content marketing, Social CRM, user experience

Getting personal with Buyer Personas

Big data and understanding customer sentiment has been a buzzword for the last few years. Garnering insights and adapting your proposition to suit has been taken to a new levels as we learn to crunch big data sets.

Conversely, running qualitative surveys with clients (enough to be statistically valid) can give valuable, actionable insights.

The trick is conveying these insights in a format that is accessible across the organisation.
Buyer personas are a fantastic tool for combining these qualitative insights, social data, CRM records and basic demographics, into a high level summary.

Having a clear idea of your average customer, you can then move on to the best ways to align your product or service to them.

Typically they will define

  1. Priorities
  2. Success and what it looks like to them
  3. Barriers or things stopping them going with your solution or product
  4. Buying process
  5. Decision criteria.

These personas can then be put to great use when working on marketing user stories and creating solutions to their pain points. They’re fantastic for defining content marketing themes and priorities, allocating expenditure on marketing content and the focus across paid, earned and owned media.

They can also help product owners prioritise backlogs and support their prioritisation – when confronting conflicting interests with internal stakeholders.

In fact, the Buyer Persona Institute (yes it even has it’s own movement) marks – internal preconceptions and guesstimates of what the typical client is – as the biggest hinderance to creating successful buyer personas. Basing the personas on concrete factual input from actual client surveys and interviews is key.

For those daunted by the task of creating these very user centric profiles and negotiating internal stakeholders, remember – we do it every day. I noted on Sunday that we all subconsciously create immensely detailed buyer personas. When we make new friends, go on dates or get to know new colleagues, banking what makes them tick and the best approach to resonate.

Social CRM
Moving beyond the buyer persona, I can’t help but feel that social CRM will allow us to have highly detailed buyer profiles. Not just personas, but detailed dashboards of each buyer or customers interaction with our brand, their sentiment for our industry and peripheral products on social networks and even their purchases, buying habits and triggers.

At a macro level – aggregating these could provide a realtime singular buyer persona or multiple profiles. A daily dashboard to drive strategy and the direction of the company.

At a micro level – the trick will be up-skilling as an organisation to know how best to use this data. Finding the balance with your customers between stalky big brother-ish and delighting interactions and touch points.

agilemarketing, content marketing

Focus on what works, cut what doesn’t

Over the last months I’ve talked about using Agile Project Management techniques and various other tips for getting MORE content onto your website, more posts on your walls and generally more marketing everywhere. My impending move to New Zealand and the efforts we are taking to ditch what we don’t need, means doing and keeping what what matters is forefront of my mind.

In Agile retrospectives at the end of a sprint we ask three poignant questions:

  1. What worked?
  2. What didn’t work?
  3. What will we do different next time?

The later questions are often the most difficult to answer – yet can provide you with scope to grow AND help you free up time to focus on what did work.

Growing your marketing also involves ensuring you’re doing the right thing.  Having a clear high level product vision for your website and online presence means you can cross check activities with your end goal.

Content marketing campaigns, video series, or podcasts that are not performing  should all be reviewed for effectiveness on a regular basis.  This also extends to social networks. Ditch the ones  that your target audience does not use or has left. Re evaluate the money you’re putting into adwords or paid advertising on social networks. Perhaps spending that money on evergreen media rich content is of more value.

Although not web specific there a couple of famous quotes I have read over the past weeks that ring true in our world of marketing.

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” ~ Coco Chanel

“He who dies with the least toys wins. Because the more you know, the less you need.” ~ Yvon Chouinard, CEO of Patagonia.

Podcast: Focusing on what matters


This is actually a jellyfish that floats upside down. It is not the wrong way up. Or from downunder.

MedusaWe only consider this jellyfish to be wrong as we’re conditioned to see them floating bell up, tentacles down. But it could be onto something, maybe it catches falling food better that way?

Over the next week I have decided to switch perspective wherever possible and switch polarity if I can.

We are always conscious of our visual identity and branding in organisations, yet I think switching up the palette can be enough of a surprise to entice readers to read our email shots. Save it for special occasions  – but what about inverting the logo colours and body colours.

Put out a black paper for a change. People rarely print them right? It could even provide no answers at all to an issue, just pose questions for a change.

Timing needs a switch up too!

Hence a Saturday blog post instead of Monday or Tuesday. Why not. The boys are eating dinner and relaxing, I’ve got the time, let’s see what engagement it gets.

The other week we sent a timed email shot set for the wrong 9 am. Instead of going out prime time it hit senior HR directors Blackberrys at 9 pm. Statistics tell us never send after five, and never on a Friday if you’re after good open rates.

Yet just to prove the rule, this one had great open rates as they were all second screening, checking their Blackberrys after dinner during the blizzard. Click thru rates were amazing.

We’re now recommending either a follow up or the initial invitations to events go out at this time too.

Having said that a consistent stream of content is today’s marketing reality as @dmscott rightly points out. Constant engagement.

agilemarketing, B2B, content marketing

Perspective and Timing

content marketing

Content marketing – The recipe and secret ingredients

My Samhain stew : Potaje de garbanzos

The recipe

I was prompted recently by @contentSTHLM to discus a technique that should be in every content marketers arsenal. We were sparked by the idea of print magazines after reading this article on the Waitrose Kitchen magazine.

Free and in full view of those waiting at the checkout, the magazine is often seen prompting a customer to give up their spot in the queue to dive back into the store to find missing ingredients.

Recipes are so compelling as a content type because its shows how to build on a number of items to form a sum greater than their ingredients. But what other blends of content could this apply to?

Thinking it through – a number of recipes sprung to mind. The most successful examples did not just detail the recipe. The secret ingredient is the storytelling as they explain the skill of the artist.

  • – Proctor and Gamble, the original content marketers instigators of soap opera storytelling around their products, have also created a giant recipe book for everything a household might need at
  • – teach you how to put components together, get the most out of your bike and where the best rides are.
  • – brings hotrod and car enthusiast together to look at amazing cars, their details and what makes them special. from Rat Rods formed of others “junk” to historic cars painstakingly detailed and restored.

The recipe works for B2B and services as well

For example, lawyers could talk of the medley of business services that are required to launch a start-up. Mix their patent advice, company structure advice with an accountants view on taxes. Pepper with a little marketing advice and package it up as a free ebook for those wanting to start their own business.

What is ultimately compelling about the recipe is it gives us another method to address clients’ needs or pain points and educate them on how to get the best out of our products and services.

The collaborative approach shows that the company is interested in putting the right mix together. Not just talking about their products or services, but what is truly RIGHT for the client.

What recipes do you have floating around your content marketing?

Photo credits: My Samhain stew : Potaje de garbanzos by Enric Martinez, on Flickr