Monday, June 29, 2009

Speaking to Personas

Customers drive marketing, not the other way around.

You may have noticed customers expect and demand products to be molded to their wants, needs and schedules. You also may have noticed it's impossible to get a conditioned response from a cat, and thanks to media saturation, your customer is behaving the same way.

Just like you can’t turn a cat into a dog; you can't turn a prospect into a paying customer by throwing her dry marketing bones peppered with boring "adspeak", or chest-thumping hype.

Today’s customers are in charge–much like cats and that's why Bryan Eisenberg is considered a very smart marketer.

His book, "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark", written with brother, Jeffrey Eisenberg can be compared in some respects to Paco Underhill's classic "Why We Buy".

In the book, the Eisenboys zero in on how buying decisions are made in the on-line world how those decisions can be influenced through persona-based language. Persona-based writing focuses on people’s preferences in the way they gather information and make decisions and help persuasion architects best identify the needs and expectations of each potential target customer group.

Wikipedia says:
"Personas or personae are fictitious characters that are created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are given characteristics and are assumed to be in particular environments based on known users’ requirements so that these elements can be taken into consideration when creating scenarios for conceptualizing a site."

Since the time of Hippocrates people have been classified as 4 basic types; logical or emotional and those who pull the trigger on making decisions as opposed to those who are more cautious and deliberate.

And few grasp this subject as well as Bryan Eisenberg.

Before launching any serious marketing effort, the Eisenbergs recommend asking three questions:

1. Who is it you want to persuade?
2. What action do we want them to take?
3. What information is needed to motivate them to take that action?

Your customers view your company as a single entity. They don’t know or care that you have eight divisions and that your web department doesn’t talk to your locations in the field . Your customer is no different than you. Craving a seamless brand experience from beginning to end.

Are you in a position to begin using “persuasion architecture", to seamlessly craft that experience? All the way from the first front-line or on-line contact, through the buying process all the way to post-sales support?

Or are you still hoping to command your customer to bark when your advertising says so?

"Cats don't bark - and consumers today don't "salivate on command" like they seemed to a couple of decades ago. Consumers today behave more like cats than Pavlov's pooch. Times have changed - and so must we"

p.s... We have a hunch that the persona of the regular TSB reader will enjoy this angle of approach from an Aussie bacon producer.

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