Don't just listen, grok buyer personas

I love my work. Each seminar is a chance to interact with new people who have useful ideas and resources. Sometimes I wonder if I should pay the attendees rather than the other way around. Don't tell my bookkeeper I said that, though, she'd have a fit.

While I frequently learn about something I want to read or research, Dale Hansman of Language Line Services got to the top of my pile this week when he referred me to, a website named after one of my favorite words. Grok (rhymes with "rock') is a verb that captures the essence of what we strive to achieve through buyer persona profiling. A marketer who groks a buyer persona is capable of experiencing "the literal capabilities and frame of reference of the subject." Thus grokking a buyer isn't just about listening and acting directly on what is heard, this word challenges us to understand so deeply that we can anticipate and intuit needs that people cannot even articulate.

Seminar attendees sometimes argue against the idea of market-driven companies, telling me that customers don't know their needs or can't express them. But that is the critical difference between listening to buyers and "grokking" buyers. The former could be accomplished by a recording device and interpreted by anyone who understands the language. Grokking requires much more skill, resulting in a level of intuition and empathy that is without comparison. A marketer who has grokked a buyer persona can act as that persona's proxy, developing solutions, messages and programs with scary accuracy.

if you happen to be rewriting your website and want some ideas about how to focus on buyer personas, go to the and download the whitepaper on the company's Persuasion Architecture. I've read only the executive summary so far but was thrilled that they recommend web content targeting different personas. Thanks, Dale.

Topics: Product Marketing Redefined


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