How many of you have created a buyer persona, only to find out that it's close, but not quite right? Have you assessed the difference between the personas of the different members of the buying/consensus group? Yes, you can have a persona for all of them.
Personas are a concept that's been talked about quite a bit lately, but what I've noticed is that you have to stretch it further and look at how the different personas interact with each other. How does the process of a recommender convincing a purchase decision maker work?
Over on the Not too fluffy blog, Tim has a series of posts trying to define both the recommender, "Chris," who is the end user and "Vince," the purchase decision maker.
For Vince, he's focused on his business persona with things like his responsibilities, that he may have been gone around by the CTO, and that he delegates his research.
For Chris, he's focused on the personal attributes of what kind of car he drives, what sports he participates, how he decorates his house and what he watches on TV.
"I'm not sure I have a good picture of this guy yet. I'm seeing what I think you want him to be rather than who he is." That's a comment made about Vince.
The problem is that the views of the persona are not apples to apples. Vince needs some personal attributes and Chris needs some business ones. With a consensus purchase, it's going to be as important to determine the dynamics of the participants interpersonal relationships as it will be to be able to serve their individual needs. It is a combination.
Next, Tim posts Buyer Persona's Criteria, which focuses on business needs. The only two that I see relating directly to Vince's persona are the last two, that he likes to go with "safe" recommendations backed by press and analysts and likes to use case studies that show successful implementations. The others appear to be wishful thinking without concrete reasons for why Vince would be swayed one way or another.
What's missing is why? What will buying Tim's product solve for Vince? What will it do for Chris? Ultimately, the overriding argument is what impact will it have for the company? I think Tim's on the right track, but I think he needs to apply the personas he has to each other and then back to the company. Ultimately, Vince has someone to answer to as well. He's responsible for implementing his part of the corporate strategy.
Is it enough to go small picture without combining it with the larger corporate view?
If you want to see how people describe themselves, go read Tim's posts and then the comments. And here's one who posted his own persona on his blog. Interesting stuff. He's got lots of folks chiming in with how they compare to his Chris persona and how they don't.
Make sure to filter the personas you create. Are they based on knowledge or are they what you want to believe?