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posted by Keely Saye Nov 27,2013 @ 12:24PM

Notes from The Buyer Persona Manifesto

We've all heard it time and time again. "Content is king." WE GET IT ALREADY. Or wait, maybe we don't. I've been studying the concept of buyer personas for years now, but it was only recently that I found the proven process and deep dive I'd been looking for. Adele Revella, President of the Buyer Persona Institute has it figured out. Here are some key take aways from her ebook The Buyer Persona Manifesto.

Confessions of a buyer persona evangelist

Looking back, I have to confess how critical that execution piece is.

It is not like scissors, something anyone can pick up and use right away.

The payoff goes way beyond impressive sales growth.

Applied with skill and determination, this tool can transform marketing from a passive, outward-facing function to a key source of strategic insight closely watched - and respected - by top management.

This ebook is not a how-to guide for dabblers. It is a manifesto for radical transformation, aimed at progressive B2B marketers who won't sit still for the status quo.

So what is a buyer persona?

An archetype, a composite picture of the real people who buy, or might buy, products like the ones you sell.

An avatar you craft from what you learn in direct interviews with as many buyers as possible.

The person becomes three dimensional to the point that you can see the world through his or her eyes.

Reveals the story behind the business that DOESN'T come to you.

Core Buyer Persona - Seeks to understand the buyer in his own environment.

Product Persona Connection - Reveals the buyer's attitudes about your product and company.

What can the buyer persona help you see?

When I came across the answer I felt like an anthropologist discovering a lost tribe in the Upper Amazon.

Who we should have sought were those who had the problem we aimed to solve on the desk in front of them.

We'd spent years talking to the wrong end of the horse.

What I learned about these buyers did not come on slides with bar graphs and pie charts. It came from immersing myself in their world to learn what motivated and frustrated them, and to understand what consumed their time and budget.

What you don't know, what you need to know

I've actually seen teams get bogged down in debating whether the buyer persona is blond or brunette. Let's short-circuit all that by listing what you really need.

The buyer persona needs to deliver five key insights: 1) Priority Initiatives, 2) Success Factors, 3) Perceived Barriers, 4) Buying Process, and 5) Decision Criteria

For more information on the Five Rings of Insight, download the Buyer Persona Manifesto.

Interviewing in search of light

To get the required insights you have to talk - well, mostly listen - directly to buyers.

To get value from buyer personas, your team needs to be involved in the interviews from start to finish.

Your people have got to be in on it - because this isn't a peripheral, one-off project. This is the core of your marketing effort.

Learn who to interview and what questions to ask by downloading the ebook at

Putting your insights to work

Marketing now knows who down the ladder can initiate the discussion. Now that they clearly understand the buying process, the team may decide (for example) that an early pitch to the CIO is a waste of time and resources. CIO sign-off may be essential in the end, though, so top-level support must be built as the process moves along.

Understand what events trigger the search for solutions.

Having identified where buyers begin looking for solutions, the team targets the events, online forums, magazines, bloggers and influential columnists they look to.

When freed from wading through gobbledy-gook to find the information they need, buyers are not only grateful but more likely to trust you.

Let your creative team hear the buyer's authentic voice: the words and metaphors they choose; how formal or informal they are.

To implement your buyer persona insights the team will inevitably have to overcome internal opposition.

How the buyer's voice empowers marketing

I can't bear to watch the wasted budget and talent when marketers exist only to execute the will of functions higher up the totem poll, churning out information into a marketplace that is seldom impressed.

Marketing holds little sway over the strategic direction of the company, and that isn't going to change until marketers can bring decisive input to the table. This is where the buyer persona has the power to drive radical change.

These key take aways are just the tip of the iceberg in the never ending quest to learn more about our buyer personas. Download The Buyer Persona Manifesto to begin your marketing journey.

posted by Cathy Monetti Nov 21,2013 @ 08:20AM

Turning Oh No! to Oh Yes!

Caravan is an online store that brings its customers very swell digital artwork downloads at very reasonable prices. It's the brainchild of Alma and Mike Loveland, and Melanie Burke, art director/designer types who get great joy from making (and sharing) beautiful things. And it shows.

They're also very smart marketers. Take this morning's email, for instance.



Caravan turned a tough couple of days into serious customer goodwill with this fabulous giveaway targeted to the very customers who experienced the frustration of technical issues. They no doubt recovered some purchases that were long gone, and they offered a wonderful promotion to subscribers who may not have even been aware of the server overload in the first place.

