Understanding Buyer Personas

When it comes to marketing, I’m confused about the ‘who’.

Conventional internet wisdom says you should pick a tight niche. But the reality for most successful products is that they cater to more than one type of person. Think Canva, or Uber, or Freshdesk, or Basecamp…do any of these market to a specific niche?

The jobs-to-be-done philosophy bridged the gap for a while. Don’t sell hammers to a specific demographic, focus on people who need a hole in their wall. Forget about the who. Focus on the job they want done instead. Wonderful stuff.

But JTBD has it’s limits. Practically speaking, ‘holes in walls’ is not an interest I can target with an Ad campaign. And, maybe the hole was just a means to a picture on the wall. Maybe pictures are a means to a beautiful home. What level of abstraction am I supposed to focus on?

Adele Revella’s book clarified that Personas are not a bunch of imaginary people you think you’re selling to. A good buyer personas is a shorthand for referring to everything you’ve learned about your customers.

Ask your customer to take you back to when they first realized they needed a solution (which is basically a JTBD interview), and trace out the buyer journey. Then aggregate the insights into a single fictitious person that’s easy to think about and refer to.

Useful personas have five kinds of insights:
– What prompted them to start looking for a solution.
– What a good solution means to them.
– Barriers affecting their choices.
– How they find and evaluate options.
– Criteria for their final choice.

This is handy stuff. After 5-6 interviews, keeping all the insights front of mind has been a hassle. I’m going pore over past interviews and pull these insights out.

Keen to see if this works.