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Marketing: Understanding Your Buyer

with Pamela Muldoon

Pamela Muldoon, Content Strategist, joins host Anne Ganguzza for another episode of VO Boss! Today’s topic: Understanding Your Buyer. Learn what a Buyer Persona is and why developing them for your marketing is critical for developing successful target market content. Learn some key questions and areas to consider when creating your personas and use this information on your next content marketing campaign!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. What exactly is a Buyer Persona and why should I care as a VO talent?

  2. Though you are a professional voiceover talent as a profession, if you are in business for yourself, you are also a marketer.

  3. Learn Hubspot’s definition of a buyer persona.

  4. A Buyer Persona is not a stereotype, but a 3-D representation of an actual person that represents your Ideal Client.

  5. Get specific! Age range demographics need to be defined due to the multiple generations in the workplace today!

  6. Buyer Persona work applies mainly to such non-union genres as eLearning, corporate narration, explainer videos, and government contract opportunities.

  7. Marketing your demo to business buyers vs. an agent or production house is very different. Be sure to modify your marketing to your specific audience.

  8. Doing a Day In the Life exercise when developing your personas will help you better understand how your Ideal Client spends their time and then allows you to better map your marketing to fit into their lifestyle.

  9. You may have to create a separate Buyer Persona for each of the main genres you want to market to as part of your business?

  10. Key Questions: What are they goals or triggers your Ideal Client is experiencing that would require your solutions ie: voiceover? Knowing what triggers your client to need you will better help you create content and/or marketing that makes sense.

  11. Persona work parallels performance; when performing a script, the first question you should ask is “Who am I talking to?” and then “What is their pain point I am addressing?”

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Check out Pamela’s Website
Recorded on ipDTL
Awesome editing by Carl Bahner


>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premier business owner strategies and successes being utilized by the industry has top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS. Now let’s welcome your host Anne Ganguzza.

Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my extra special guest cohost Pamela Muldoon. Woo-hoo! Pamela!

Pamela: Hey Anne!

Anne: How are you?

Pamela: I’m super fantabulous.

Anne: Alright.

Pamela: I’m doing great.

Anne: Fantabulous is good. [laughs]

Pamela: It’s a good word, isn’t it? We don’t use it enough. [laughs]

Anne: Fantabulous is amazing. Well fantabulous, speaking of fantabulous, Pam, you’re fantabulous.

Pamela: Aww.

Anne: I’m telling you, I keep going back. I literally have like your bio in front of me, and I’m just like, the top 50 women in content marketing. And one of the 20 women to watch, I love that, 20 women to watch, from the Sales Lead Management Association. So with all that good stuff, Pam, I want to talk today a little bit about buyer persona, because I think buyer persona is something that’s very, I don’t know, vague, and –

Pamela: Yeah.

Anne: – ill-defined, or maybe it’s something that as voice talent, we don’t always think about. What’s a buyer persona? Why do I care about a buyer persona, and how does it matter for me and my business? Because I’m selling voiceover. [laughs] What does a buyer persona have to do with that? We should talk about that.

Pamela: I think we should. You know, we just, part of this is the evolution of where we are as a marketing person. Let’s face it, at the end of the day, we might be a voice talent, voice actor, but if you’re in the business of being in business, you’re also a marketer, end of story. And I would even say that you know, for every – it’s great when you can get a big percentage of your time building your business, but you still have to go back to the hustle which is the marketing piece. Right? You’re always constantly kind of thinking or working through this process. So when I, in our previous episodes, we chatted a little bit about being more specific, right? The more focused we are, the more positive results we should achieve. When I talk about a persona, it goes beyond just demographic of a person, right? This is – as a matter of fact, Hub Spot has a really great definition that they’ve been using for a number of years, and it still, I think, holds true. Basically their definition is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, and this is based on your own market research and also data about your existing customers. So there’s a lot of important elements that you have to consider when you’re developing your persona, and that’s what I’m hoping we can spend a little time kind of walking through some of that today.

