This week marks the official publication of the new book Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into your Customer's Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business by Adele Revella.
It’s a book I’ve been waiting for because I’ve been talking about buyer personas for nearly ten years but have always wanted much more detail on this important strategy so I can share with people who want to transform their business.
The concept of buyer personas is so essential to outstanding marketing and sales leading to transformational business growth that I’ve been bugging Adele, the recognized expert in buyer personas, to write this book for years. And I’m glad she did. I feel so strongly about this topic and Adele’s expertise that I wrote the foreword to the book.
Buyer Personas drive business success
Back in 2007, I gushed enthusiastically on this blog about the GoPro digital camera, which I had purchased to take photos and videos while surfing. I was a very early adopter (the first digital version had been out only a month).
The clever marketers at GoPro focused on creating cameras that address the specific problems faced by consumers, in my case a camera I could take surfing. Not long after my original post, I interviewed Nick Woodman, founder and CEO of GoPro, who told me how his company makes decisions. “Our solutions could never evolve from a boardroom discussion,” he told me. “We go straight to the source. We don’t ask our grandmother what she thinks about our motorsport mounts apparatus; we ask race car drivers.”
While he didn’t call what he was doing buyer persona research, Nick leads a company that builds product and marketing strategies using the ideas that you’ll read about in Adele’s book.
So how is GoPro doing now, eight years after the first digital camera was launched and I first wrote about the company? Sales have doubled every year with the GoPro reporting $1.4 billion in revenue for 2014. This rapid growth allowed GoPro to go public on the stock market in 2014 and the company is now valued at $5 billion. From zero revenue to well over a billion dollars a year in less than a decade!
In Buyer Personas, the new book, you will learn how to gain insights into your buyer’s mindset so that you can create and market what your buyers are seeking. You’ll see how to differentiate the needs of distinct groups of buyers – in the case of GoPro not just digital camera buyers but surfers, race car drivers, and skydivers – in buyer personas that guide your company to breakthrough success.
It’s not about your products and services
This approach is utterly different from most companies. Either they fail to differentiate their markets and create nonspecific marketing for everyone, or they create approaches to segments based on their own product-centric view of the world.
Think about the websites you’ve visited. Have you noticed that sometimes you can glance at a site (or product page) and instantly know that it will not be helpful? I experience that feeling nearly every day. I might be shopping for something—say, a hotel for a family vacation in Tobago. So I go to Google and just search. Because I’m in the research phase of my decision, I’m looking for a site that will educate and inform me, not one that is chock-full of jargon and hype. I’m browsing and not ready to buy, so I’m not interested in a sales come-on. I’m expecting that the people who built the site have anticipated my need for helpful information. Yes, I am interested in booking a room at some point, but not until someone educates me about my options. What should I look for in Tobago? Should I be on the beach? Which beach? What’s the trade-off between an all inclusive vs. a-la-carte experience? What’s the price range? What are the advantages of a big resort compared to a small intimate inn?
Usually I sample a few sites that are just terrible, filled with gobbledygook and corporate drivel. When that happens, I’m gone in a split second, clicking away, never to return. You know what I’m talking about, right? You make a decision immediately. It’s a gut feeling, isn’t it?
Focus on your buyers!
In contrast, a few sites have valuable and useful information. In fact, sometimes I feel that a site has been developed especially for me! It’s as if someone read my mind and built a site based on my needs. The information I wanted was right there when I wanted to find it, telling me everything I needed to know.
It’s not a coincidence when it feels like a company’s marketing message and content was created especially for you. It means a marketer somewhere did his or her job well. It means that they took the time to understand their buyers’ goals, needs and objections. This isn’t one of those egotistical companies that doesn’t care about its customers. When the company takes the time to understand my questions and answer them through a video, a few blog posts, or a Q&A, I trust that company. And guess where I am inclined to buy? Yes, the place that was helpful, even if their price is higher than their competition’s.
Adele Revella taught me about buyer personas nearly a decade ago and it was one of the most important revelations I’ve had as a marketer. If you’ve followed this blog, read any of my recent books or seen one of my live presentations, you know I talk a lot about buyer personas. Once you dig into the concept of buyer personas, you too will want to learn how to transform your marketing and your business. Buyer Personas is a great place to start.
You’ll learn that buyer persona research ensures that you market using the voice of your buyer, not of your founder, CEO, product manager, or PR agency staffer. This builds a bond of trust with your buyers that lead them into the buying process, making your salespeople’s work easier and quicker.
Organizations that take the time to understand their buyer personas escape the trap of selling to the wrong people at the wrong time. You will see that by being helpful and informative rather than hyping, your marketing will come alive. Your buyer personas will be eager to do business with you and excited to share your ideas with others. The sale will be made more quickly and your buyers may even be willing to pay a premium to work with you.
Gaining insight into your buyer personas will transform your business!