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The real goal of personas is to create marketing that is relevant, engaging and that makes an impact. In order to connect with buyers, we need to deeply understand what matters to them… what keeps them up at night, etc.
And that brings me to Parker. We’ve all been there – at the grocery store, or Target or in line at Starbucks. And there is the screaming child, throwing themselves on the ground and freaking out because they want the candy, the toy, the coffee… no, not the coffee, the cupcake. And now that I’m a parent, I’m allowed to judge. Kidding. But it’s shocking to me how often parents engage in a very irrelevant connversation with these screaming kids. Most often, they respond with anger. Now… if Parker is really upset, me getting angry with her won’t help. To get through to Parker, I need to connect with her in a relevant way. You can’t have the cupcake for breakfast, but what if we buy it and have it after lunch? Or, we’re not here to buy you a toy but we do need a birthday present for your cousin, would you like to pick one out?
So in some ways, marketing to your buyers is a little like communicating with toddlers.
Start with something super foundational.
In fact, I bet most of us do.
And yet when we’re talking about targeting at the top of the funnel, the people feel abstract. They aren’t people but representations of people and I think that’s why we sometimes lose sight of the people themselves and default to broader based, one-size fits all messages. This is true for B2C as much as B2B. A million 35 year old, single women are still a million people and so the things that make that group very unique might get glossed over in our mass marketing messages.
Explain who these people are…
They don’t treat us like people. They treat us like corporate cliches.
How many times have you been targeted with an ad or gotten an email with this kind of boring stock photography? Even companies that do a great job of getting to know their buyer… still resort to very generic, one size fits all messages. At the heart of a great persona is a marketing strategy that connects with buyers… that drives engagement. If you resort to generic marketing tactics, you’re not using your personas the way you should.
How am I as a buyer supossed to relate to this? It’s kind of lazy. Just because we all get the crystal ball analogy, it doesn’t mean it speaks to buyers on an emotional level. Tell the moneyball story – I like it because it works, but it’s still a little lazy. Pick on some B2C brands or industries that also resort to generic imagery – (pregnant anecdote… didn’t relate to some of the mass marketing) – it’s harder to be clever. It’s harder to find something that people can relate to.
Held this assumption… but didn’t spend the time to really get to know the buyer. We understood what drove them, sure. But not some of the more personal or human aspects of their personas. Come to find out, there was more lurking beneath the surface. Our marketing was conservative and a bit buttoned up.
And then we learned this and it forced us to rethink our personas. So we interviewed some of them again… and come to find out, they all had this sort of double life. They knew people thought of them as the serious, rule enforcers.
Maybe this should say, marketing doesn’t have to be boring. Think about marketing you love and why you love it. Does it tug at your emotions? Does it make you laugh? Chances are, it resonates with you on a personal level.
I’m not here to tell you how to create personas… there are a million resources that can show you how to do that. Google it. There are tons of templates and ideas out there if that’s your problem. Going to try to show where the nuances matter and how to actually use them instead of letting them collect dust in dropbox
Laser like focus on one goal and one goal only.
Talk about what it actually does. And you may be saying, wow – that’s lucky, your target persona is actually yourself? It is but it’s also very deliberate. I have gotten spoiled.
Whole bunch of other stuff… where and how I consume information, associations and groups, values, goals, problems, etc.
Execs don’t care how easy your life is.
Even in B2B… if you sell to Dad, the purchase probably has to get cleared by Mom. If you sell to brides, there is the bride’s mom and bridesmaids and mother-in-law and in some cases, the fiance even has a voice.
Fear and personal advancement are always good motivators and they are fairly universal.
Personal advancement and fear are great motivators and are fairly universal.
But make sure you pay it off within the content too.
This works for all our personas because we either are a CMO or care about pleasing one. But we can’t always be targeted at the top of the funnel – you prioritize your most important persona and where you can’t be super targeted, use the message that will resonate most with that audience.
This is just about engagement.
Didn’t work at DF – don’t force fit just cause it’s a good idea.
Square Peg, round hole.
Didn’t work at DF – don’t force fit just cause it’s a good idea.
Sometimes when it’s hard to be targeted (like TOFU or big events) you should focus on the biggest persona opps.
1 Review past purchase data – look for big trends; Stay close to your lead and opportunity data – know who you attract; Interview sales, customers & the ones that got away
2. You need to walk in their shoes. You need to truly understand what makes them tick, what keeps them up at night. Interview them, lean on VCs for intro, go to meetups, join groups… personas aren’t just for marketing – the most successful sales reps deeply understand their buyers and there is an authenticity to their communications that can’t be faked.
3. New info will emerge, new buyers will emerge, your company will evolve and grow. Don’t be complacent and assume you have it all figured out. -
Talk about the marketing associate anecdote at Eloqua
4. With that said – it’s not rocket surgery. Don’t feel the need to revise just for the sake of revising. Keep it simple.
5. Stay close to your deals, review opp data to know who was part of a deal.
I’ve made these mistakes so you don’t have to!
#2 – this buyer showed up in this deal. You need more data.
Personas aren’t just for marketing – they must inform the sales process and sales interactions. The best reps know what makes their buyers tick and they know how to reach them without being annoying. Write three emails for sales targeted at different buyers. Help them speak the language. Dumb down the persona into a battlecard.