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Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into your Customer's Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business Hardcover – March 9, 2015
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From the Inside Flap
The best way to understand what people want is to get to know them. Businesses are beginning to re-embrace this truth, and to realize that Big Data reveals only part of the customer's story. Marketing surveys have indicated that, within the next couple of years, at least 80 percent of all marketers will be using buyer personas to define their audiences and guide business strategies. Those who have already tried the technique have been amazed by its ease and value, yet, for many, buyer personas are still not translating to increased business. Buyer Personas is a long-awaited how-to guide for marketers who want to implement buyer-expert marketing effectively.
Creating buyer personas is the process of conducting one-on-one interviews with customers to get a handle on their mind-sets, understand their purchasing decisions, and build three-dimensional profiles of real buyers. But how are these interviews conducted? And then what? Buyer Personas addresses these questions in a concise and refreshingly relatable way. Adele Revella hopscotches over fads and hysteria to prove that asking customers about their decisionsand then systematically analyzing their answersis one of the most powerful strategies around.
"Know your customer" is an adage as old as marketing itself, but, in the digital era, many are forgetting this timeless truth. Although it's possible to gather mountains of information on just about anything, no amount of data will help marketers understand customers as wellor as quicklyas simply listening. Interview a customer tomorrow morning, and by tomorrow afternoon you will have robust new knowledge of how your buyers think, without any of the pitfalls that accompany less people-centered approaches.
Buyer Personas provides immediately actionable, step-by-step procedures and answers to the questions that marketers ask as they begin to build and use buyer personas. Beginning with the principles of buyer persona marketing, then proceeding to a practical method for contract or in-house buyer persona development, the book concludes with the most crucial elementmaking use of buyer personas once they have been generated. Countless examples show that this last step is where too many marketing executives fall short. They focus on the goal of creating buyer personas without a clear plan that guarantees a useful outcome. The third section of Buyer Personas assures that the buyer persona initiative leads to sales and marketing activities that measurably impact business goals.
From the Back Cover
PRAISE FOR BUYER PERSONAS
"I find that most marketers have no 'real' idea how to develop buyer personas for their organization. This critical component is either missing or completed incorrectly for the majority of enterprises. Don't let this happen to you. Buy this book and implement this strategy in your organization today."
Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute and Author of Epic Content Marketing
"In an age of Big Data analytics, where all the emphasis has been on B2C marketers inferring consumer buying tendencies by crunching Web logs, it is good to see new work on the qualitative side of the ledger, focused on specific individuals making considered purchase decisions shaped by personal and social values. Adele's focus on buyer personas provides a great platform for building B2B marketing campaigns."
Geoffrey Moore, Author of Crossing the Chasm
"Business schools advise marketers to listen to customers. Adele Revella provides a powerful methodology to understand customers. This book is an important contribution to the marketing literature. Highly recommended."
S. Thomas Emerson, Distinguished Career Professor of Entrepreneurship, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
"'If you build it they will come' no longer works in the high tech industry. Adele's book is a practical guide to starting with the customer first, making your marketing more relevant so you can close more business faster. Most important is her approach to understanding why buyers don't choose your solutions, providing the marketing innovator with an opportunity to turn objections into key selling points."
Bridget C. Bisnette, Senior Director, Cisco Systems
"In a world where marketing is increasingly about listening to your customers and meeting their needs, you need to find a way to both do that well and do it efficiently. Here, Adele Revella delivers the prescription."
Ann Handley, Author of the bestselling Everybody Writes and Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
"Look no further than this tried-and-true playbook from the reigning queen of the buyer persona. Adele Revella's practical, step-by-step approach has been immensely valuable to help us develop a more effective messaging strategy. Buyer personas help us get inside the consumer's mind-set, instead of falling back on the 'me-too messaging' that's so prevalent in our industry."
Marissa Myers, Director of Marketing, Dreyfus Sotheby's International
"Adele's message is simple but incredibly powerfulmarket from an understanding of what really matters to buyers. It might sound simple, but it's hard to do. Want to know your customer better? Want a better way to communicate with them? Want to change the game on your sales and marketing? This book shows the way, with a clear and effective road map for developing and using personas."
