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 buyerpersona.com/ebook
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.