When Carina Lepore walked away from the latest edition of The Apprentice with £250,000 of Lord Sugar's money to invest in her artisan bakery, she wasn't the only candidate to make a mark on the BBC show. In the fourth week of the competition, Iasha Masood and her team proved how using buyer personas is the key to success when it comes to making sales.
The candidates were asked to design prototypes of electric bikes, select accessories to go with them, and pitch their products to retailers at product launch events. Thomas Skinner was the project manager for Team Unison, while Iasha Masood led Team Empower.
What Happened During The Show?
Team Unison opted to design a classy bike for mature cyclists who were attempting to get fit. Iasha, meanwhile, decided to target 'yummy mummies'. Half of each team went to Nottingham to work on a prototype, while the other candidates met with the manufacturers of the accessories on offer.
During the journey to Nottingham, Iasha began to create a buyer persona, i.e. a fictional version of the type of person they envisioned buying their bike. She and her fellow sub-team members created a persona called 'Sophisticated Sarah'. They then chose a name for the bike that they thought that this character would like: 'Aphrodite'.
By the time that they'd reached their destination, they had a good idea of 'Sophisticated Sarah's' lifestyle, likes, and personality, so they were able to brief their designer thoroughly. This ideal customer was 'affluent', at a 'comfortable time' in her life and enjoying more leisure time. Iasha pictured her as someone who may have a husband and children, and who wanted to be able to take her bike to the park or on family trips to the coast. They referred to Sarah throughout the design process and eventually designed a bike that Iasha believed that she would like. They also explained the persona to the retailers in their pitch.
Unfortunately, Team Unison didn't follow suit and quickly lost sight of their ideal buyer. Although they wanted to target mature customers, they designed a burnt orange and red e-bike with a white rocket logo on the front. When the team reunited, they even had an argument about who their ideal customer was supposed to be. Not only did their market research interviewees think their bike was unsuitable for older cyclists, the retailers seemed to agree. To make things worse, while Iasha's team opted to sell cycling helmets with built-in lights alongside their e-bikes, Thomas's team chose Lycra clothing, which didn't suit their target customers either.
When the results were announced, Iasha's team had plenty to celebrate. Her team secured sales worth £1,265,210 – the highest amount of money raised on a sales task since the programme began. Thomas's team only managed to bring in £437,700 and their failure saw Lubna Farhan depart from the show.
The Message For Business Owners
Iasha's use of a buyer persona enabled her team to keep their target market in mind throughout the entire process. As a result, they delivered an appropriately tailored product and marketing message. Whether you sell products or services, creating buyer personas will enable you to create content and marketing campaigns that appeal to your target customers, potentially boosting your sales as a result. If you aren't sure how do this, contact us and we can help.
Image source: BBC