As a small business marketer or independent marketing consultant, you need to be nimble and ultra-focused in defining your target market. You know you can't afford to be "all things to all people." No only that, you probably don't have deep pockets to support a market research project to investigate your target buyers and their behaviors. So, how can you quickly build an illustration of your best target buyers -- one that is good enough to support a go-to-market plan? Or, if you are consulting with larger companies on their marketing plans, how can you guide them to produce better personas themselves?
The good news is that you can use the exact same method big companies use to craft their personas. This course unlocks the secrets to building better personas -- secrets and a 10-step process you can adopt today to answer these questions.This 90-minute course is divided into a practical, pragmatic 10-step approach to illustrating your best target buyers. Each step is illustrated with a short video giving you lots of examples. Mike Gospe shares his personal story of how he discovered how to build better personas, including stories about the good, bad, and ugly persona examples he uncovered in his own journey. He goes further by prescribing how you should conduct the persona exercise and manage your internal politics so you get the best outcome possible. This course is for any marketer or small-business entrepreneur interested in learning how to better understand their best target customers.
Whoever understands the customer best wins! I wholeheartedly believe that.
Many times, when marketing campaigns fail to generate the number of qualified leads you want, it's because there is no persona to guide the campaign. Or the persona is incomplete or built on faulty assumptions. When you don't have a persona to illustrate for you what your target market cares about and how they make purchase decisions, you will develop the wrong messaging. Your content and offers won't hit the mark. You'll fail to connect with your prospects and turn them into buyers. And, frankly, you can't afford that!
Now, it's one thing to have a mountain of market research at your finger tips. But, what do you do when you have limited resources, dollars, and knowledge about your target market? How do you start to build a persona hypothesis? This is a very common problem found in many companies. You'll find it in Fortune 500 companies, and you'll find it in the newest startups. I've been there. I know. That's why I created this course.
This course offers you more than just a persona template. This course reveals the secrets behind the 3 core dimensions a world-class persona requires. Without all 3 of these, your persona will not be very helpful. Learn the secrets of a world-class template, see example personas created by real marketers, and discover how to use the persona exercise to navigate internal politics so you can execute your marketing campaigns with more confidence than ever before! And these techniques apply equally well whether you are a marketing employee of a Fortune 500 enterprise, a small company, or a marketing consultant hired to guide a Fortune 500 company.
Lastly, you'll download the Persona Template in lecture 9. I don't want you to see it yet because it's important to understand the background first.
Before we dive into the specifics of all-things-personas, let's talk about going to the grocery store.
Think you know grocery shoppers?
I recently did an experiment to better understand grocery shoppers. Learn what I discovered when I investigated and compared both Trader Joe's shoppers and Whole Foods' shoppers.
Not having a persona can lead to alignment issues and unnecessary arguments between marketing and sales teams. Many conflicts are easily avoidable if we take the time to properly conduct the persona exercise. Here are a few problem signs to look for. If any of these sound familiar, your marketing and sales teams may be aiming at different targets. Alignment is needed, and the persona exercise will help resolve these issues.
Often times, when I ask marketers to tell me about their target audiences, I get some pretty vague and unhelpful answers. A description of a target market is not the same thing as a persona. They are related, but they are clearly different and are used for very different purposes in planning marketing campaigns. This lecture includes some definitions that will keep you on the straight and narrow path to successful marketing.
Building a buyer persona is a cornerstone to any marketing strategy. Not only that, a company that is unable to empathize with its target customers can never hope to be customer-driven. And, if you don't know your customers and their goals, objectives, or pain points, your marketing programs will never produce the ROI you want.
Your success starts in prioritizing and understanding your market segments and the persona(s) who live in those segments. But completing a buyer persona template is not just a rote exercise. Every component must be carefully chosen and thoughtfully analyzed. That's why in lectures 1, 2, and 3, you discovered what an effective persona is, what it is not, and why you most definitely need one.
Now it's time to get started. Whether you work for a large company with an army of marketers, or if you are lone marketer in a start-up, the process of developing a target persona is the same. These 10 steps will guide you to success in both creating a high quality target persona, and more importantly, aligning your sales and marketing teams for success.
Be sure to download the PDF of the complete course presentation.
Before you dive into the mechanics of creating a persona, you need to know your objective. Do you want to capture new customers? Do you want to sell more products to existing customers? Do you want to steal business from a competitor? Whatever your objective is will have a profound impact on what your target persona looks like. This lecture explains why and the implications your choice of objective will have on your target persona.
