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John Windsor

Great ideas, Jill. And, similar to what you did in this post, it helps to put up pictures that might represent these personas. Makes it easier to carry on a (figurative) conversation with them.

JILL's response:

I'm not normally a visual person and would typically leave off the pictures. It helps to be reminded that it's valuable for others who don't think like me.


Drew McLellan


I think one of the reasons this technique is so powerful is that it serves as a very vivid reminder that regardless of the medium (a phone call, web copy, a radio spot) we are really speaking to one individual.

We naturally talk differently to one person as opposed to a big group. Using personas helps us to craft our copy/message to the individual, not an entire demographic group.

Thanks for hat tip.




Many thanks for your insight. Why don't you start a company that gets through the clutter and secures a phone appointment? Just a thought...


Mou Mukherjee

Hi Jill,

I found your post on personas interesting. I would like to add one comment though…from my understanding personas originated from data on marketing segments. They put a face on a marketing segment, or a prospective buyer. The only reason I bring that point up is that when I was researching them, it seemed like one of the problems was stereotyping.

I first was introduced to the idea of persona in business, at a vendor partner conference about two years back. The marketing team presented a matrix with all of their products broken down by prospective buyers such as CIO, Director of IT etc. (this was a tech company). They also showed which ones were influencers, and which were decision makers. You could then drill down and view their persona which included a persona profile, with a picture, video, age, goals & triggers, motivations, frustrations, and what they read. I was completely blown away with it. Though I don’t know what data they used, it seemed quite extensive and I would like it was based on internal and external sources. It seemed like a great tool, I’m not sure how many people walked away with a plan to start using them. I go back to the site from time-to-time and I still think that was one of the most interesting projects and tools they created for their partners/resellers. I have found it most useful for writing copy, but also for thinking through the various people involved in a decision (for higher end B2B solutions).

I was also delighted to see a comprehensive Business Tech Buyer personas written in MarketingSherpa’s Business Technology Benchmark Guide in 2006. That is probably the most comprehensive data I have seen around on IT Buyers.

I was looking around for more information on how they were created and I found this link http://www.textor.com/page_135.html, and at the bottom there is a presentation describing the process of building a persona.

I think it is definitely important to think like your prospects when it comes to messaging and communicating. I just wanted to mention that the technique has roots from a marketing data-driven environment. That is not to say that anybody can’t create their own, but at least understand how they were established…personal experience, from data, from instinct, from real people etc. I’m sure that in some cases you can be very good at it without extensive data to back it up. One might think that a persona based on marketing research or data is just as much of a stereotype as any..this is going to depend on your mindset and experience!


Jill Konrath

Mou, Thanks for the excellent insights you added to my post on "The Secret to Enticing Prospective Customers."

As a sales consultant working with clients primarily on new product launches for many years, I unconsciously was creating personas before I even knew what they were. In order to help them understand how to sell their technology, I would sink myself into the role of their perspective buyers and see if their sales messaging and approaches would be effective.

I was delighted several years ago to finally learn that what I was doing had a name! Also, I enjoyed visiting the site you recommended and the numerous links I visited from there. I haven't seen Marketing Sherpa's report, but would love too!

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