Anne: Give that back to me again. So that is a semi-fictitious representation –

Pamela: A semi-fictional representation, yep. So a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.

Anne: Of your ideal customer. Okay, I have a question though.

Pamela: Yeah.

Anne: Is that just a pretty way of saying a stereotype, or is this – how is this different from what I think people perceive to be stereotypes in marketing, just in general? Like I’m sure you get that question a lot because –

Pamela: Yeah, that’s a good question.

Anne: Where does all that come in in terms of advertising? We get hired for our voice from people who are buying, right, the buyers, and the clients, and that’s where this whole thing starts.

Pamela: So where the stereotype falls away is when you get very specific. I call it a three-dimensional process. You’re creating a 360 degree version of a person.

Anne: Okay.

Pamela: Where a stereotype is not that, right, a stereotype is, it’s very surface.

Anne: Two dimensional.

Pamela: It’s surface driven. Yeah. So when I talk about being three-dimensional or 360 degrees, it means you’ve talked about, are they married, do they have kids – you really start to get to know them. You think of an actual human being that buys from you, and you start to create the – that person represents basically all of your clients in that specific persona. So we’ve talked in the past like from the government contract work, right?

Anne: Sure.

Pamela: So there’s a specific buyer, right, a government buyer that’s a persona. Now the end result may be that they’re purchasing you to voice e-learning curriculum. And there’s another production house that’s hiring you to do e-learning curriculum. So the end result may be the same, but that person or persona is different, right?

Anne: Completely different.

Pamela: Completely different. And that’s that 360 degree or that really kind of three-dimensional conversation. The nuances that make that person more than just a producer but someone who is actually going to purchase for a very specific purpose. Does that make sense?

Anne: Yeah, so within those 360 degrees, do you have specific criteria that holds true within every single buyer persona, for example, male, female, or whatever gender, whatever, or maybe not, right? [laughs] Maybe not gender.

Pamela: Yeah. And there’s some things that have to be a little blanket.

Anne: Okay.

Pamela: So what I mean by that are yes, you definitely want to know your atypical demographic information from back in the day, right? What’s the age range? And this becomes supercritical, guys, because of our different generations out there. Right?

Anne: Absolutely.

Pamela: So what’s the age of this, again, general person, and sometimes it’s an age range of 35 to 45, or 28 to 40. And that’s okay. You can kind of leave it there, but that makes a difference because if they’re over 60, we’re going to have a different conversation. If they’re under 25, we’re going to have a different conversation, right? As a general rule, this person tends to fall between the ages of 35 and 45, for example. Okay, great. I still struggle with clients today. They’re like well, that depends. I know it depends. It always depends. Every scenario is specific, but what we want to do is get to a point where we feel really confident that we’ve actually created a persona that’s maybe 80% of the time the person. If you get somebody else from a different gender, that’s fine, but I guarantee you the goals, the triggers and the pain points will probably still be the same.

Anne: Well, I would think that you can have different products for different, different personas, right?

Pamela: Absolutely.

Anne: And with our voiceover business, right, we can actually market to different age groups if we happen to have different voices that suit them. What else is interesting, you can actually see it when companies are starting to market to different demographics or different personas. For example I remember very distinctly, and I talk about this all the time, if anybody has been listening to the podcast for any length of time, I talk about Cadillac. Cadillac a few years ago made a very distinct switch in their voiceover choice from a male voice that was older to a very young female voice. And my only thought was that they were trying to capture a different market at that point. I think that’s common for companies to do that, because typically you’re going to be a voice in the same peer group that will purchase the product.

Pamela: We see this all the time on specs when we get the copy, right? Or when we get the audition information. Though I will say the word middle-aged [laughs] tends to be very subjective. Excuse me? [laughs] Not that I’m taking personally, Anne. However.

