Without Questions you cannot develop Buyer Personas
It’s true, without questions you cannot develop buyer personas. To construct a persona without interviewing a pool of people that have and haven’t purchased a product or service from your company, you are simply reverse engineering. If you reverse engineer, you are assuming a customer exists for your product based on its functions and capabilities. There is no data or definitive methodology behind that.
An example of that would be Hubspot, a leading marketing automation platform with an annual cost of around £8,500 saying that their ideal customer is one looking for a marketing automation platform.
That in itself is laughable. There are currently 50 to 60 marketing automation platforms of varying sizes, capabilities and functionality available at different costs of entry. So that isn’t their ideal customer.
Hubspot would have to interview its users and objectors to find out
- What differentiates them from the rest
- Why their users chose them over their peers
- Why those that didn’t buy their platform, chose an alternative provider
- Who made the ultimate decision to buy
- Who were the “naysayers” in the decision process and why
This is not an exhaustive list of questions but you can get the general gist of where I am going and hopefully start to see why I am following this path.
Aren’t you tired of underachieving?
If you are reading this post I have to assume that you have some level of interest in how personas support the marketing messaging process. But that isn’t all they are of use for!
If you correctly build your personas and identify
- Which social media channels they operate in
- What platforms they use to find content
- What formats of content they prefer
- What they consider successful about your product or service
- Which persona triggers the buying process for an investment of this type
- What they consider bad news about your product or service
This is great for what to say and where to put it, but it will also help you define who your audiences are for placement of paid search marketing adverts.
By doing all of that you can also
- Shorten your sales cycle by aligning your marketing and sales teams goals and achieve up to 20% annual growth (2010 study by the Anderson Group)
- Accelerate your consistency of higher quality leads
- Know how to collect the information on a consistent basis
- Stop being overly generic and broad within your marketing messaging
So you have to ask yourself if you are tired of underachieving and would like to do something that effectively underpins the whole of your marketing strategy?
Developing your buyer personas are akin to laying deep foundations for the tallest skyscraper. You would just build it from the flat of the earth and hope it doesn’t fall over, would you? No!
Marketing, like anything else, needs a solid and stable base to develop from. So please stop going for likes and shares, throwing content out that you think a person looking for your product or service needs to know and start aiming for measured success on a continuing basis. It’s factually proven that you cannot reverse engineer success in marketing and sales so accept that without questions you cannot develop buyer personas and start doing the basics correctly.