Buyer Personas at the Awareness Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

How to Create Meaningful Buyer Personas for the Buyer’s Journey: Awareness Stage

By Lara Nour EddineApr 15 /2021

The buyer's journey is an important part of Kuno Creative's marketing success. Our strategies continue to evolve based on the buyer's journey for each of our clients. This six-part blog series describes each stage of the buyer's journey and how buyer personas can help facilitate promising strategies and success. This is the second blog within the series.

There are two types of buyers in the awareness stage: those who know they have a problem but don’t yet know what the solution is, and those who don’t know they have a problem yet.

The buyer journey can't begin until there's been a disruption of the status quo and a problem is identified. That disruption is the first stage of the buyer's journey: awareness. It’s important to clarify that awareness isn’t about product awareness, branding or familiarity with your company. In this instance, awareness refers to the buyer’s recognition of an internal problem within his or her organization that has become noticeable enough to articulate.

You will identify buyers in the awareness stage because they’re recognizing and defining their problem. They will likely begin researching their problem with a simple Google search. Your goal in the awareness stage is to ensure your solution describes the problem the same way the buyer is thinking about it.

Buyer Persona Development for the Awareness Stage

When you’re developing buyer personas for this stage, here are some questions we recommend you ask existing customers:

  1. Can you describe the issues you were experiencing before you started using our product/service?
  2. When did you notice this as a problem? What made it a problem?
  3. Was there a time when it wasn’t an issue, and if so, what were you doing differently then?
  4. What was the situation like at your company when the problem was at its worst? Who within your organization was most affected by this issue?

Type of Content at the Awareness Stage

The most important quality of your content at this stage is resonance. Your buyers need to recognize themselves in the content you create. Since they’ll be searching for a solution using their own words as guides, pay attention to the language they’re using to describe their problems, and do research on these keywords. From there, you can turn their common questions into content.

What kind of content should you create for buyers at this stage?

  1. Blog posts
  2. How-to videos
  3. Checklists
  4. Infographics

These formats are light and less in-depth, which works well for early-stage buyers. Be sure to do keyword research on the terms your buyers will be inclined to use and incorporate them into the content you create. This will help ensure your content appears when they begin searching for more information and solutions, an effective SEO strategy. Keywords in the form of a question are most valuable in this stage, particularly those that start with “What are…” as they are just beginning to identify the issues.

Motivating Buyers to Become Aware

For buyers who are blissfully stuck in the status quo, you will need to begin motivating them to start researching their problems.

A key in motivating buyers to enter the buying process is to get them to challenge their assumptions and that the way they are currently doing things is good enough. One way to do that is to identify and review trigger events. To understand trigger events for your target market, isolate answers from your buyer persona interviews about how buyers became aware of their problems. Specifically, what "triggered" the awareness?

HubSpot defines a trigger event as any occurrence that creates an opening for a marketing or sales opportunity. 

Once you know your prospect’s buying triggers, you can use this information to your advantage. The simplest way to do this? Create content around them.

While there are many trigger events you can look for, many of them come from a period of change or transition within a company, such as a merger or acquisition or change in leadership. To make this opportunity beneficial, be sure to take action when new legislation goes into effect or a major industry development occurs. Also, be on the lookout for negative events, such as a company enduring a bad quarter or legal issues. Oftentimes, change must come after a company is forced to recognize their efforts aren’t working when they’re punished by compliance issues or massive layoffs.

The information you get from buyer persona interviews has the ability to significantly impact your marketing efforts and drive your strategy. Stick with us through this series as we examine the rest of the buyer's journey. The next stage in the buyer’s journey is consideration.

Read Part 1: Buyer Personas

5 Secrets Revealed

Lara Nour Eddine
The Author

Lara Nour Eddine

With years of experience as a brand journalist, Lara shifted roles within Kuno to manage client relationships as an account manager. She puts her storytelling skills to use from her journalism days to help develop a big-picture strategy for clients and to execute tactics that best achieve results. Lara has worked in journalism and public relations. She also serves as an adjunct professor.