There's been a stir of controversy in the blogosphere. Personas' usefulness has been brought into question. Adele Revella of Buyer Persona Blog reports on chatter:
Personas can fail, and they often do. When they fail, it's usually because they don't represent your buyers' deep motivations. I wrote about this last year; here's a snippet:
The problem isn't the usage or even the concept of personas in general. It's typically their substance. Many personas don't pass the smell test. The reason for this is most companies lack customer data about why customers do what they do.
That's when a survey can be helpful. When handled correctly, customer surveys can provide a good starting point for gathering qualitative data about the customer experience.
The 4Q Survey
It used to cost a bucket of money to do this type of customer research. Now, with the help of a new technology, marketers have a new arrow in their quiver. The 4Q survey, the brainchild of Occam's Razor blogger Avanish Kaushik and Iperceptions (disclosure: I'm on Iperceptions's advisory board), can assist in providing you the necessary data to create meaty and profitable personas.
The survey asks four high-powered questions designed to extract the most data from your customers with the least amount of effort. Here are the questions:
Build a Foundation for Your Personas
With your 4Q data in hand, you can start crafting more effective personas.
Most personas are built by first sorting out customer data by demographics. A more effective way is to let this "why" data be the foundation for your personas. Instead of sorting by age and income, try sorting by the different motivations and tasks your customers have as they buy your product or service. Sort them into logical and emotional motivations, as well as slow-paced and fast-paced buying preferences.
Combine this data with other persona building techniques and you're off to the races.
4Q and Optimization
We can also use this data to uncover different optimization opportunities. If significant percentages of your visitors weren't able to complete tasks, that gives your optimization crew some specific action items to work on. Kaushik continues:
The 4Q is designed to give you insight into the why.
Couple this hard-hitting common sense with the power of personas and you have some serious weapons in your battle to increase conversion.
Meet Bryan at SES New York March 17-20.
Marketers Rejoice! ClickZ has launched ClickZ Live, an educational series to bring you innovative online marketing strategies and techniques. Learn to construct and successfully execute multi-channel marketing campaigns, plus identify key metrics and translate them into actionable plans.
Thursday, July 18: ClickZ Live will be in Vancouver, BC. Register before July 1 to save $100!
Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT