First off, let me tell you, I have heard the word persona till I am blue in the face. The Hubspot platform requires users to define all of their clients by creating a particular person with specific attributes when it comes to purchasing. For many marketers, this approach works well. For me, I would rather spend my time focused on other areas.
I do not like Personas?
Too general – In my business, I work with some different clients and industries. For me, to even group all industry attributes like agriculture into a single persona like Joe Farmer would be limiting myself. Now I could take the other approach and build a persona for as many different agriculture types, but that would be a lot of work, and in the end, it is still too general.
Out of control persona stories – Too often, I think personas are taken to another level with a detailed story of how Sally-homemaker spends all of her time at home cleaning and watching her kids, but when she goes to the store, she becomes this conscious shopper who buys several products. The story continues, and now we have a short story about Sally, homemaker.
More focus needs to be on the following measurable items: product/service value, the right message and being different.
Product/Service Value – I revisit this topic all the time. A closer look at value makes me see that I need to listen more to customer’s needs and make sure I can meet those needs with my service. If my product or service is not seen as valuable, I need to find a way to make it more valuable. It may require an upgrade, new pricing model, more client input, additional research, and development or discontinued.
The Right Message – Right now, this step is the key. I continue to work at messages that resonate more with customers. It may mean a new product design or packaging. It might also require additional training of client service staff and sales force to ensure the message is easy to remember and communicate. It may also require me to look closer at a particular target market. I like “target market” much better than looking at general personas.
Being Different – In the end, it comes down to being different. In today’s world, it is critical to stand out from the crowd. Each day I look at trying to make a difference. If revenues from products and services are going to increase, it is going to require me to continue to look for ways to separate ourselves in the market. People notice and I will realize success when I hear feedback. There are a lot of risks here and sometimes, I will fail, but I would rather continue trying to get better than to rest on past transactions.
I think persona’s initially started as a way to look at marketing much differently, but as I found, it is a very time-consuming, generalistic approach. In my opinion, there are some better ways.