While checking my email this morning, I stumbled upon this gem sent to me in the Inbound.org Weekly Digest – hidden under the Apple Watch discussion vomit I feared would lead all as the premature feature story of all my inbox.
As it went unanswered, I figured UXpert and author Laura Klein has enough to answer prior to her Tuesday round of answers.
The buyer persona’s role in the “Inbound Methodology” could be one of the most overanalyzed and miscommunicated processes in the history of online business strategy – maybe even digital media …
If you learned your buyer persona creation from a software pusher’s slideshow, and stopped there without digging in beyond the non-expert’s lead gen, then I’d say your sensei only gave its students a white belt in this dojo,
Without buyer keywords, silent insights in social media behavior and community hubbub … all 3 being sources of data confirming the persona and strengthening its non-fictional accuracy – unlike a survey or customer / prospect interview doing the opposite.
Because people, in our very nature, will almost always lie to other people.
A buyer persona alone is near worthless, and highly inaccurate if you’re building from that point. You should be finding solutions for existing personas – NEVER finding buyer personas to dupe with your client’s mundane products.
That’s business agility – not a keyword fad named after Luke Sullivan’s blog post inaccuracy, nor is marketing’s credit.
Keyword insights, social behavior and buyer signals are the scenario that makes the sale. Missing the 3 aforementioned will also ruin your development of …
- Scenarios – the yin to each Persona’s yang (most scenarios will touch social channels AND search)
- Device Usage – within those scenarios, and within each traction channel they use, etc.
- Agile Product Development – because you missed not only the persona accuracy, but also where the pain point is located – and what channel you could be using to both inform your fixing it and promote your solution
- The Influencer Persona – which is almost always the authority and / or the channel or medium where the buyer persona is highly persuaded toward a decision they’re more confident in making
For a startup, at least one that’s smart, it’s easy. And it’s easy because they have built a model around more than one type of persona … because there always is more than one type of buyer. At least, there’s more than one person who affects the buyer’s decision – although mostly you just need to pinpoint one per niche market.
Every “buyer persona” has an “influencer persona” – which along with not telling you that interviews are not effective (no matter what popular, soon-to-be-stagnant bloggers say to you), this over analysis of one persona and lack of seeing the other is the biggest reason why this process gets half-assed by most “experts” I’ve met in a marketer-onboarded and claimed user experience cosmos.
A cosmos once called growth hacking. FYI
No one seems to call out that people – especially people you want to sell something – might try to lie in nearly all interview scenarios during some point of this exercise.
But they’re behavior and/or conversion paths online? Honest as it gets, you have a buyer persona that’s influenced by another (e.g., every persona excluding … well …)?
Imagine you’re creating a persona for your buyer or donor – or look at one you’ve made. Do they have an influencer?
Probably … unless you have no market.
If you can get this far, try to stop at Seth Godin’s BS crybaby rant that sells a knowledge-less but emotionally-charged CEO or CMO who calls the eye-rolling coordinator.
For the agency he/she calls, you’re not a player …
So you’ll have to sell them on a partnership program as a new product – or create a new one depending on your model. Rewind the process and you’ve reverse engineered the model of Hubspot and other recent monsters of annual bottom-line growth.
If you digitally locate, focus on, and target the influencer first – then you’ll be a growth hacking rainmaker (versus the invisible list of winners spawned from their respective flocks of subscribers fed marketing 101 content that keeps digital agency dummies and corporate marketing mediocrity from knowing what they actually did to get ahead as digital media’s one percent).
And you can’t blame them too much for respecting a law of economic fact, either.
If everyone did this correctly, we wouldn’t have a Hubspot – at least not on the scale it’s grown … and therefore, wouldn’t have this opportunity to discuss on Inbound.org now that they’re in a commanding lead over the masses intellectually and tactically due to a market leader’s approach to misinformation. ;)
My advise – Teach Agility.
Not Yesterday’s Business Tips to Tomorrow’s Bankrupt.
Here are a few resources (FREE online strategy guides) to use if you need them for creating buyer personas – or if you’d like to learn how the social influencer impacts those personas.