factors to be evaluated include:

  • Size of business (turnover or staff employed)
  • Geography (which may be limited by the sales process employed in the interests of profitability)
  • Industry or business type (the more specific we can be the better)
  • Stage of development / growth rate / ambition (the most underused and often, I would argue most important indicator).

Selling to growing companies in growth markets makes sense while having all our eggs in one basket does not. There are exceptions. If you sell insolvency advice or reduce costs for downsizing businesses then of course, the opposite may be true.

Businesses have personas and behave differently according to their ambitions, stage of growth and ability to spend, but businesses are driven by people.

Whether in business or consumer marketing, it is only when we truly focus on the individual that makes – or contributes to – the buying decision that we can make our sales proposition truly seductive. There comes a realisation ultimately in all sales and marketing that we are selling to a human being or group of human beings and it is THEIR view of the world that matters – not ours.

Thought-Bubble-July-17To this end, building a persona of your perfect buyer(s) makes perfect sense. Creating as rich and detailed a portrait as possible of the typical individual you sell to help you understand their world, their aspirations, problems, desires and how they research and make decisions about what they buy.

Increasingly businesses give these personas names (such as Mary) and even create life-size cardboard cut-outs in order to make them as real as possible. Now they look at their products, services and messages through the eyes of these personas and ask questions such as, “What would Mary make of this new feature?” and “Why would Mary tell her friends about this service?”

There is such a fine line between success and failure in sales and marketing today. Almost all your competitors are competent (they have survived the recession after all).

You’d have to research the market very heavily and go out of your way to buy a BAD car, for example so car manufacturers are going out of their way to make specific models to appeal to specific types of buyer (or persona).

This automotive industry is moving from a Henry Ford mass production mode, where “You can have any colour as long as it’s black” to one where a customer can choose to have a car designed to appeal to their specific generation, problems,  tastes  and aspirations – even custom-built to their own specifications. Next time you watch a car advert on TV, see what you can learn about the persona they are targeting.

Head03-300x278Customer seduction is a now process that needs tuning to any given persona and his or her particular set of circumstances. When all suppliers look the same, sound the same and offer the same base level of service or product, marketing is that process of discovering the small things that make the difference and promoting those benefits to exactly the right person at exactly the right time in their language-and doing that at a profit.

Marketing personas bring clarity. They free you to be creative in meeting your customer needs. Why not create one now? Chances are you’ll be surprised by what you learn and the opportunities you discover to find the small things that matter. Then I hope as you learn more about your Mary (or Mark) you’ll discover the something about Mary that makes the difference…

We can work with you to create personas for your business. Our team of friendly customer services advisors are at the end of the phone to provide you with more information about any of our services. Just give us a call on 0845 456 1022 or fill in the enquiry form.

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