I receive all kinds of ads and flyers in the mail. Usually, they are coupons for large retail stores or announcements informing me that I can buy a one-topping pizza for the next five days at the low price of $6.99 instead of $7.99. I shop at these stores, I eat pizza, and I like coupons, so it makes sense that I get these ads.

However, every few months, my mailbox contains an advertisement that I can’t quite grasp. It’s from a cigarette company and is often an elaborate, expensive-looking ad. It typically arrives in a large envelope, box, or other high-quality packaging material, and it contains coupons and offers from the company. I don’t understand why I get this particular ad because no one in my household has ever smoked, nor have we purchased any products from this company. It amazes me that year after year, move after move, this company tracks down our address and continues to send us seemingly expensive ads, when we have never bought anything remotely similar to their product. In short, we are not their buyer persona.

A buyer persona is the ideal potential buyer or user of a business’ products and services. It is your target market—your best possible consumer. These are the people you want to advertise to and communicate with. Typically, a business has three to five buyer personas for each product or service.

This is what boggles me when it comes to the cigarette marketing that continually graces my mailbox. Perhaps someone in my household fits their “ideal consumer” profile. But to me, they are wasting their resources on an audience that doesn’t fit their product. It makes me wonder who else they are targeting that doesn’t fit their buyer persona—and how much money they waste doing so.

To find out who your real buyer persona is, you must conduct market research. Determine the best ways to market your product by focusing on why, how, and when buyers make decisions.

There are billions of consumers in the world today. To market efficiently, your business should answer some key questions to narrow the field:

  • What needs of the buyer does my product/service meet?
  • What will effectively reach the consumer: social media, blog posts, webinars, trade shows, and/or traditional marketing?
  • What influences and impacts the buyer?
  • What result does the customer hope to achieve when purchasing my product/service?
  • What causes the consumer to invest in my product/service?
  • What is the competition offering that may attract the buyer?
  • What are the demographics of my ideal consumer?

Don’t be that business that continues to waste valuable time and resources on consumers who have little to no interest in your product. Instead, focus on fulfilling the needs of customers who fit your buyer persona. Know who they are, what they want, and how you can meet their needs.

Reaching one consumer who you’re sure will identify with your product is more powerful than reaching a multitude who will look past your marketing efforts without even thinking twice.