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Do you use personas? March 12, 2009

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Persona.

I’ve found that most marketers take short-cuts in describing target audiences.  Mostly it’s a description like: “Fortune 1000 CIOs.”  While this short-hand is common, it really tells you nothing about who these people are and what drives them.

Building a persona is quick exercise that takes about 30 minutes.  I’ve found it to be a fun way to challenge the team to dig deeper to understand who they want to sell to. 

The goal is to produce a single slide that captures the following types of information:

General Information

  • Name (giving the persona a name makes them feel more real)
  • Age/gender
  • Job Title(s)
  • Typical experience
  • Education
  • Location
  • Skills
  • Reputation
  • Affiliation (if they are part of any business associations or groups)

Work Information

  • Work challenges/problems
  • Tasks
  • Message inclination (what types/tones of messages are they likely to respond to?)

3 Words that best describe them are:

This is just the beginning.  Next, you’ll want to clearly articulate the problems that are “keeping them up at night.”  Armed with this information, your messages will become more targeted and more relevant.  You’ll be suprised how much better your marketing campaigns can be.

Let me know your experiences with personas.


1. Kevin Brooks - March 12, 2009

Mike, good thoughts, and congrats on getting the blog going. Your advice reminds me of the unfortunate lack of respect/awareness most B2B marketing people have for consumer marketing strategies. Knowing your buyer/shopper is part of the DNA of any consumer brand manager, and more and more it seems those types of skills are becoming part of the necessary toolkit for B2B marketing.

mgospe - March 12, 2009

Kevin, thanks for the input. You are absolutely right. I think there are many lessons from the consumer side that are applicable, especially now that consumers are becoming even more empowered and truly controlling how and when they engage with vendors and suppliers.

2. M. H. (Mac) McIntosh - March 17, 2009


B2B marketers who use personas tell me they get much better results with them, and have made them a way of doing business as a results. Here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject: http://bit.ly/93uvO

M. H. (Mac) McIntosh

mgospe - March 18, 2009


Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing your recipe on your blog. This should be in every marketer’s toolkit.

–Mike G

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