How To Boost Content Marketing Effectiveness with Buyer Persona Scenarios


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(This is part two of a three part series on the use of Buyer Persona Stories™, Buyer Persona Scenarios™, and Buyer Persona Story Mapping™ to drive effective content marketing strategy.)

Understanding what activities buyers perform as they attempt to solve complex problems has been a challenge in the digital age. The activities of buyers are no longer transparent and it is harder to figure out what activities directly relate to you and their purchase decision. Yet, in order to be on the same level with buyers, this is exactly what you need to know.

In this three part series, we are looking at how to get the inside story about buyers. As I did in part one, it is important to note this capability starts with first conducting buyer insight research and buyer persona development. The elements used to know your buyer persona stories come from these efforts. Without it, there are no research and insights, which can be used to tell a buyer persona story.

The Scene

Scenarios are one of the crucial building blocks of buyer insight research and buyer persona development. They are often difficult to do well and poorly understood outside of the design world. Scenarios help us to understand what users and buyers do in order to achieve a goal. Specific to buyers and this series, Buyer Persona Scenarios™ help us to understand the activities and actions buyers take to achieve specific goals.

When it comes to content marketing, particularly in the very early stages of buyer awareness, this level of insight can vastly improve effectiveness. Buyer Persona Scenarios are written specific to the needs of teams using them. So in this case, they can be specific to content marketing and to a Buyer Persona Story™. Helpful, as we covered in part one of this series, to improving content marketing effectiveness.

Buyer Persona Scenarios help in understanding activity-based insights, which come from field buyer insight research. Providing a sense of what buyers are doing as they attempt to meet specific goals. Combined with powerful Buyer Persona Stories, it gives us intimate proximity to the activities and actions buyers take at a specific moment in time.

The Key Elements

As with all major components related to buyer insight research and buyer persona development, our interests are in meeting the goals of buyers. Mapping to the specific business as well as personal goals buyers are wanting to achieve. The elements you will need to create on target Buyer Persona Scenarios are:

  1. Buyer Persona: the central character in any scenario. When done with the appropriate level of goal-directed buyer insight research, you will have the right character to place in your scenario.
  2. Goal: as with Buyer Persona Stories, understanding the goals of buyers helps us to know what they are attempting to achieve – both on a business and personal level.
  3. Activity: we identify the specific activities buyers engage in relevant to a specific goal, which they are attempting to fulfill achieving.
  4. Action: the focus is on learning the specific action the buyer takes as a result of the activities he/she engaged in.
  5. Value: we want to identify what value is received when buyers engage in activities and take a specific action.

Creating the Interaction Scene

The purpose of the elements is to give us a portrayal of how buyers interact both internally and with a company’s products, services, or touchpoints. If based on qualitative buyer insight research, you can get a robust picture of buyers in action. Let us look at a real scaled-down version of a buyer persona scenario developed for a supply chain organization:

John VP Production Scenario.jpg

Buyer Persona Scenario

In this specific scenario, we are dealing with early stages of the buying process. It provides a current snapshot of archetypal buyer activities and actions. Hinting at what frustrates buyers and what becomes relevant to them from a value perspective. Content marketing team members can gather around to review, along with other members from sales, service, and operations. Giving them insights into how to develop the most effective content strategy to meet John’s goals, activities, and actions.


Buyer personas are focused on mapping to the goals of buyers. Buyer Persona Stories and Buyer Persona Scenarios bring goals and buyer stories to life. Bring completeness and a level of depth now needed to be effective with content marketing. Done with the right level of research, insights, and perspective, they can help to reinvent content marketing, as you know it today. And, get the inside story of your buyers.

(I welcome further conversations to help you adopt Buyer Persona Scenarios™ to improve content marketing effectiveness. I am very interested in getting your thoughts and perspectives on this powerful technique. Please share widely – your peers and colleagues are trying to get the inside scoop about their buyers.)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tony Zambito
Tony is the founder and leading authority in buyer insights for B2B Marketing and Sales. In 2001, Tony founded the concept of "buyer persona" and established the first buyer persona development methodology. This innovation has helped leading companies gain a deeper understanding of their buyers resulting in revenue performance. Tony has empowered Fortune 100 organizations with operationalizing buyer personas to communicate deep buyer insights that tell the story of their buyer. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management.


  1. Hi Tony, I found your post to be very informative. I like the concept of persona scenarios and how it can make content marketing more effective. We’ve found success identifying personas in the top-funnel based on industry, location, and digital behavior. What is your experience in persona development at different stages of the sales cycle? Is it dynamic if correctly defined, do they not change so much? Tamar, Insightera

  2. Hi Tamar,

    Very good question. Keeping to the story theme, one way to look at this is by how complex the story becomes. Like many a good books, they can involve multiple characters and subplots. In B2B buying, the more complex, the more subplots, and the more characters which can become central to the entire end-to-end story. At each stage, it can be the same or it can be different. It is best determined by understanding the goals which buyers are seeking to fulfill. In complex buying, different buyer personas can become central to different goals during the entire buying cycle. The more complex, the more dynamic buying teams and buyer personas become.



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