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Defining Buyer Personas for Your Community Bank

Defining Buyer Personas for Your Community Bank

When it comes to choosing a bank, we all want safety, stability, and support. But at varying stages of life, those terms mean something different to everyone. For a parent, financial stability means the ability to open a college savings fund for their child. To a young married couple, it might mean securing a low mortgage interest rate. To a business owner, stability means access to low-risk investment options. And for millennials, stability depends on flexibility. Institutions that offer easy, on-the-go banking via mobile app will have a distinct advantage with this demographic.

Behind every checking account, there is a person. And if you can unpack that person’s concerns and motivations, you can earn their loyalty and trust as a customer. In marketing, we call this process “buyer persona development.” We begin by profiling customers based on their shared traits and objectives. Then, we use those profiles to create effective, personalized marketing campaigns for your business.

Before we identify specific buyer personas for community banks, let’s discuss what buyer personas are and how they can provide useful insight for any business.

What is a buyer persona? 

Buyer personas are semi-fictional profiles of your ideal customers. Typically, buyer personas are created using market research and data from your existing customers. In other words, these profiles represent your current clients as well as the clients you’d like to have. Most businesses can group their clients into four to six distinct buyer personas, but your bank may require as many as twenty. Buyer personas should always include details like age, income range, job title, interests, goals, and challenges. But they can also include reading habits, behavior patterns, and a variety of other qualities that can influence decision-making.

Creating detailed buyer personas helps you retain and attract customers by bringing their wants and needs into sharp focus. Then, your organization can align with and address those needs accordingly. What kind of customers are most valuable to your business? And what features, products, and services do those customers care most about? Answering these questions will help you decide where and how to spend your marketing efforts.

Now, let’s explore some example buyer personas for community banks. These personas may or may not represent the customers who are important to your bank specifically. But this list should serve as a helpful point of reference as you begin to develop personas for your bank.

Investor Ike 

Age: 40-55 

Income Range: $80-140K  

Financial Goals: Ike has a respected position in the company he works for and is a high-income earner. He has a 401K and other savings. Although he can probably pay for his child’s college education out of pocket, he still wants to see his savings grow. Ike did not think to invest his money until now and doesn’t know where to begin. He has some knowledge of trade on the stock market, but he is short on time because of his busy schedule.  

Challenges: Finding the time and means to invest wisely.

Entrepreneurial Edith 

Age: 30-45 

Income Range: $60K-100K 

Financial Goals: Edith launched her own start-up a year ago and the business has grown very fast. Now, she is looking to establish an ongoing relationship with a bank for her business. Although she has an accountant, Edith likes to investigate and compare all the options herself. In the future, she will be interested in taking out loans to support business expansion.  

Challenges: Finding a personable bank that understands the local market and offers loans for business expansion.


 Joint AccounCouple
Brian & Jenna 

Age: 30-45  

Income Range: $40-120K combined income  

Financial Goals: Brian and Jenna are a young couple with two children.They both have full-time jobs in addition to managing all the activities their children are involved with. When the children go to bed, Jenna begins balancing the checkbook. She and Brian know that they need to start saving more. Their recent down payment on a house left a big hole in their savings account.  

Challenges: Paying off their mortgage, setting up a college savings fund for each of their kids, and saving for retirement.  

Executive Ethan 

Age: 45-55 

Income Range: $80-160K 

Financial Goals: Ethan is a chief financial officer (CFO) at a growing corporation. Recently, he was tasked with securing smart investments for the company. Ethan has a team of employees to assist him, but ultimately, he is responsible for making this important decision. Ethan’s company is prepared to invest a sizable amount and take risks, but his colleagues are depending on him to ensure a return on these investments.

Challenges: Finding a bank that is knowledgeable and experienced enough to guide him and his company through this process.


Millennial Megan 

Age: 20-30 

Income Range: $20-40K  

Financial Goals: Megan graduated from college last month, so she is now living on her own. She is working hard to pay off her student loan debt, in addition to monthly bills and living expenses. Until now, Megan has been financially dependent on her parents. Megan doesn’t have a financial plan for the future – she only thinks a few months ahead. While she will most likely continue to use the same bank as her parents, a low interest credit card with a low minimum credit score requirement and a user-friendly mobile app could persuade her to open an account elsewhere. Once she opens this account, Megan will likely stay with that bank for a long time. For her, closing an account will be too much trouble.  

Challenges: New to managing her finances, not financially stable, more comfortable banking online than in person.

Wrapping Up

We hope you recognized some of your bank’s customers in these buyer personas. But if not, create your own personas using this simple tool from our friends at HubSpot. The more lifelike your buyer personas are, the more useful they will be to you and your marketing team.

Want more tips and insights from MCG? You’re in luck. We wrote this helpful guide to digital marketing for banks, and it’s totally free to download. Click here to snag your copy!