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Did you ever have one of those sleepless nights in a Godforsaken hotel and you find yourself channel flipping? You 100k miles per year executives know exactly what I am talking about. You suddenly hit an infomercial promising you earnings twice to three times what you are making now and you only have to work as little as 10 hours per week. Infomercials are good at this. They are real good at showing you the golf course, the BMW, and the testimonials of people who live the lifestyle of the rich and famous. As you sit there in your catatonic state your mind screams “- why can’t I have that!”
This next rule has to do with not falling for the promise that you can have just anybody on your team creating high quality buyer personas after they attend a one-hour workshop:
Rule 3: Get the right people with the right attributes and right skill sets
Like any new concept that begins to rise in awareness, you start to see workshops promising that in an hour or half-day you will be creating buyer personas and you will be taking them back with you to the office. As mentioned before in this series, this approach seriously devalues buyer personas in the eyes of executives. It takes a certain set of attributes and skill sets to do the qualitative work, distill what you’ve learned, create buyer personas that are reflective of true buyer goals, and are meaningful. Needless to say, to begin to apply attributes and skill sets to actual experience takes more than an hour or a half-day.
I’ve seen several buyer persona development initiatives fail because they were simply put in the wrong hands. It was just a matter of the wrong set of attributes and skill sets compounded by the lack of adequate knowledge. And as many of you know; this is a recipe for disaster and a failed project.
Adele Revella, who has introduced the need for buyer personas to hundreds of people that came through her Effective Product Marketing course and advocates for buyer personas in her blog Buyer Persona Blog, myself, and Angela Quail had talks about this topic recently. We discussed the issue of how all of the aspiring product marketers want to learn how to create a buyer persona but the reality is that all may not possess the right attributes and skills to do so or to carry out an in-depth buyer persona development initiative that can last 3 to 4 months. This poses a real dilemma for senior executives to choose the right people to be involved in buyer persona development efforts with the intent to inform strategy and one they must get right.
The next time a request to approve sending personnel to a one-hour workshop to become an expert in creating a buyer persona, snap out of the catatonic state traveling has you in and come to your senses – say no.