Buyer Personas (by Adele Revella)
I picked up this book via David Meerman Scott’s work as he talks a lot about crafting personas for marketing teams.
While our company won’t be adopting the exact methodology thats described (it follows quite an unscripted style of interviewing) I do think there is wisdom in reminding ourselves of the absolute importance of knowing and understanding our customers.
I realize this sounds very ‘marketing 101’ but experience tells me that often there’s less methodology and more guessing behind this.
A caveat before you buy this book: it’s worth noting that it focuses on products and services at the high consideration end of the scale and suggests that this is the area that buyer personas/interviews can add the most value.
For me I’ve found developing personas hugely useful in the website user experience area and so it was interesting to learn that this was where the term first came from.
Adele tells the story in the book of a developer named Alan Cooper who first came up with the idea of personas – as the story goes he was working through a problem and created an imaginary user in his head that he would test his ideas against. (He’s also written a book called the Inmates are Running the Asylum).
An easy trap to fall into when creating personas is using stereotypes – for more on this have a read of this fabulous blog on the Envy Collection site – Are Stereotypes Harming Your Marketing.
Some of my favourite snippets on Buyer Personas…
(all quotes directly from the book)
- In the simplest terms, buyer personas are examples or archetypes of real buyers that allow marketers to craft strategies to promote products and services to the people who might buy them.
- Too often, Buyer Profiles are nothing more than an attractive way to display obvious or demographic data
- When you interview your buyers, you will learn that price is rarely the deciding factor in high-consideration buying decision
- Defining markets based on demographics—data such as a person’s age, income, marital status, and education—is the legacy of 60 years of selling to the mass market.
- At any meeting where your buyers’ opinion is relevant, make an effort to start your sentence with, “We’ve been listening to buyers and here’s what they think.”
Note: full title of this book is Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into your Customer’s Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business.