Negative Buyer Persona: A Complete Guide for 2024

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By Tomislav

Key Takeaways

Concept and Benefit: Negative buyer personas identify unsuitable customers, optimizing marketing by focusing on ideal segments, saving resources, and enhancing customer satisfaction.
Identification and Creation: Recognize negative personas based on factors like location, income, and buying habits, and develop detailed profiles to guide targeted marketing away from these groups.
Marketing Strategy Integration: Implement negative personas in marketing by adjusting media channels, messaging, and offers, ensuring a focus on more suitable customers and continuously updating strategies based on market trends and feedback.

What is a Negative Buyer Persona?

Every business has a target audience, each with distinct needs, wants, and desires.

Buyer personas simplify this complexity, enabling businesses to deeply understand their target audience.

Most businesses create positive buyer personas, focusing on the qualities of an ideal customer. However, creating negative buyer personas is also beneficial.

Negative buyer personas outline the traits of customers who are difficult or impossible to satisfy.

Understanding these traits helps businesses avoid attracting unsuitable customers, saving time and resources.

Moreover, recognizing negative buyer personas enhances understanding of the ideal customer and their expectations from a product or service.

Benefits of Creating a Negative Buyer Persona

Creating a negative buyer persona doesn’t imply mistreatment of these customers but rather a strategic choice to not actively engage them in marketing efforts.

The major benefits of this approach include:

  • Identifying less ideal customers – Recognizing key characteristics of these customers.
  • Saving marketing budget – Focusing on more promising customer segments.
  • Reducing acquisition costs – Tailoring marketing to exclude negative personas, improving KPI metrics.
  • Enhancing customer satisfaction – Avoiding stress from misaligned business relationships, such as complaints and returns.

Example Reasons for Not Marketing to Negative Buyer Personas

Identifying a negative buyer persona is highly specific and varies by business. However, some common factors include:

  • Location – Issues like high-risk areas, inaccessible terrain, or local regulations.
  • Income – Affordability challenges, leading to higher friction and lower KPIs.
  • Demographics – Generational or cultural differences, incompatible buying habits.
  • Decision Making – Targeting non-decision-makers, who lack authority and receptiveness.
  • Buying Habits – Frequent payment issues, increased returns, and customer support demands.

While it’s impossible to completely avoid less ideal customers, not actively pursuing them can significantly reduce headaches for your business.

How to Create a Negative Buyer Persona

Start by identifying characteristics that signal someone is not a good fit for your product or service.

Common indicators include age, location, income level, and interests.

After pinpointing key characteristics, develop a detailed profile.

Assign them a name and a face, and flesh out their life story.

The more specific you are, the more realistic your persona.

Your final profile should provide a clear understanding of who your negative buyer persona is and their motivations.

Keep this profile accessible for reference when crafting marketing messages.

Remember, a negative buyer persona isn’t a bad person; they’re just not suitable for your business.

How to Implement a Negative Buyer Persona into Your Marketing Strategy

Having identified your negative buyer persona, examine your marketing spend.

Assess where your ads are placed, the messaging used, and how to adjust your strategy to avoid these buyers.

Strategies to consider:

  • Review your media mix to ensure you’re not targeting channels favored by your negative persona. Redirect spend towards channels reaching your ideal buyer.
  • Analyze your creative. Ensure messaging appeals to your ideal buyer, not your negative persona.
  • Evaluate your offer. Adjust your product or service to attract your ideal buyer and deter your negative persona.

Implementing a negative buyer persona refines your focus on buyers more likely to engage with your business.

Negative Buyer Persona Questions

To help you craft a negative buyer persona, here are 30 questions to help you get some clarity on your least wanted customers.

Not all will be relevant to your business, product or service but use them as a guideline and an inspiration.

Demographic Information

  1. What is the age range of the customer who is not suitable for our product/service?
  2. What level of education do these customers typically have?
  3. What is their typical employment status (e.g., unemployed, part-time, full-time)?
  4. What income range do they fall into that makes them unsuitable for our offerings?
  5. In which geographical locations are these customers predominantly found?

Psychographic Traits

  1. What values or beliefs do they hold that clash with our brand or product?
  2. What are their primary fears or concerns related to products/services in our industry?
  3. How do they generally perceive our brand or similar brands?
  4. What hobbies or interests do they have that are irrelevant to our product/service?
  5. What is their preferred lifestyle that does not align with our product/service?

Shopping and Buying Habits

  1. What is their typical decision-making process when purchasing products/services in our category?
  2. How sensitive are they to price changes in our product category?
  3. What factors lead them to choose competitor products over ours?
  4. What type of promotional offers or marketing tactics do they dislike or ignore?
  5. How do they prefer to shop (online, in-store) and why is this a mismatch for us?

Technology Usage

  1. What digital platforms do they frequently use (or avoid) that are critical to our marketing strategy?
  2. How tech-savvy are they, and how does this impact their interaction with our product/service?
  3. What devices do they commonly use (or not use) that are essential for our product/service?
  4. Do they engage with social media, and which platforms are they least active on?
  5. How do they react to technology-driven changes in the market related to our industry?

Customer Service and Support Expectations

  1. What level of customer support do they expect, and how does this misalign with what we offer?
  2. How do they prefer to communicate with customer service (phone, email, chat), and does this differ from our primary channels?
  3. What are their typical complaints or issues with products/services in our category?
  4. Do they have unrealistic expectations regarding product guarantees or return policies?
  5. What are their attitudes towards feedback and surveys?

Relationship with the Brand

  1. How likely are they to be loyal to a brand, and what drives their loyalty away from us?
  2. What kind of brand messaging or values do they negatively respond to?
  3. Do they participate in any brand advocacy or referral programs, and why might they be disinterested in ours?
  4. How do they perceive our brand compared to competitors?
  5. What past experiences have they had with our brand or similar brands that were negative?

Continuously Updating Your Negative Buyer Persona

For an effective marketing strategy, keep your negative buyer persona current.

Methods for updating:

  • Regularly review marketing campaigns to identify patterns of attracting the wrong customers and adjust accordingly.
  • Monitor industry news and trends for changes attracting undesired customers, adjusting your strategy to avoid them.
  • Seek feedback from current customers on any aspects attracting the wrong audience, enabling timely changes.

By staying vigilant, you ensure your marketing strategy effectively avoids the wrong customer base.