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I’ve recently written about Persona Based Marketing, which led to some interesting responses and a follow on post.

Persona Based Marketing is based on designing buyer journeys for your prospects assuming you can group them into several key “individual types”. It is a technique for businesses to be able to better relate to their key buyers and deliver better tuned marketing content and messaging. Using Persona Based Marketing organizations get to know their buyers better, how they like to purchase, what are the ways to connect and communicate to them, and what they think about your products.

Persona Based Marketing is focused on answering questions such as:

  • Who is the customer?
  • How do customers make buying decisions?
  • What do buyers like most about our products/services?
  • What type of information customers prefer during the buying cycle?
  • What are the best ways to communicate with prospects and/or existing customers?

Once implemented, the potential benefits Persona Based Marketing brings are:

  1. Deeper understanding of your buyers
  2. Improved sales and marketing results
  3. Better structure for marketing and sales decisions, from product decisions to priorities

If you are considering Persona Based Marketing here are the 5 things you need to know before committing:

  1. Manual effort

Persona Based Marketing is a manual process that is time consuming to go through and maintain. You need to collect information, define personas, validate them and afterwards start to tailor all your marketing content and campaigns towards it. There is a lot of manual labor involved and it will be probably impossible to cover all potential buyers using this method.

  1. Ignoring Non Existing personas

Since Persona Based Marketing is focused on creating buyer “typecasts” there is a high risk of overlooking certain buyer types. Since this is a manual effort targeting the key personas it actually encourages you to ignore smaller groups of personas or individuals that don’t fall into specific groups, which means you are back to square one, if not worse as your personas focused content may scare away Non Existing Personas prospects

  1. Static

Since it is all based on manual effort it is hard to identify more personas and add them into the mix. Eventually you do not want a Website that caters to 50 different types of people. This means whatever personas you started with you are stuck with them for a while now.

  1. Not really personal

Once as a business we group Personas and treat them all the same – using all marketing and sales communications in the same way with this specific group, we are not delivering a personal experience but a Group experience. Two potential buyers from financial services organizations can still have different preferences, behaviors and can be in different stages of the buyer journey. Why would you treat them the same?

  1. Analytics

When a business decides to communicate with X Personas it means that the audience interacting with the business must fall into one of X journeys. Otherwise they will not get the type of information they need. This means the business is forcing the audience to X journeys instead of analyzing the dynamic journeys the individuals are making. On one hand you are analyzing known journeys so your analytics feedback is very limited and on the other hand there is no way to find out other behaviors that were not designed before hand

If you want to learn more about Persona Based Marketing and more modern alternatives such as Segmentation or Personalization see Persona Based Marketing, Segments and Real Time Personalization – connecting the dots