Common Buyer Persona Mistakes to Avoid (Part 5 of 7 Series)

5. Common Buyer Persona mistakes to avoid

  • NOT DISCOVERING PROFOUND INSIGHTS

Personal and company details, professional role details, even their goals, are easily obtained by you or your competitors. These are important parts of recording your research but the least important parts of your Buyer Persona.

To persuade buyers to choose you, your personas should include profound insights into behaviour including  how they evaluate their options, compare solutions and make decisions and why they do it the ways they do.

  • BUILDING TOO MANY PERSONAS

Many people initially equate Buyer Personas to job titles and compound this error by defining personas for each job title in each of their existing segments e.g each industry and different company sizes. The focus needs to be on similar buyer behaviour – often the same behaviour regarding decisions you want to influence will apply across job titles, company sizes and industries.

How many Buyer Personas do you need? It depends on how many  significant differences you discover in how your buyers make their decisions. The point is that each Buyer Personas increases the number of different marketing strategies and hence marketing and other resources needed. So have as few insightful Buyer Personas as possible each with strategies for persuasive messaging, content marketing, product or solution launches, campaigns and sales tactics. Then prioritise those according to your capacity to execute multiple strategies.

Marketers who segment Buyer Personas around key insights often need about half as many personas as those who focus on demographics such as job title, industry, geography, industry or company size.

The Buyer Persona Institute offers its 5 Rings of Buying Insight as guidance for when an additional Buyer Persona and targeted marketing strategy will allow you to grow revenue or achieve a strategic goal.

  • PAIN POINTS BACK FITTED FROM PRODUCT CAPABILITIES

A common mistake to create or assume pain points based on the product or service capability – this is of course putting the cart before the horse!

Instead learn the pain points from Buyers without prompting or suggestion.

  • CREATING BUYER PERSONAS LIKE CHECKLISTS

Although we will give a guide in this white paper please do not treat it like a checklist – the insights you need will come from deep conversations exposing behaviours and the reasons for them. For the same reason Buyer Personas can’t be obtained by quantitative research (e.g. online surveys) alone.

  • NOT MAINTAINING UP-TO-DATE BUYER PERSONAS

Like almost every facet of business buying behaviours continue to change at an ever increasing rate.  Review your Buyer Personas every 6-12 months – probably by doing a small number of checkin interviews with a few previous interviewees and a few new ones. The objective is to confirm accuracy or update the Persona.

For example has anything changed with respect to buyers concerns that your solution or company is not their best option? Are there any product or company-specific barriers that are no longer (or never were) factually correct? Perception changes often result from negative experiences with similar solutions, online interactions, or peer feedback. Are there any new personal or business obstacles preventing your buyer from investing in change e.g. management, competition or process changes?

Overcome myths

  • NOT OVERCOMING YOUR OWN BIASES

You have to ask the right questions, explore answers deeply, read between the lines, react to the clues and explore your hunches but ultimately depend on the data not your own biases. You need to find the story the data wants to tell you NOT the story you may want it to tell you.

At the same time recognize that new data will often raise as many new questions as it answers and be prepared to revisit your intial assumptions and retune your intution to what your market may now be telling you.

Lastly – if all these tips are overwhelming please talk to us about some Consultancy to help you figure out your best Buyer, or other, Persona research approach.

See this AUTODESK® CASE STUDY on the creation and use of Buyer Personas (Autodesk® is a leading software supplier for the CAD, CAM, CAE, PLM, PDM and many other markets).

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Series Navigation<< How Do You Create Buyer Personas? (Part 4 of 7 Series)Sample Buyer Persona Guide for Interviewers (Part 6 of 7 Series) >>

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