Posts Tagged ‘marketing insight’

Do You Know Who Your Buyer Personae Are?

The industry consensus is that each brand needs to have a suite of ‘buyer personae’, or differentiated identities for all of the different sorts of people who buy your product or service.  But what are the buyer personae for your brand? Do you need them? How do you develop them, and what are the mistakes to avoid?

A buyer persona is like an individualised profile for different groups of consumers who are your customers, both actual and potential.  In order to deliver strategic and targeted messages to them, the prevailing wisdom is that you develop a profile for each of these market segments, and sell to them ‘individually’, as it were.

So, how do you develop the buyer personae for your business?  Adele Revella of the Buyer Persona Institute advises that there are four key mistakes to avoid when developing your authentic buyer personae.  In general terms it seems the key is  actually talking to buyers, and here are the 4 Key Mistakes to avoid:

1. Making stuff up about buyers

To target your buyers effectively, you will need to uncover specific insights that are unknown to your competitors or anyone inside your company. This information will be so valuable that you would never post it on your website. However, it will tell you, with scary accuracy, exactly what you need to do to deliver content that persuades buyers to choose you.  The only way to gather clear, unexpected insights about how your buyers make decisions is to have a conversation with them, so make it a priority to spend a few hours a month interviewing recent buyers, including those who chose you and those who did not, and importantly discovering both why they did buy from you, and why they did not.

2. Getting sidetracked by irrelevant trivia

It doesn’t help you when developing these buyer personas to get bogged down in the detail.  You  really need only five insights:

  • Priority initiatives: What are the three to five problems or objects that your buyer persona dedicates time, budget, and political capital to?
  • Success factors: What are the tangible or intangible metrics or rewards that the buyer associates with success, such as “grow revenue by X” or a promotion?
  • Perceived barriers: What factors could prompt the buyer to question whether your company and its solution can help with achieving his or her success factors? This is when you begin to uncover unseen factors, such as competing interests, politics, or prior experiences with your company or a similar company.
  • Buying process: What process does this persona follow in exploring and selecting a solution that can overcome the perceived barriers and achieve their success factors?
  • Decision criteria: What aspects of each product will the buyer assess in evaluating the alternative solutions available? To be useful, the decision criteria should include insights both from buyers who chose a competitor and those who decide not to buy a solution at all.

3.    Developing too many buyer personae

If you differentiate your market too much then you find your marketing strategy is too segmented and becomes unwieldy and overly complex.  Set a limit on how many market personae you want to develop and make differentiations between them only if the differences are critical to purchasing decisions.

4.    Conducting scripted Q&A interviews with buyers

Although using a script when interviewing buyers seems like a smart strategy, what you are doing is actually pre-baking your customers’ answers.  Instead, have a list of core information you need to capture, and so long as you tick those off, keep the conversation relaxed and focussed on the customer, not on the information you are trying to discover.

If you are just starting the process of developing buyer personae, then you might find the tools that Ms Revella has developed to be quite useful.  She has shared with all of us (thanks Adele!)  her Core Buyer Persona Template which is a very useful tool in beginning this process.

By avoiding the 4 key mistakes in developing buyer personae, your buyers’ needs will be the focus of your marketing strategies and tactics. You’ll become so attuned to your buyers’ perspective that you will consistently impress them, confidently delivering content that answers their questions and persuades them to choose you.

Let me know your thoughts on developing buyer personae.  Is this something you are already doing in your business? Is it working for you? I would love to know your thoughts.

Yours in PR

Re-Branding or Just Window-Dressing?

When is re-branding a meritorious attempt to reintroduce a product, concept or service into the market, and when is it just mere window dressing with no tangible outcome whatsoever?  This is an important question worth considering prior to any attempt to re-brand something, as has been observed in yet the latest attempt to re-brand the Gold Coast, as was reported in the Gold Coast Bulletin recently.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that great effort and expense was invested in re-branding the Gold Coast as part of the ‘Very GC’ campaign, which did get good traction with the yound set but tended to alienate older and long-time residents of the ‘Goldie’, and yet here we are again with another attempt to re-package and re-sell it, with the multi-million dollar price tag to boot.

Why now?  The answer to this is primarily two-fold – with the Gold Coast awarded the rights to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018, there is an urgent need to position the Gold Coast in a favourable light for inbound atheletes and tourists from around the world.  Those of us old enough to remember the Brisbane Commonwealth Games in 1982 will recall the great uplift in civic pride that was visited upon the River City, and the effect was repeated just six years later for Expo 88. (Yes, I am that old, but it’s our little secret, ok?)

The second reason is that the Gold Coast despite its beautiful beaches, amenable climate, theme parks and attractions, restaurants and hotels has several major detractions, including a persistent problem with drugs and crime, and has grown at such an exponential rate that its local road network is utterly unable to cope with the ongoing influx of tourists and permanent residents who settle there in their thousands each and every year, making it a very difficult place in which to get around either quickly or easily.

The difficulty is that any re-branding campaign at best will alter superficial perceptions of something, but without fixing the systemic problems that are the heart of the matter, and that are in and of themselves the cause that has precipitated the need for a new image, and therefore will not live beyond their existence as a superficiality.  At worst, what might happen is that your slick marketing campaign may in fact draw people in, who trust that they might actually have a new experience, and then the gap between their perception of something new or better when it is juxtaposed against the reality that nothing has actually changed, can actually cause real brand damage.

If on the other hand, a major effort was made to fix the problems that have caused the negative perception, and THEN to re-brand it, as part of a process of re-education and re-positioning in the market, THAT is is a different prospect altogether, and if handled correctly, does have the capacity to create an experience that completely alters not just our perceptions of a place, product or service, but our experience of it.

So, I am interested to know, when has a re-branding experience left you cynical and cold?  I would love to know your thoughts on this.

Yours in PR

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