[both laugh]

Pamela: It’s just – or senior, you know, we’d like a more senior person aged between you know? 50 and 55. Like what, what? What’s going on here?

Anne: I got one of those the other day and I was like, what is my agent thinking? Really? I was trying not to be personally offended that that came to me. Because I very much believe in my agents sending me the appropriate auditions, and “we need a more mature voice.” What are you talking about – I digress.

Pamela: We both digress. We’re just getting a little therapy session out of – but it’s okay. It’s okay. I think that’s a really actually important piece to this process is we as voice actors, if we’re putting together other personas, and keeping in mind that this work is really important when you’re going into nonunion work. Right? When you’re going kind of outside the commercial realm, per se, because there are some ways that we’re purchased that are, I don’t want to say it’s black and white, but you know, going through the process of understanding curriculum buyers or understanding explainer video buyers, or things like that, it’s a different process than going through your agent for example for commercial work. Right?

Anne: Absolutely.

Pamela: Most definitely, and we’re kind of unique in that regard as purveyors of this service, that we have this in between service that helps us get our work, a.k.a. agencies, right, or people that represent us in that regard.

Anne: I consider that like B2B maybe, versus let’s say if I do corporate work directly for a company, and I call that my B2C. But through an agent I call it the B2B.

Pamela: Okay.

Anne: It’s more of an analogy. You know, just because you’re going through a medium that’s representing you, to sell your services to the client versus you working for perhaps directly for the client. And that way, your services are marketed differently. Like I’m going to market my demo differently to an agent than I am to a corporate buyer.

Pamela: Oh absolutely, and that’s why the persona work is important because if you are marketing – I think this is a great example, Anne – if you’re marketing your demo to a curriculum developer in the same way that you would market your demo to an agent, there’s probably a reason you’re not getting noticed.

Anne: Yes, please, yes.

Pamela: Does that make sense? Right, yeah.

Anne: All the yeses. All the yeses there. [laughs]

Pamela: Because your curriculum buyer doesn’t understand, for the most part – there’s always exceptions obviously – but for the most part, and again that’s what the persona encompasses, right? You know, what’s their language? What’s their day like? One of my favorite exercises to do actually when I build my personas is what I call a day in the life. And a lot of my clients are hesitant to do this at first, but then once we go through the process, they realize the importance of it. And a day in the life is literally taking   – we’ll just keep with our curriculum developer for a minute. You literally take this person, you’re actually envisioning her – I’m making an assumption here. We haven’t actually gone through this exercise, Anne, but I’m making the assumption that it’s a female. And you know, just from my own corporate persona experience.

Anne: Sure.

Pamela: And that she’s probably somewhere in that 35 to 45 age range. And so what does that mean? That means she’s marr – is she married or single? I’m making these notes as I go along. She’s married. She has kids. She has all of these things going on. So when you do a day in the life, my question then, and this is kind of a free-form exercise I do with my clients, is let’s talk about her. And we do actually name our personas, right, so it could be curriculum developer Debbie, right, for example.

Anne: Curriculum developer Debbie. I like that.

Pamela: [laughs]

Anne: So Debbie.

Pamela: What’s Debbie’s day like? Okay, the alarm goes off. What happens, what’s the first thing she’s going to do? Is she going to get up and check on the baby? Is she going to check her phone? Is she going to go to the bathroom? She going to take a shower before she goes downstairs? Is she going to go get her coffee first? What’s funny about this –

Anne: Do I talk about – do I talk about the fact, or do I question the fact if she’s a freelancer, does she check her emails first to see if she’s got jobs coming in?

Pamela: Exactly. That’s exactly what I’m trying to get at.

Anne: Got it.

Pamela: That’s exactly what I’m trying to get at.

Anne: Because that’s the first thing I do as a freelancer. The first thing I do, I’m out of bed and I’m looking at my email to make sure that I haven’t gotten any requests from clients who, you know, might be up at other hours on the other coast.

Pamela: Right.