If you have a mountain of up-to-date market research at your finger tips, then building a persona is probably an easy exercise for you. However, life is not always easy.
How do you build a persona from scratch?
How do you build a persona if you have incomplete information and no budget to invest in market research?
These questions define the reality of most marketers.
The good news is that you likely have some resources and tools that you can immediately take advantage of. Here are 6 ideas -- all of which I have personally used to supplement my rather meager market research budget.
If you create a persona by yourself, alone, you will not succeed. It's a team sport. Here's how you can set up your team and manage expectations for success.
Part 1 of the persona template is focused on demographics.
Completing the persona template should not be a rote exercise. Every element included in your persona must be relevant and have meaning. And their are indeed precise implications for every piece of data you will include. That means you will want to ultra selective in deciding what information to include and what is not needed. Before you start customizing your own persona, consider the basics shared in this lecture.
Be sure to download the "persona template" file (Microsoft Powerpoint). You can refer to this template in the lectures on Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7.
Part 2 of the persona template is critical for any business-to-business (B2B) marketing programs. And, this element is the one most often missed or excluded from other persona exercises and templates you may have used in the past!
In addition to knowing the basic demographics of our target persona, we also need to know some information about the company they work for. Let's say you want to target all Chief Information Officers. Bill and Bob are two Chief Information Officers at two different technology companies that you want to target. They both follow the same industry trends and offer competing solutions to solve related customer problems. So far they sound the same. However, Bill works for a Fortune 500 company with 100,000 employees; Bill works for a start-up with 25 employees. Does that matter? Maybe. Elements of the persona's workspace, company culture, and business goals may be very different and very relevant. This persona dimension often provides important clues in who you should target and why Bill and Bob sometimes behave differently even though their demographics may be similar.
Part 3 of our persona template captures psychographics. This important dimension helps us understand how they think and how they make purchase decisions.
This lecture unveils several real persona examples created by real marketers. Each persona tells a story, and each company learned some important lessons about their customers. They also learned how to use the exercise to align their sales and marketing teams and achieve great success in their marketing campaigns.
Be sure to download the PDF of persona examples. These are the same slides used in this lecture.
Based on the materials we've covered, your assignment is to document a persona for your own business. Conduct the exercise and document your persona hypothesis either in the Powerpoint slides provided as a downloadable resource in Step 4 (lecture 8), or create one of your own.
LIMITED TIME OFFER: If you are one of the first 30 students to email me your draft persona before December 31, 2015, I will review it and provide you with a no-cost 30 minute consultation. I will show you how to make your draft even better.
You can contact me either through the Udemy website for this course or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the words "Persona Consultation" in the header of your email.
Sharing your persona with colleagues is not only a good idea, its a requirement for success. If you don't, you run a risk of inciting "not invented here" syndrome. That's when others in your organization criticize your work and fail to embrace your marketing recommendations. You can avoid this by making the time to socialize your draft persona and inviting feedback. This lecture offers a few tips and tricks to help you manage internal politics and keep your marketing plans on track.
Congratulations! You've completed your persona. Now, what do you do with it?
The persona is only as good as how you apply it. This lesson offers a prescription for immediately applying the persona in three foundational next-step exercises:
This lecture tells you what you need to know and where you can get additional information on these 3 critical elements necessary for every marketing strategy.
Step 10 offers a quick perspective on how to put the knowledge you've gained from this course to immediate use. There is no reason why you can't now gather a few colleagues over lunch to brainstorm your first persona. Don't be intimidated by the process. Your persona-development skills will improve each time to guide the exercise.
Congratulations! You've taken your first step on the path to the "Marketing High Ground" -- that mystical place where you understand the customers so well that you become acknowledged and valued within your company as the "customers' advocate". This should always be the goal of all marketers. Everyone on the marketing team can benefit from taking a few moments each day to remember who their customers are and what they care most about. Doing so will make you more effective in your planning and execution of marketing campaigns, programs, activities, and offers.
This lecture points you to some additional books and online courses you may also find of interest in your pursuit of the Marketing High Ground.
Mike Gospe is a noted author of marketing "how to" books and practical "hands-on" workshops for individuals and marketing teams of all sizes. For more than a decade, he's been inspiring marketers and product managers to reach their "next level" of personal performance. He challenges the status quo and creates a fun, fast-paced environment to help marketers and business people think outside the box. His tools and techniques have been adopted by companies around the world, helping them to get "real work done" as they strive for marketing excellence.
Mike is the author of a number of marketing "best practices" books, including, Marketing Campaign Development, and The Marketing High Ground.