To see through customers’ eyes, create buyer personas.
Buyer personas expand marketing’s authority 5 ways.
Adele Revella’s new book Buyer Personas just came out. It’s the #1 new direct marketing book on Amazon, with good reason: buyer personas help you see the purchase process through the eyes of customers.
Content marketers, this book is for you, especially when you work on medium- and high-consideration purchases, including:
• B2C purchases such as a car, college education or retirement plan
• Large B2B purchases that involve large teams and take months to decide, such as software, hardware, professional services and facilities.
Adele dedicates the book “to every marketer who questions the wisdom of making stuff up.” By delving deep into the art and science of creating buyer personas, she provides marketers with a handy set of tools to gain deep buyer insights.
Among the many valuable lessons in the book, I found Adele’s 5 types of buying insights most enlightening. As you interview buyers to create buyer personas, these insights are the nut – what you’re really going after:
1. Priority Initiatives: Gain a view into the genesis of buyers’ decisions to make a change. What were the triggering events and pain points? Who were the people that set buyers’ decision-making into motion? What pushed buyers to go beyond the status quo and set out on a buying journey?
2. Success Factors: See why buyers keep moving forward. What positive changes did buyers expect to gain? Or, which scenarios did buyers believe would change after the purchase? What would change in terms of practical outcomes, business outcomes and buyers’ personal aspirations?
3. Perceived Barriers: See the obstacles that buyers encounter – and must resolve. What prevented buyers from addressing the problem(s) sooner? Did certain people get in the way of change? Did previous negative experiences cause buyers to shy away? Were needed capabilities missing from the solutions that buyers considered?
4. Decision Criteria: Peer into the “what and how” of buying decisions. Which specific features or capabilities were most important to buyers during the buying journey? What exactly did buyers want to learn?
5. Buyer’s Journey: Observe the internal workings of teams behind buying decisions. Who has input, who’s the recommender and who’s the decision-maker? Who all was involved? What did buyers do to evaluate the options? What are the learning habits of various team members?
Deep insights into buyer personas lay the foundations for great content marketing. You can’t get these insights from sales, distributors or product developers; you only get them directly from buyers. Without such buyer insights, marketers fly blind, forced to make stuff up based on second-hand information.
Buyer persona insights can make you the customer expert, extending your authority. Armed with buyer insights, you can:
• Become a strategic resource to the company, someone invited into strategic discussions of buyer behavior.
• Help set product strategies based on buyer insights.
• Build buyer personas for new products, avoiding unforeseen obstacles to successful product launches.
• Link specific features in product concepts to benefits that buyers expect, gaining buyers’ input before committing to product launches.
• Envision buyers’ needs years in advance, so you can help guide the company’s overall strategic planning.
Adele heads up the Buyer Persona Institute. I first learned about the power of buyer personas from her workshop at Content Marketing World.
Just imagine how much more powerful your content marketing could become with deep insights into buyer personas. Read Buyer Personas — before your competitors do.
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.