Anne: Or in another, you know, country.

Pamela: Absolutely. So I mean, what, and again, you as a persona, as a voice talent who worked with people in other countries, right, you’re going to come at – see, our people, the people hiring us, should be doing the same thing, right? They should be going through persona work on us. Like who is my freelance voice talent? Right? They probably don’t, but they should. But let’s say we’re talking about curriculum developer Debbie, and she works inside of a Fortune 500 company. Okay?

Anne: Okay.

Pamela: Now that’s an entirely different day in the life experience. She’s going to get up in the morning and more than likely she’s not going to check her phone right away. Her family comes first.

Anne: Yes.

Pamela: So she’s going to take care of family needs. Now translate this to why do I care about it, why should I care? Because when we send emails may come into play. Okay? When we become in front of them could become important to why we know her lifestyle.

Anne: Sure.

Pamela: Does that make sense?

Anne: Yeah.

Pamela: One of the pushbacks I get often, especially when we’re dealing with more of a corporate type of persona is, well, they’re Monday through Friday kind of people. I said, are you going to tell me honestly, you, Mr. and Miss person I’m talking to you, that when you’re at your kids’ soccer game on Saturday morning, you never flip open your email and you never look at Facebook? Is that a yes or a no? Of course we all know that we’re multitasking constantly. But these are the kinds of conversations I want my clients to have about their persona because I want them to see like what does lunch look like to this person? Does this person sit at their desk and take lunch, or do they actually go out for lunch? Do they bring their lunch in and go sit in the break room? Right?

Anne: Yeah.

Pamela: What time do they leave work? What does that look like to them? Do they go pick up the kids, do they go home, do they have to make dinner? What is their life like? Because how we get in front of them, we fit into their life. Does that make sense?

Anne: Okay, so let’s – let me bring it back. So let’s play this out. Because sometimes these are questions that, you know, I ask myself, and you know, how am I going to get in front of this particular type of buyer? Let’s say, I don’t know, let’s say I wanted to get into video games. I have my videogame demo that I just produced, and I really want to get into that market. If I were to create a buyer persona, for someone purchasing my voice for video games, I personally think that that’s going to be completely different, the videogame buyer, than let’s say the commercial, right,, commercial buyer agent scenario, and completely different than the corporate buyer, and/or completely different than the corporate e-learning buyer, and/or complete a different than an academic e-learning buyer. [laughs]

Pamela: Absolutely.

Anne: They’re all different. So what sort of questions should we ask?

Pamela: So some of the questions, when we get right to the skinny of how do we know we can help them is, one of the things I – an exercise I take people through is what are the goals or triggers to hire you? Right? So what is it from a videogame perspective, for example, what’s going to trigger a videogame casting person to actually say, I need a voice talent? What’s the trigger?

Anne: There’s a game being developed, and characters are being –

Pamela: Bingo.

Anne: Yeah, characters are being drawn up.

Pamela: Yep, so all of these, and it becomes kind of a brainstorm exercise. Like what are all the triggers? And it forces us to kind of get into their head a little bit.

Anne: Sure.

Pamela: Like when do we come to mind basically, right? It forces us to think through that process. Because in those triggers, if you think, okay, we’ve got, we’ve got a female military voice we need, right, we’ve got – they start to list it out, what are some of the pain points, or what keeps this person up at night? Well, they have a deadline for example, right?

Anne: Let’s say that they have a large game, or they’re from a well-known game developer, right, that may use agencies for hiring or for casting, right, and so in that case, it would be who on the roster, you know, who can I find that has a particular accent or whatnot? Or let’s say it’s a smaller game developing company, right? That’s another, that’s going to be another persona, right, that may not work through an agency to hire a voice, and how would they go –

Pamela: A direct to purchase kind of scenario is what you’re saying.

Anne: Yeah, yeah. Completely different.

Pamela: Yeah.

Anne: But still in the same genre. So I think we have to think about all of those things.

