Mis-behaving Personae and confused marketers.

2008/11/04

As a warning to readers–the following post is not gentle and is meant to simulate creative thought…I hope!

Personae are cool, very cool and I promise you a unique way to understand and exploit their power.  What is a persona?  A persona is a mask which illuminates the potential behaviour of its wearer

Why would marketers confuse a persona with a market segement? Desperation or worse?  While I do know very professional and dedicated marketers, my sense is that most of them should either seriously or at least causally consider more fulfilling work.

As a storyteller, and fully recovered accountant, I am at a loss to explain why any sensible commercial entity would strip the stories that describe their customer interactions, replace them with a cash register transactional record and then one year later pay a marketer to poll an ‘average’ customer to determine why customers purchased their product in the past.  To add insult to injuries the same marketer is usually asked to use the same ‘data’ to determine the future behaviour of said ‘customer’.

I call these type of operators ‘numerati‘ or confused marketers who believe that numbers alone reveal truth.

Market segmentation techniques are useful, polling is useful, conversations with customers help significantly and at the end of the day all are helpful.  What is less helpfull is taking stories that occurred in the past and casting them forward in a changed world where the only way to truly understand future behaviour is to ask someone shortly before or immediately after it is observed.

The most interesting expression of persona behaviours is taking place right now with the US Presidential election with Barack Obama and John McCain.  Consider the manner in which stories, behaviours and action are being synchronized by the Obama campaign and the lack of same by the McCain camp.  While this type of accord may be happening spontaneously, it is interesting to watch, especially when you consider that the persona behaviours of the candidates and their followers span media, locations and time.

In my opinion a serious marketer or persona practitioner would do well by observing the last 3 months of the US presidential campaign.

Persona Behaviour Tools–> www.scenario2.com

 

 

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