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Multiple Persona Disorder

June 7, 2016 - Marketing - , ,
By: Yolanda Fintschenko

For your copy to succeed, it should have the content your leads and customers want. When written for everyone, your copy has multiple persona disorder, and resonates with no one. To avoid this, you must craft content for a specific type of person that embodies the goals, thoughts, and behaviors that underpin the buying decisions of your target market. This is also known as a buyer persona or customer persona.

But what if you can’t pick just one persona for all of your content? For example, you may have to sell the end user on your product’s benefits and the purchaser on your product’s value. Maybe some of your content is targeting opinion leaders whose recommendations guide your customers’ behavior. Then it’s time to segment your content to match your market segment, and create personas for each.

Your content will be more compelling and relevant if you can select one and only one person whose wants and needs are the best match for each crafted message about your product or service. To this end, you may have to create different landing pages, content types and sources, and digital crumbs to get the right person in front of the message that motivates.

Once you do, your content becomes about helping your customers satisfy their own curiosity and needs, rather than simply being a potentially annoying sales pitch. This elevates your brand above the noise as an authority.

Build your personas using data. It’s important not to guess here. Both qualitative and quantitative research is helpful in identifying the customer drivers, mindset, and obstacles to buying. Additionally, it is important to learn where your buyer can be reached. Social media? Trade shows? Professional organizations?

Qualitative research that counts.

Reach out to current customers (or groups you wish were current customers) to learn about them. Use surveys, phone calls, social media, and in-person interviews as well as polls. Any and all of these are effective.

Not sure what you need to know? Ask questions that help you understand archetypal behavior drivers, and customer expectations about the purchasing experience, service, product, and obstacles to purchasing for the persona you are developing.

Obtain secondary data about your customers from trade magazines or other sources for your industry. Use data you have collected from content you have already offered including ads, and promoted posts on social media. Monitor click-through rates to understand what appeals to your customers.

Who’s who?

Make sure you understand how buying decisions are made and offer something for everyone who’s needed to complete a purchase. Often, an end user initiates the request for purchase but is not the buyer. Create a persona for the buyer. Will they need to pay by credit card or PO? Do they need a justification for purchase? Find out what information you will have to provide to both the end user and the buyer so the decision to purchase and making the purchase is as easy as possible.

Using surveys and polls.

Is your product/service too new to poll existing customers? It’s always possible to buy a poll or survey audience.

You can also identify likely customers and see who they are and what they say on social media. Do they use a specific social media outlet? Do they shun certain kinds of content or content formats? Who do they listen to when they are forming their opinions? Engage model customers using their preferred social media platform with one or two question polls to collect data about their habits and behaviors.  

Collecting quantitive data

Go to Google! Yes, Google Analytics offers segmentation tools that are quantitative—with the caveat that they segment only the population that visits your website. You can segment what content attracts what type of visitor by creating segments to track such as:

  • Average revenue per user
  • Transactions per user
  • New versus repeat customers
  • Frequent customers
  • Geographic location of users
  • Time of day users visit
  • Referrals from other websites
  • Social shares

Looking for examples of successful persona-building? Check out MailChimp’s case studies.

Open up the conversation with your peers! Share your favorite persona-building case studies in the comments section of this post and crowdsource your persona-building process.

featured image source: www.ronbrauner.com


Yolanda is a scientist, writer, marketer, coach and avid runner who lives and works in Livermore, CA.  She founded Common SciSense, a marketing company for technical products, and co-founded founderTRACTION, lean marketing services for startups.