buyer-personasForget the old school idea of the buyer persona. You know that Marketing 101 exercise of creating fake personas like “Conservative Colleen” or “IT Manager Ian” who are the supposedly the buyers of your products or services. While working on those buyer collages may be fun team building exercises to some, the fact is it’s too hard to pigeonhole your audience into one identity.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t identify who your audience and ultimately who your customer is, that’s critical to putting together a content and video marketing strategy. What you do need to do is identify who makes the purchasing decisions and who influence those purchasing decisions.

Influencers of purchasing decisions could be the end users or simply other team members. It could be an administrative secretary, it could be someone in another department that sees the benefit of a service and how it could help your team or department.

The ultimate decision maker is the one who ultimately says yea or nay. They are usually a very different person from the influencers; this is why you need to identify your audience rather than one individual buyer.

Let me word it another way – are you reading this? Are you now, or likely ever to be, a customer of mine? Although I would love to have every visitor to my website convert into a customer, statistically speaking that’s not the way it works. The vast majority of people reading this are my audience. A small percentage of readers may ultimately say “Hey I need a super awesome explainer video created” and to you I say, “Welcome!” but most are either interested in video marketing in general, not in working with us to create an amazing explainer video.

So because the audience viewing your explainer video is far larger than the buyers of your service or product, you need your video to appeal to a much larger pool of viewers. You need to focus on your audience but don’t be generic. How do you do that? For that you need to employ bigger cultural touchpoints into the scripting and conceptualization of your video. Are both your buyers and influencers of a particular age range? Are they both predominantly female versus male? Knowing and identifying some of these traits will help select things like whether it is a male or female voice over, what their tone is and it will help select the style of music that is used to set the pace of the video.

It also helps with the dialog that is involved in script writing. For instance, the influencer may have a far more in depth knowledge of the problem your services solves than the actual buyer. So if you build in too many secret handshake, wink-wink jokes to appeal to that influencer, when he or she sends your video along, some of those inside cultural touchpoints you built in for the influencer may go over the buyer’s head and you lose them.

Another way is to build some snackable content into your video marketing funnel. The top level videos on your home page or how it works page need to build in some cultural touchpoints to keep it entertaining but still need to be easy enough to break down what you do for anyone to understand. Even your grandma.

Once they are interested, you can create more in depth snackable content sprinkled throughout your website to keep the viewer engaged. This content can be more focused because the audience will be more focused. Whether that person is an influencer or a buyer, they will have very specific aspects they are interested in learning more about. It may be specific functions of your product or service. It may be more of a conceptual treatment of how your product or service helps an organization as a whole. Or it may be more testimonial style videos so they can learn more about the service you provide after they sign up. These more specific videos will appeal to a more identifiable viewer and will help you convert more of those very specific viewers into leads in one way or another.

I realize that some of the marketers may be shaking their fists and yelling “poppycock!” at their computer screens, put your stress balls back in the drawer please. I’m not saying that “buyer personas” are a bad thing or wrong, just that when talking about video in your content marketing strategy, you are looking at a much larger audience you need to engage. Your buyer persona should be a starting point not an ending point because your audience is not made entirely of buyers. If every viewer of your videos became a buyer then you wouldn’t have a need for marketing, now would you?

Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts