3 realistic scenarios when creating cross border buyer personas

Imagine you are in one of the following three situations, what do you do to create a cross border buyer persona?

  1. You are in Europe and your colleagues from the US Head Quarters or Corporate have given you a buyer persona to work with; what to do?
  2. You are in one country and you want to create a local persona together with other countries who want a local persona; where can you work together and gain efficiencies?
  3. You are in Europe and you want to create buyer personas for EMEA or global; where to start?

Scenario 1: The persona from Corporate / HQ

When you’re given a buyer persona profile by Corporate to use in your local / regional market, you will have to be aware that you need to validate the findings before applying the persona locally.

As you can see in the image below, this is a typical breakfast table in the UK, what does it look like in your country? Do you really think that a Frenchman will be eating baked beans and sausages for breakfast? It might seem obvious that you cannot use the same buyer persona profile, but it’s not always easy to know where to start. Here’s what to do:

To do: Create a local version of Corporate persona

How: Additional qualitative local research (interviews)

Result: Insights in local information needs and local buying behaviour

Scenario 2: Starting a joint European buyer persona project

Imagine you’re a marketing manager in Germany and your colleague, marketing manager in The Netherlands, is asking you to join forces in a buyer persona project. How can you gain efficiencies by working together?  Here’s what to do:

To do: Agree on way of working and take it step by step


  • EMEA/Global research (joint)
  • Additional local research (local but using same method/interview technique)
  • Validate your findings

Result: Insights in local information needs and local buying behaviour, whilst effectively using budget

Scenario 3: International buyer personas, starting from scratch

Imagine you are responsible for marketing in a large region whether global or European and you want to create buyer personas which can be used across countries in multiple countries and multiple industries. Where do you start?

To do: Choose a pilot – start with one industry, several countries or roles


  • EMEA/Global research
  • Additional local research
  • Validate your findings

Result: Insights that can be used in each country and that can be built on in the future

How to be successful at creating international buyer personas?

  • Get buy in from management, marketing and sales across the company / countries
  • Don’t develop too many buyer personas at the same time
  • Validate findings (mix qualitative and quantitative research)
  • Personas only add value if you invest time to develop them properly
  • Evolve the personas over time

Good luck! By the way did I mention that qualitative research is the best way to go? It might seem difficult when your market is spread out, but please don’t go for quantitative research only, this will not give you proper insights in buying behaviour. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at [email protected] or [email protected]

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