Developing a Go to Market Strategy
Developing and bringing a product to market should begin with deep market understanding that are codified internally as buyer personas. These are fictitious avatars which represent your ideal customers — in actionable terms based on the characteristics that determine their buying behavior. Through qualitative research and analysis, you can develop a set of qualities that define these consumers. These qualities often extend beyond just their motives for buying your product, and touch upon their life goals, career objectives and challenges, as well as their interests and passions. By gathering and analyzing data on your existing consumer base, you can better understand the types of individuals you want to appeal to when creating and marketing a product. Understanding buyer personas in relation to your product is key to developing effective strategies that target your ideal consumers. While buyer personas are necessary to establish, it is just as important to understand who you are not trying to sell to, often referred to as negative buyer personas.
What is a Negative Buyer Persona?
Every individual has a certain likelihood of converting and purchasing your product. Negative buyer personas help you understand which groups of individuals are the least likely to convert. Often these include individuals who you would consider not to be a good fit for your company. Conducting interviews and gathering data on these types of consumers can help you weed out characteristics necessary to establish your negative buyer personas.
Why are Negative Buyer Personas Important?
Your marketing strategy should be specifically directed towards your target consumers. While it can be easy to get caught up in trying to get that one person to buy your product, doing so can limit your outreach within a sector of people who are more likely to actually make the purchase. Spending time researching negative buyer personas sharpens your understanding of your ideal customers, prevents you from wasting valuable company resources, and allows you to refine your existing marketing strategy to best cater to your target audience.
The true value of early customers is really the feedback and insight they generate to scale a highly valuable product. The revenue generated from a sale to the wrong audience can jeopardize your brand value from customers who are ill-equipped to see value from your product, and will churn at the first opportunity to do so. These users can also spread negative word of mouth about your product and discourage other buyers, and also skew customer discovery and surveys if we inadvertently design features around preferences that aren’t reflective of our ideal customer base.
Spotting and Establishing Negative Buyer Personas
Say for example, you have recently established a startup that creates handbags, and one of your marketing strategies is to advertise your product through Instagram ads. Instagram has a variety of individuals scouring the app, from those who scroll past ads to those who click on them but don’t actually buy the product to those who make the purchase. It can feel tempting to try to develop marketing strategies to lure in those who click on the product but don’t actually make the purchase, but the reality is that type of individual may fall into the category of a negative buyer persona. As a new business, you want to focus on strategies or campaigns that attract the types of individuals who are more likely to actually buy your product, rather than those who historically have not. Doing so ensures that you are minimizing your costs and maximizing your potential revenue.
When establishing your negative buyer personas, the key is to make sure that the value you yield from each segmented consumer group exceeds the costs and effort required. Here are 3 common red flags to look out for:
Your business has finite resources and conflicting priorities. After establishing your negative buyer personas, you have a better understanding of the types of people you are not targeting through the marketing of your product. Knowing this can help you fine tune your marketing strategy to cater those who are likely to actually make the purchase.
Personas Should be Iterative and Actionable
It is important to remember that buyer personas are variable factors that can grow and change as a company becomes more established. Therefore, as a business, it is integral to maintain a level of respect with different groups of people, including those who fall under the category of negative buyer personas. While your marketing strategy should be specific to your ideal consumers, this is not to say that individuals who fall into negative buyer personas are not still valuable.