It doesn’t take much effort to find a host of resources that advise you to create buyer personas to inform your content and creative strategies; not to mention your product development and sales methodologies. The challenge lies in translating the desire for personas into effective output.
I had the pleasure of attending a workshop taught by Adele Revella several years ago where I learned many of the fundamental skills I still use today to conduct persona research. So it was with great excitement that I saw Adele has published a book that summarizes much of what I learned. And while a book can never replace personalized coaching and hands-on workshops this one goes a long way towards starting your persona journey on the right foot.
Very long title aside there are three very good reasons to read Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into Your Customer’s Expectations, Align Your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business.
#1 Get Motivated: Understand the tangible value of well-research personas
It may be easy to check off the boxes of a persona questionnaire, but it is a lot of work to do them well. In Buyer Personas Adele shares real-world examples of how personas can impact your organization in measurable ways.
My favorite truth from the book comes on page 154, “The idea that you can simply download a template for your Buyer’s Journey from the Internet and fill in the relevant details is simply incorrect. If you want to know how your buyers make decisions, you need to ask them to tell you their story.”
After years of conducting persona interviews I can attest first hand that the same person has different buying personas for different offerings. Adele makes a compelling case for keeping our persona research real and fresh even if you feel you know your “profile”.
#2 Learn Interview Techniques
Persona interviews are conversations not surveys and if you’ve never conducted one before they can be a little overwhelming. Adele outlines her team’s interview techniques in detail. She provides excellent tips for spurring conversation. She’s also a bit of a purest and recommends against using an interview guide. I find most marketers are not comfortable working in a totally free form environment and an interview guide can be a useful tool – just make sure it does NOT become an interview script. Whether you chose to go pure form or having a helping aid the principles of drawing out your interviewees are applicable and worth the read.
#3 Become Organized: Read practical tips for documenting and organizing research results
Conducting interviews is an important hurdle to overcome, but believe it or not, it’s not the most challenging. The hardest part of persona research is making sense of all the valuable insights you gained. How do you turn hours of conversations into a persona that can be leveraged across the organization? Adele shows you her techniques for making sense of everything you’ve collected.
One Perfectly Terrible Excuse
If you’re looking for a way to make personas easy don’t read this book! Developing personas is hard work because it has to be and this book will do nothing to make it less resource intensive.
Lucky for us personas may not be easy but Buyer Personas can take much of the mystery out of the process and make persona research attainable to more marketers.