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How to Create a More Meaningful Persona for Your Next Media Buy

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August 5, 2019
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Media buying strategy depends on many things. At its simplest state, the strategy behind a media buy is intended to connect the right audience with the advertiser's message. There is a lot of data available to media buyers (rates, ratings, impressions, first or third-party data, ComScore, Nielson), but for media buyers to build the most effective media buy, and for the creative team to craft the best messaging for an impactful and successful campaign, there has to be a very clear picture of your target audience. This is where the buyer persona comes in.

A buyer persona is a representation of a group of people within your target audience, presented as an archetype of your ideal client/consumer/patient/etc. While semi-fictional, you’ll need real data to fill in the details to give your media buyer a clear picture of whom you’re trying to reach with your advertising.

So, how can you go about collecting the data you need to create your buyer personas? To help you get started, we’ve broken it down into three effective ways to conduct buyer persona research:

Tipping Point Communications Persona Research

Scarborough Survey

At Tipping Point, our go-to option for developing meaningful media plans and effective buying strategies includes utilizing  Scarborough Survey data.

The Scarborough Survey occurs every year and has more than 200,000 survey participants who share information about their lifestyle, behaviors and consumption habits. Everything from credit card usage to how much an individual listens to the radio can be determined from the Scarborough Survey. This data can then be segmented to provide information about your target demographic(s). Next, we can use index ratings to determine the probability that a member of your target audience will take the desired action mentioned in your advertisement.

Creating Your Buyer Persona

Typically, we begin building a buyer persona starting with the basic age and gender data we have for your product or service. Using this as a starting point, we then then layer data around lifestyle (marital status, presence of children, occupation, education), to determine the key features of the persona. We’re able to use Scarborough to dive deeper than a generic demographic into a single buyer persona; by rounding out the characteristics or behaviors that index highly within your general target demographic, we can then breath life into the persona we are creating.

 Once the persona feels like it’s a complete, well-rounded person, we can then use the platform to pull media consumption habits to determine the importance of individual advertising tactics for TV, radio and online sites and apps. With a robust buyer persona or personas developed, your media buyer is then well-situated to select programming, stations, networks and sites that are specific to your specific persona, instead of those that are simply rated well across your broad demographic.

In other words, if your target demographic is women aged 35-54, but your specific buyer persona is Sally Smith, a 42-year-old local attorney, you probably wouldn’t want to advertise during the middle of the afternoon when Sally is most likely working. A better choice would be to advertise during the morning news, since you’ll likely reach her before work as she’s getting ready for her day. Understanding your target buyer persona will inform which dayparts will be most effective for your media buy.

Closing Thoughts

Buyer personas play an important role in any company’s marketing strategy. In the paid media space, buyer personas allow media buyers to really hone-in on the correct audience for your ads, not just the age and gender of your target audience. This allows for a more effective and budget-friendly advertising buy for your business. In addition to media buys, fully developed buyer personas can be used to develop customer journey maps, leading to greater insights for your overall marketing and communication strategy.

Interested in learning more about creating personas and how they can impact your business success? We’re here to help! Email us at


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