Tim Cook, Partner & Vice President of Client Services, The Mx Group
Top customer reviews
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You need to know just three things: why they buy; how they buy; and what criteria they apply to their choices. These three questions (plus a few more deeply relevant ones, like why they DON'T buy) form the core of Revella's persona philosophy and her book. Frankly, this book is worth the price just for the chapters on interviewing alone--Revella gives away the secrets to getting people to dig deep and give you the good stuff--what's really going on when they choose Brand A over Brand B?
By the time you work your way through Revella's book, you'll have a practical map that doesn't just lead to great personas, but to personas you can directly link to messaging platforms, branding strategies, and sales enablement tactics. If you've gotten this far in the review, you get the point: this is the persona process that works. Now get the book.
First of all the book itself is great and well-organized. In linking to her blog from the Amazon product page, it’s easy to see that Revella's mission is getting readers to see the importance of engaging buyers to learn about their true buying motivations. She is clearly concerned that what many organizations are doing badly in the name of creating and using buyer personas and they need to get back on track. As she mentions in the book and on her blog, she’d rather fight this battle in-person in workshops and seminars but this book has the chance to broaden her audience.
What I found especially interesting alongside “The Sales Acceleration Formula” is that Revella seems to be attempting to do the same thing Roberge did in his book. Where Roberge is trying to win greater awareness and respect for what Sales can do in a changing buying, media and technology environment, Revella is lobbying for Marketing to recognize how much B2C and especially B2B customers are doing before they ever come in contact with a company. Where Roberge was able to build Sales from scratch, Revella realizes that the real challenge of moving Marketing to a more buyer-centric orientation is talking marketing and senior management teams into it. Really from opposite directions, these two books show how important it is to get support to address the rapidly-changing habits and needs of new consumers and business customers.
The book uses a number of case studies typically within the tech industry because that’s where Revella has worked primarily. Right now I’m working in retail but I still consider our business (selling mattresses and sleep systems) a medium-consideration decision as consumers start to realize how important sleep is in their general health and wellness. It was a little difficult making the translation between her tech focus and cases, but I still got a lot out of this read.
The book also took me back to a project I worked on with IBM in the late 80’s. We built sales simulations where sales trainees would sit in a kiosk and interact with video simulations of customers … not only responding to multiple-choice “what would I do/say next” scenarios but also recording video of their presentations and responses. At the end of each simulation the trainee could re-play the video which showed the back-and-forth responses between the customers pre-recorded on video interspersed with the trainee’s own video responses. What was relevant to this book is that the IBM project required the trainee to work through a series of simulations with a variety of influencers before they qualified to talk with the ultimate decision-maker. As I think back to how we worked with IBM to cast, dress and direct actors to play those various customer roles, we were essentially building buyer personas of those customers, who needed to symbolize what “typical” customers in those roles said, looked like and decided.
In summary, this is a good book to read to re-connect with how customers are changing as they can start to make purchasing decisions in their own ways—not just with the salesperson—but before and after as they talk to peers and find out a lot more information online.
Fast-forward 6 years later and Buyer Personas are a hot topic to many marketers, content marketers in particular. And there are discussions, templates and tools all over the internet on how to create personas but they seem of mixed value to me. I find out that Adele has struck out on her own and is publishing her first Buyer Persona book so it's time to get it on Amazon!
Having just finished the book (I will re-read the key chapters), I found it structured and presented in the same practical fashion that she used as an instructor. Plenty of details, supportive coaching, insights and more. In the end, building a buyer persona is qualitative market research and not everyone has that skill in their toolset. Adele's book provides the busy marketer, guidance and the guard rails to keep your Buyer Persona project on track with enough details but also the flexibility to fit your resource scenario. The book also provides examples of how to document your interview results and how to prioritize and synthesize them for execution in your marketing plan. She also covers the political aspects of getting sales support and buy-in to your Buyer Persona project.
Overall a very detailed and thorough book on Buyer Personas that you should leverage if you're serious about taking that first big step. Adele's been doing Buyer Personas for a long time and her expertise and wisdom shines through in this book. Worth the time and effort for professional marketers supporting medium to high consideration products and services, thanks Adele!