What a great lesson in recovery marketing. Bravo to them.

NOTE: Don't you want this fun Draw Together Thanksgiving set for your family table? There is so much to love at Caravan!

posted by Apprentices Nov 13,2013 @ 01:05AM

Twitter Isn't Facebook, Or How I Started A Conversation With 1200 People

Twitter's celebratory IPO debut reignited a common conversation among my family and friends. "I tried to join Twitter, but I just don't get it."

I admit, when I first joined the social network in 2007 I didn't really get it either. Who should I follow? Where were all my friends? Most importantly, what am I supposed to tweet about? My account sat neglected for a while. Then one day, it hit me. My biggest problem with Twitter? It's not Facebook. Once I accepted this truth, my entire experience changed.

Here are four steps I took to solve my Twitter conundrum.

1. In the words of Keely Saye, I got down with OPC (Other People's Content.)

Twitter is not the place to post status updates. Ok, I talk about myself, but Twitter should be a two way conversation. Today most of my tweets fall primarily into a two categories: Phish (my favorite band) and Live Music, in general. Most of my followers and the people I follow share my passion for these topics. We exchange content found on the web, debate the merits of our favorite jams, and occasionally gather at concerts for "tweetups." So how do you start your own conversation?

Find your passion(s). Follow people who share content you love - not just celebrities, but anyone consistently tweeting greatness. You can use the #Discover link to find them. Want to talk turkey? Here you go.

In fancy Inbound Marketing speak this is called content stalking.Retweet the content you like, favorite it, or send an @reply to chat with the tweeter. Let them know you appreciate their content. People love being appreciated. In fact they love it so much, many of the people you retweet are likely to start following you back. But in order to start a conversation, they have to be able to find you, which leads us to step 2.

2. I went public.

Since the dawn of social media I've been warned to keep all of my profiles on lock down. While I do keep my Facebook account fairly private, when it comes to Twitter I take a very different stance. Anyone can find, read, and reply to anything I post on Twitter. But, I also adhere to the Julie Smith Turner Golden Rule Of Twitter Smarts: Don't tweet anything you wouldn't want your mom to see.

When you open your feed to a variety of perspectives, the conversation is a lot more interesting. Soon you'll need to find an easier way to keep up.

3. I found an app for that.

Downloading an app to your phone or tablet is essential for optimum Twitter enjoyment. It's the best way to experience the network for what it's meant to be, a continuous stream you can jump into any time. I've personally grown to love Twitter's official app, but I've tried several different platforms including Tweetcaster, TwitBird, and Echofon.

After a few years of active Twitter conversation I began to feel like I was missing something: all of that great content I loved discovering. Where did it go? Well, turns out it was still there. The problem? I was following too many people, and I wasn't really interested in everything showing up in my feed. So I made a decision.

4. I stopped following accounts I don't enjoy.

Twitter isn't Facebook. Try not to take it personally if someone unfollows you, and don't be afraid to unfollow people who aren't sharing content you love. If the conversation becomes diluted with too many topics, it can come to a complete stop when you find yourself overwhelmed.

How do I know a great tweeter when I see one? These people (and brands!) are tweeting content that fits my niche, gives me something to think about, and is generally uplifting. They'll get my follow. No trolls or spammers allowed. The best accounts on twitter are run by people who've figured it out. Twitter isn't Facebook. Crowd participation is encouraged.

posted by Kevin Smith Nov 06,2013 @ 06:46AM

Own Your Contradictions: How to make the most of confusion around the work you do

Brand strategy is nothing more than the truth. Like great strategy, the truth is simple. That doesn’t mean it is easy.

What makes the truth difficult is the uncomfortable debate, the idiosyncratic exception or the inherent contradiction. And therein lies the opportunity.

Rick Ridgeway, VP of Environmental Affairs at Patagonia, recently penned an essay, “The Elephant in the Room.” Ridgeway acknowledges that while Patagonia has enjoyed growth, continued growth is ecologically unsustainable. He admits Patagonia’s “uneasy relationship with growth,” and continues a dialogue began on Black Friday of 2011 with Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad in the New York Times, something I blogged about in 2011.

Likewise, there is discussion at Riggs Partners regarding our own growth and profit relative to our emphasis on pro bono, love of nonprofit work and embrace of the cause du jour. Let the “what abouts” continue, as business is nothing but the commerce of constant course correction.

Business complexities shouldn’t cause confusion; they should prompt candor and clarity through conversation.




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