Don’t Do Personas for Personas’ Sake

Formed by combining demographic attributes with preferences, personas embody a type of buyer. A frequent misconception I see as an analyst is when companies presume they should do personas simply because personas are a best practice. So, they embark on a project to create some personas and post them to a server thinking their goal was accomplished, never touching them again. This is a big mistake.

Persona exercises are a means to an end; they are not a deliverable in and of themselves. A completed persona template should feed messaging development, campaign strategy and become a core component of the market requirements document (MRD) for innovation strategy.

In addition, avoid making the personas too esoteric or over-designing them to the point that they distract from the core content. The focus should be on capturing individual customer knowledge to build up customer subject matter expertise and develop more customer-centric campaigns, messaging and innovation.

So much of today’s sales content goes unused because it’s generic, lacks relevance and delivers lightweight or vague value statements that don’t resonate with buyers. Leverage personas to display comprehension of a customer segment that enables the shaping of powerful messaging and useful content. The more thorough your understanding of the buyer, the more meaningful the messaging you create will be.

Product strategists will be among the biggest beneficiaries. Understanding buyer personas is a best practice to ensure that a new offering’s discovery and design process is founded not only on the needs of the end user, but also on those of the buyer. When leveraged properly, buyer personas are a key driver of customer-centric innovation.

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