Unexpected but clear -- How we developed our own persona-focused message

I spent the last few months eating my own dog food – relying on buyer personas to develop the messaging for Buyer Persona Institute and its new workshops. I worked with an incredible team and we are pleased with our core message -- At Buyer Persona Institute, our sole aim is to give your buyers the voice to say: "Here's what really matters to me: please deliver."

But I'm not quite ready to declare the messaging final, especially the workshop messaging.

Why not? Like most of our clients, I am missing some of the insights that would result in a fully "personified" message.  I'm not going to be satisfied until our website reflects the potential of a message that is based on both parts of the buyer persona(s):

  • The Core Buyer Persona tells me whether my target buyer(s) will invest time, money or political capital to initiate or approve this type of purchase. The key information is in Section 2 of the Core Buyer Persona template, describing the buyer's five highest-ranked priorities and, in the buyer's words, the perceived obstacles to achieving them. This information has value for every strategic marketing decision, but for messaging, it tells me which priorities to emphasize, and that this persona is likely to initiate the buying process if our message is convincing about our ability to overcome those obstacles.
  • The insights in the Product Persona Connection (PPC) template are even more valuable for messaging. It tells me which criteria recent evaluators considered as they weighed my solution against their other options (including doing nothing). And because the PPC captures the persona's positive and negative attitudes towards my product and each of my competitor's, it guides the details of a message, telling me how to reinforce the aspects that are driving conversion and, even more critically, which capabilities or proof points could change the inaccurate perceptions that are barriers to consideration.

When we conduct messaging workshops for our clients, we take whichever part of the buyer persona insights we can pull together to a messaging team of between four and six stakeholders. There are no recent evaluators to interview prior to a new product launch, so we develop launch messaging without the benefit of the Product Persona Connection, just as we did for this website.

At least one person on any messaging team should be someone who does not work with the product on a regular basis (an "outsider"). We encourage our clients to invite someone from another department or product area to fill this role when we're not facilitating. The outsider's job is to represent the buyer and question the relevance of each of the points the team chooses to include. Marketers who are very close to the product generally fail to notice when they've started speaking in their own language and not the buyer's.

The end result? When the team is grounded in complete buyer personas, each of the marketing stakeholders has exceptional confidence in the message. This team will consistently execute on a message strategy that persuades the buyer that their obstacles are no match for the capabilities in our solution -- that the buyer's highest priority outcome is within reach.

We rarely have that quality of persona insights available, but any part helps. A recent example -- we just did a messaging session with a company that had great insights into their Core Buyer Personas and only sketchy data for the Product Persona Connections. The team meeting made the big difference. When we started the workshop, the senior product manager thought that he knew what the message should be. He had six years in his job and regularly meets with target buyers. But his reaction at the end of the meeting inspired the headline on the Buyer Persona Institute home page -- "The answer was unexpected, but clear."

This team now knows what's missing and understands the application of those insights. Because they experienced the frustration of trying to answer important questions without solid data, they are now motivated to do whatever it takes to capture quality buyer persona information.

You may now understand why I want to interview people about our messaging for Buyer Persona Institute. I've got an ebook that will launch very soon and I want the website to represent the full value we deliver.

Here's my offer. If you spend a few minutes on the Buyer Persona website thinking about the merits of the workshops and agree to give me 20 minutes of your time for a phone interview, I'll return the favor by spending 30 minutes with you -- reviewing your buyer persona write-up, your persona-based message, or answering questions about any other aspect of buyer personas.

Interested?  Be among the first five people to send me an email that references this post.

Topics: B2B marketing, buyer persona, buyer persona workshop, Buyer Personas, Good Use of Personas, Market Research, market research, Positioning & Messaging, product marketing, Uncategorized, win loss


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