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Why do you need a buyer persona? Let’s consider this hypothetical situation.

Your boss tells you she picked you to represent the company in a fishing competition next weekend. It’s a huge deal, a matter of pride both for your boss personally and for the company since you’ll be up against contestants from your main business competitors. You’re excited and not overly worried; after all, you’re a pretty good fisherman and you’ve been fishing for years. You’re confident you can do a good job and represent the company.

You ask your boss for details: what are we trying to catch? Because, of course, you need to know what fish you’re after so you can choose the right rig, the right bait, the best place to look for the fish, and the best time to find them.

But your boss doesn’t have more details for you; you’re a fisherman, she says, just go out and catch some fish – you'll be great! You’re in a panic. What are you supposed to do? Try everything you’ve got, throw out dozens of lines, and stand around hoping something will bite? You need to know what you’re fishing for if you expect to beat your competition.

As the fisherman needs information about the fish, the marketer needs a clear picture of the target customers if he expects to reel them in. That’s where your buyer persona comes in.