I originally got into the marketing field for 2 reasons. First, I am obsessed with the question of why. Why people do or don't do. Second, I love characters and stories. Had I not gone into marketing I would be the preverbal writer in the woods of Maine with her golden retriever, chamomile tea and organic gardens.
Thankfully, it was early in my marketing studies that I came across Bryan Eisenberg and the concept of predictive persona modes for marketing. The why, the characters and the stories all came into one for me. It was like watching my favorite movie over and over again.
The Four Customer Profile Examples
To truly understand customer buying behavior and align your sales and marketing processes accordingly, a framework is critical to create predictive models of your target customer's buying processes. Only then does conversion optimization testing make any sense or have the expected ROI. (heck, only then do you even know where to start and what to test!)
To do this, we use customer persona modes to create the predictive customer profiles that serve as the framework for copy, content, functionality, design and branding. From the time a search phrase gets entered into Google, all the way through the marketing and sales process, the closed sale, to customer service and satisfaction. Without persona modes, or customer profiles, it is impossible to integrate sales and marketing processes that create the exceptional customer experiences and powerful customer evangelists that increase sales.
Since the earliest Greek thinkers, we have understood that our personalities are as unique as snow-flakes. Still, for all of our uniqueness, we all have common temperaments.
The one commonality between nearly all personality tests is that they boil down to 4 modalities. Each of these 4 modes can be represented in the following customer profile examples, using my favorite movie series of all time; Star Wars.
The Competitive Customer Profile: Obi-Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader
Key to the competitive customer persona: accomplishment
Even though both of these well-known characters are on opposing sides, the masks they wear are the same.
Obi-wan trained Luke despite the warning from Yoda that it would be a difficult challenge. Vader thrived on control, it was his way or die choking. Both were motivated by their goals ( to destroy the other). Both focused on methods to accomplish their tasks and made their decision quickly in order to reach their objectives.
Common attributes for the competitive customer profile:
- Love challenges
- Enjoys being in control
- Goal Oriented
- Focus on methods to complete tasks
- Make decisions quickly
- What can you do to solve their problem?
Key to the spontaneous customer persona: action.
Perfect team mates, Chewbaca and Han Solo were always in the middle of the action. Their ship was the best, faster than any other. But don't let their action oriented nature fool you, they like things that were non-threatening and friendly. They loved a good party. Chewy loved to play chess against Obi-Wan. That is until he felt threatened by a pending loss. Then he turned the table over.
Common attributes for the spontaneous customer profile:
- Likes to keep things moving and be stimulated
- Prefers simplicity, avoids hard facts and overwhelming details
- Focus on the best of (ie: designer names resonate with them)
- Make decisions quickly
The Humanistic Customer Profile: Luke Skywalker & Princess Leia
Key to the humanistic customer persona: relationships.
Brother and sister twins separated at birth, both Luke & Leia are empathic and other-focused. Never concerned with their own safety, the fight impossible odds to defeat the evil Empire for the good of others.
Their trust in their friends is unwavering, and they rush to their side at the slightest sign of trouble, even if it is their own undoing. Their trust of new things or others is based on what their friends tell them over facts. Remember, Leia only gave Han a chance because Luke said he was a good guy, and Leia trusted Luke.
Common attributes for the humanistic customer profile:
- Social and enjoys helping others.
- Who has used this product/service, what do they say about it?
- Concerned with who will be affected by their decisions.
- Slow to make decisions because it is made based on relationships.
Key to the methodical customer persona: accuracy.
Love them or be annoyed by them, this dynamic data duo specialized in the cold hard facts. Everything is logical to them, and when forced into a situation that doesn't make logical sense (like docking their ship inside an enemy ship), they may freak out a little and not be able to cope (ie: make a decision). C-3PO is well known for his seemingly useless facts and complete inability to cope with anything outside of the plan. He is not good in crisis.
Common attributes for the methodical customer profile:
- Appreciate facts, information and logic.
- Must have organization and detailed tasks.
- Need to understand how the product/service solves their problem.
- Slow to make decisions (must compute all data first!)
Naturally, it would be unreasonable to assume that our target customer's will neatly fall into just one of these profiles. 21st century customer profiles must go well beyond demographic segmentation. The internet is multi-talented, your customer profiles should take each of these temperaments into account, depending on your companies value to the persona itself. The goal is to understand what mask, or mode, your customer is using when approaching the buying decision for your product or service.
This will then tell you how to create your strategy for the the most important part of the process.
Sales and Marketing Integration with Personas- The Approach
When you use personas to create your customer profiles, you have a clear characteristic understanding of their information gathering approach, their decision making style, and their timeline for making decisions. Now you can adjust and integrate your sales and marketing approach according to their buying process.
Frictionless buying. Win-Win.
Start your win by taking the first steps to integrating your sales and marketing processes according to your ideal customer profiles.