Are your buyer personas saying more about the marketing team than about the buyer?
It can be difficult to wade through all of the insights that marketers collect on their customers. Buyer personas are a tool to give customer profiles a human face. They synthesize all of the observations, insights, and data into a fictionalized character sketch.
Buyer personas can be useful shorthand to marketing teams. They can serve as a simple filter to evaluate marketing creative, tactics, and executions.
But buyer personas are usually more art than science. Marketers frequently project their own assumptions, stereotypes, and biases into the profiles.
Sometimes buyer personas border on the ridiculous. Deciding whether an ERP software buyer persona should own a Jack Russell Terrier or a Golden Retriever may help the buyer persona feel more complete but doesn’t give any insight on how to reach actual customers. I’ve sat through marketing meetings that spent far too much time debating minutia like whether Cynthia or Sarah would be a more quintessential name for a buyer persona.
Ultimately, buyer personas are only as useful as the decisions they help you to make.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to most effectively use buyer personas in marketing.