You know what’s fascinating? What you’re doing at this very second. Yes, you. Are you reading this on a desktop at work? On your smartphone on the train? Or on some other device while doing … something else?

How did you find it? Have you subscribed to our blog by email? Did you find it on social media? Via search engine? Are you just hopelessly devoted to everything we write?

And what will you do next? Will you tell friends or coworkers about this? Just close your browser and go to work? Have you already given up and don’t even know that I’m a little disappointed that you clicked away?

And most importantly, why are you reading this right now? What are your motivations? Understanding your customers’ why is critically important. To figure it out, you need to spend time building buyer personas.

RELATED: Buyer Personas – the Foundation of Content Marketing

Historically, marketers have been able to figure out the demographics of their customers. They knew that 36-year-old moms in certain zip codes were their target audience, and they went out of their way to engage with them. However, those demographic similarities in the audience aren’t as important as they once were. There are a couple reasons for this: One, as the Internet has opened up the entire globe to different experiences, we are less defined by our demographics (age, location, etc.) and more tightly defined by our psychographics; where in the past you might not have been able to connect with likeminded hobbyists, now you can, and location, age and other statistics matter less. Secondly, technology now allows us to dig deeper and to examine people’s behavior online – to see what catches their attention, what motivates them to action, and how we can appeal to them.

When you understand what motivates customers to buy or not buy, it transforms your marketing. If you understand what the prospect is thinking and feeling, you can meet her on her own terms, build credibility and trust, and begin to deliver on expectations.

This is why you need to create buyer persona profiles – to solidify the understanding of the audience, and create a roadmap for connecting with them. Identifying and understanding the motivations of the audience should be Step One; this should be a major focus of building your buyer personas. 

In other words, you need to dive a lot deeper than name, rank and serial number when you’re first launching a content strategy (or any other marketing effort). When constructing buyer persona interviews, you need to ask questions that enable you to better understand the target audience’s mindset. What are their frustrations? Their pressures? Why do they buy or not buy?

This will help to either confirm or refute the assumptions you’ve been making. Yes, this can be painstaking – these need to be in-depth interviews with multiple target personalities. However, it’s smart research that can set your organization on a different trajectory.

And, besides, your competition is already doing it.