Marketing personas often begin as a creative idea or theory that is put into practice.
When the concept or person works, others start to follow suit.
More and more people begin to be interested in the idea, and the person figuratively grows.
Sounds good, right? It works, doesn’t it?
Then people take the original idea and try to make money from it. Sometimes corners are cut. Other people apply the idea or concept but aren’t as good at it as the original people who started it.
The quality associated with the persona gradually decreases.
Over the past decade, the term marketing persona – defined as the composite sketch of a key segment of an audience – has emerged as a word that will help people better understand and better use segmentation.
Sometimes the person misses the mark in that regard.
Segmentation is an essential part of marketing.
Marketing is the most misunderstood and misunderstood of the major business disciplines – marketing, finance, sales, IT, human capital, and legal affairs. Segmentation is the most misperceived and misunderstood part of marketing.
The idea of using personas to better understand segmentation was good at first, but like all good ideas, it’s mimicked, copied, and watered down.
Personas were originally a way of describing a segment. The marketing team would come up with a name for this person.
However, there is a fine line between real-world segmentation and stereotyping. When we stereotype, it creates confusion and problems.
I have spoken to organizations large and small, as well as executive teams, in the United States.
We discuss the four requirements of effective segmentation.
The segmentation must be: Accessible, actionable, differentiable and measurable.
There are five types of segmentation: demographic, geographic, psychographic, behavioral, and firmographic.
To really segment effectively, we need six unique variables from these five types of segmentation.
There are a few things that usually happen when I talk to a client about segmentation. Sometimes they say: “We have that. We’ll do that.”
I usually reply, “OK, great.”
Every now and then someone does it really well. But more often than not someone thinks they’re doing well, but they’re actually missing an opportunity, and eventually we show them why.
The second thing that happens when you introduce segmentation is the customer’s tendency to reconsider it during the workshop. Not everyone has a marketing acumen, just as not everyone has a financial or operational acumen.
So I understand that years ago personas were meant to be stress relieving and marketing made easier.
The problem is that the process has been simplified so much that we are throwing names out of one person and only causing problems in the organization.
The original goal was to help people better understand segmentation. It should make people feel like they can use segmentation effectively. It started out fine but gradually led to stereotypes and an ineffective use of segmentation.
Personas will miss the mark if you don’t make sure the four requirements of segmentation are met, or if you don’t use or stretch the five different types of segmentation to use six variables.
David Mastovich is the founder and CEO of MASSolutions, moderator of the podcast “No BS Marketing” and author of the book “Get Marketing, Selling and Storytelling Going Wherever You Go”.