Pamela: Absolutely. We don’t realize putting out something super specific can be powerful. Are we taking the time to actually put front and center some of those very specific elements? And you kind of touched on this too, and we talked about breaking out the demo, right. Like making sure that we’re actually showcasing some of these very unique styles.

Anne: Absolutely.

Pamela: Because that will solve a pain point.

Anne: Yes.

Pamela: And let’s face it. Every pain point can usually follow under three buckets. Time, don’t have enough.

Anne: Yep.

Pamela: I need more of it. People. People are a mess, right? I need to hire people, I need to fire people, you know, all these things, right. And money.

Anne: Sure.

Pamela: I got to stay within budget, I got to do this with a certain type of budget, or you know, so when you as a talent can provide five, six voices, that changes the game, right? But again it goes back to what triggers them, where do we come from that trigger, why do they even say “hmm, I’m going to need a voice talent for this,” and then what pain points do they have when fulfilling those needs, and then how do we as those marketing our services, what are the messages, the top pieces of information we want to get out there so we’re front and center?

Anne: What’s so cool about this is I want to draw into the parallels of, in marketing ourselves, in understanding our buyer persona and their pain point, also parallels very closely performance in voiceover because –

Pamela: Yes.

Anne: – when I am instructing people on, let’s say, a good corporate read, most people, they’re not thinking about who they’re speaking to, really. And maybe they’re thinking, “oh yeah, I’m speaking to Joe, who is a buyer of a product.” Well you’ve got to go beyond that. It can’t just be – it’s always going to be a buyer of the product. If you’re voicing for a company and they’re selling a product, and they’re hiring you to corporate narrate, or even to do commercial, you’re always going to be solving a problem with the product, but go further and understand what’s the pain point of the buyer? What’s the pain point of the person that you’re speaking to? And that creates, what I always say, lead with empathy, with your performance. Understand who you’re talking to, what are their, what’s their pain point, what are their joys and frustrations, and how is it that you and your voice and that product are going to solve that?

Pamela: Yeah. It is, right? I know you teach this in your presentations as well, right, you talk about that. It’s so critical because if I’m doing –

Anne: It is.

Pamela: – like I’ve done e-learning for those in the research community, professors and that type of thing, I better sound fairly intelligent when I do that, right?

Anne: You better sound like you know what you’re talking about, yeah.

Pamela: Exactly. But then I’ve also done curriculum for folks that you know, are working on certain cars, right, the training of the service guys, right, of the service ladies. And it’s a different kind of intelligence that I have to be able to –

Anne: It’s a different pain point too.

Pamela: – speak to them – exactly. To be able to change that nuance in your approach is what again puts you in a different category when people are purchasing.

Anne: And that makes you, that makes you not just a great marketer in understanding that, but also in voiceover and your performance, it makes you a great performer.

Pamela: Yes.

Anne: And also in terms of your marketing products, such as a demo, if you have that understanding and you’re working with a producer who has that understanding, that you’re target marketing certain genres, industries, people, and that becomes part of your performance. That, it all works hand in hand, and I think it’s just a perfect place to wrap up this really intriguing discussion on buyer personas. I think we just don’t think enough about them, and we really need to think a lot about them, a lot more than we probably do.

Pamela: I agree, Anne. I do. [laughs]

Anne: So speaking of buyer personas and one of my favorite, [laughs] favorite personas is Kevin from ipDTL, our sponsor. Love, love, love this program that allows us to really get in tune with our clients. Find out who they are, what they do when they get up in the morning, maybe they drink coffee, maybe they drink tea. Either way it helps to, it helps for all of us to get to know our clients much better through an amazing technology. Find out more at Guys, have a great week.

Pamela: Awesome.

Anne: Yeah. And we’ll talk to you next week.

Pamela: Thank you.

Anne: Bye-bye.

Pamela: Bye!

>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host, Anne Ganguzza, and take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.