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A checklist for effective buyer personas

A checklist for effective buyer personas post image

‘Buyer personas’ are archetypes of the people who have the biggest impact on your revenues and profit. Use this checklist to begin the process of creating a rich description of your ideal targets.

I am often surprised by senior executives who struggle to describe their target markets, segment by segment. The creation of buyer personas is a great way to get managers to focus on this basic marketing principle. This handy checklist will get you started:

The basics

  1. Gender?
  2. Age?
  3. Marital status?
  4. Children?
  5. Geographic location?
  6. Educational background?
  7. What media consumed?
  8. Drives what car?
  9. Shops where?
  10. How many holidays per year?


  1. Job title
  2. Rank their influence on buying decisions
  3. Who else in the business is involved in the buyer decision?
  4. How profitable has this person been in the past?
  5. Is she a repeat buyer?
  6. What problems does he have on his desk TODAY?
  7. What takes up their time?
  8. What key initiatives are they working on TODAY? What is at stake if this goes wrong? What will reward be if it goes right?
  9. What motivates or frustrates her work?
  10. What single thing would make his work life better?
  11. What ‘big win’ would they like to announce at the next management meeting?
  12. What would make them look good in the eyes of their boss?
  13. What hurdles does she jump to achieve her goals and metrics?
  14. What process does this person go through when evaluating business purchases?
  15. What are her/his views on the state of the industry/vertical?
  16. What information resources do they rely on?
  17. What communities, associations, networks does this person belong to?
  18. What are the buyer’s highest priorities? Cost, speed, or quality?
  19. What ‘solution’ is the buyer currently using?
  20. Why is he not 100% happy with the current solution?
  21. Is there any major change looming at her business that will make your service irrelevant in the near- to mid-future?


  1. Non-work activities?
  2. What do his photos and mementos (in their office) say about him?
  3. Favourite sports or pastimes?
  4. What is her personal passion?

Use this checklist in conjunction with the other posts in my short series on the power of buyer personas:

Image: The Lovers by Magritte


{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Adele Revella (@buyerpersona) 24/10/2011, 5:15 pm

    Thanks for talking about my favorite subject Mick. I like your list and would add that it isn’t necessary to capture all of this data for every buyer persona — that it’s best to think about which points will provide actionable insights given the marketing decision you are making.

    Since you bring up the segmentation topic, starting with a lot of data points inevitably results in too many personas, as marketers attempt to find commonalities on most of the points.

    Narrowing the list also makes it more likely that the marketer can go deep on the points, with as much as a paragraph of insightful information on that point.

    But this is a great list to help marketers identify the points that will be most helpful to them as they make a specific marketing decision.

  • Mick 24/10/2011, 7:26 pm

    Hi Adele: you are absolutely right to point out that too many buyer personas makes marketing more complicated… and that this is quite a long list. Finding the right points to focus on is dead right, too.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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