Understanding common pitfalls with customer personas
All customer personas are not created equal. There are some key components that you need to get right, to make sure yours provide the results you need, not just a pretty picture.
So, what if your customer personas do not seem to be gaining traction? We often come across three common pitfalls that clients fall into when they create their customer personas.
Pitfall One: Too Many Personas.
The first pitfall is having too many personas. Most experts would suggest four to six personas are plenty. The problem with having too many customer personas is that the job of truly developing and tailoring useful content for a large number of customer profiles becomes massive. It is also much harder to prioritise your funnel efforts. If you are finding yourself struggling to keep track of all your personas, it may be time to cut back and realign who you’re targeting and why.
Pitfall Two: Lack of True Depth.
Another of the common pitfalls that we often see is a lack of true depth of thought and insight. An organisation’s personas may be presented in a nice design, but the insights are too top-line and too basic to be useful. This can sometimes be the result of poor alignment between the sales and marketing teams, where compromise rules over interrogating the facts or investment in detailed foundational research. If you’re not feeling wowed by the insights driving your personas, it may be time to invest a little more research and strategic thinking into them.
Pitfall Three: Outdated Profiling.
Our final common pitfall occurs where personas have been developed historically and are based on outdated profiling, in a ‘set-and-forget’ approach. This is understandable considering the effort that may have gone into developing detailed customer personas, and then achieving business buy-in. Yet customer trends, perceptions and expectations have changed rapidly in many sectors. Quality personas take these consumer changes into account. If you consider how you have changed this year, it’s likely your consumer base has as well.
Why Should You Care?
So, what is the impact for organisations with these pitfalls? Because personas are part of your marketing foundation, if they’re problematic they’ll cause underlying issues across all your marketing efforts. This can include:
- Ineffective channel approaches
- Wasted resources
- Lower ROI
- Ineffective spend
- Messaging that misses the mark
Sometimes in times of change, it is better to slow down to make sure the foundations of your marketing investments are solid before you start spending on communications, advertising and promotion. Now is the perfect time to take a critical look at your customer personas. Are they really good enough? Have you taken a dive into one or more of the common pitfalls? Is it time for a strategic review or consumer research?
Juntos Marketing pride ourselves on our research-based persona development, helped along by our in-house market research team at Leapfrog. We have a lot of experience researching, developing, and building personas that work hard for you. Contact us for a chat on how we might get your consumer personas to the next level.
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