NeuroPersona DNA and Predictive Analytics

2008/11/16

Does a persona have DNA?

A Persona is a mask that may be worn or removed at will though the wearer may be impacted by the stories and measures associated to the Persona.  Simply put a Persona may act the same way on a person as DNA.

Like DNA a Persona’s stories may be mapped and measured, and Persona DNA is unique and permits many Personae to have similar features or characteristics.  Unlike human DNA, a person can discard one Persona and pick up another many times in a day.

Many cultures have the concept of shapeshifters or tricksters that change their appearances at will and indeed this happens everyday in our own culture if you subscribe to the Persona concept.

In my experience Persona DNA proves to be a simple and effective analysis tool though this is ambiguous if you don’t differentiate between a Persona, person or market segment label.

Future posts will explore how different cultures view masks and the stories they represent.

Cheers,

Nick www.scenario2.com


Persona & Marketing Performance

2008/11/12

How do winners measure Marketing Performance?

Look at all those companies and organzations that are successful and you will see a common theme, service.  Profit may not event be in the top three KPIs or key performance indicators and that is because profit is a symptom or result of success not the cause.

Service.  It sounds simple though it requires consideration, focus and dedication, all of the things in short supply when times are tough.  Oddly enough one of the toughest things required to be of service is to measure differently and shift perspectives from being a seller or provider to a buyer.

How does one accomplish a perspective shift?  It may be easier to identify ways that it is not accomplished. 

Do not offer services that have been successful yesterday.  In tough times or good times people adjust and change the way they operate.  This can be described as a change in process.  All of the products or services that they bought yesterday served yesterdays processes and don’t fit today.

Do not copy your most successful competitor as they for similar reasons will be selling products and services that will not be in demand tomorrow and even more importantly it is extremely difficult to change what everyone sees as successful behaviour.

Do not listen to your most value customer as they typically demand help for problems that are causing them the most pain.  Pain points can switch very quickly and hurt you too especially if you have built an inventory or trained staff to accomodate a problem that is about to disappear or be replaced.

But then what do we do and how do we shift our perspective to that of a buyer and attract success?

Understanding what people are about to do so that you can accomodate future success is the path less travelled and can be achieved with simple tools and consistant focused effort. 

Here are two simple steps that will start you on the path. 

  1. Pick the most successful products or services in your market, yours and your competitors and then identify the buyer processes that they serve today.  Use this ‘magic pair’–product/service and buyer processes–and overlay them on top of your market segment lables.  Pay close attention to those market segments that have the same processes. 
  2. Create a Personae based on groups of buyer behaviours that may span market segments and then match the Personae to the products and services identified in step 1.  

Now it gets simpler, we watch.  We are watching for small changes in processes important to people while simultaneously watching to see if products or services are changing to accomodate processes that are new to our understanding of what buyers need today.  In my experience this exercise provides a clear and simple indicator of what our clients, current and future, want tomorrow.

The simple truth of Marketing Performance or any performance indicator is that it measures what just happened, what was important yesterday.  Shifting your perspective to Persona Behaviour will permit you to serve with future need in mind.

Once this is done please remember to shift your perspective of performance as your old measures, like fish on a counter in the hot sun, will start to smell badly, very quickly.

Cheers,

Nick  nick@scenario2.com 

TIPS, TOOLS, RESOURCES 

Marketstory, Numerati, Persona, Wireframes & Scenarios Persona Driven Analysis & Portals Persona Based Business Intelligence 3D Persona


Persona Behaviour & Marketing Value

2008/11/09

Research indicates that Persona behaviour can span multiple interaction channels and shows that an individual can pick up and remove Persona masks at will according to their objectives and their measures of success.

Understanding how someone picks up and discards a Persona can help us serve our customers sublimely.

A laser like focus on service allows Persona practitioners to step up and offer unique value to our clients and their customers.

Imagine that a Persona can span multiple channels when interacting with an organization, from bricks to clicks to call centres.  Another dimension is the possibility that the person behind the Persona may buy or interact on behalf of someone else and take on their Persona.  Indeed they may go to the same site or company again and exhibit another Persona behaviour.
 
As Persona practitioners or stewards of web sites, call centres or physical stores we should accomodate Personae behaviours first, then static Personae labels and finally market segment labels.  All three perspectives complement eachother though it is my experience the notion of probabilistic behaviour or Persona behaviour offers the most flexibility and that the only real way to predict what someone will do is to ask them to declare what behaviour that is important to them.
The bottom line is that understanding Personae behaviours is critical but you must allow the people your serve to tell you what is important and provide navigation or value options to so that they can behave according to what they value at the time they intereact with you, your web sites, call centres or stores.
Cheers,
Nick
nick@scenario2.com

Persona Behaviour Predicts Future

2008/11/05

Forecasts and the future may be important to accountants and marketers but are best determined by the storyteller who bridges the present and the future by using a tool called a Persona or the representation of how someone might act in the future according to objectives important to them at that time.

How can a storyteller understand the future?  By using stories, pure and simple.

People depend on stories to understand their environment and processes important to them.  In our current techno-oriented world processes are or rather need to be accelerated by software.  Likewise stories create brand value which is then measured by numbers.  I call this sentence my ‘Story Lens’–tell a story twice and it becomes a process, tell it again and someone writes software, tell it again and it becomes a brand value and tell it yet again and someone creates a measure or KPI.

The Story Lens is a tool that provides perspective to a person.  Now it gets interesting.

Consider that perspective can be change at will and that perspective depends on what is being measured.  Typically measures involve two elements, a data set and a formula–this is also called a KPI.

A KPI is pointed to a process which is also a behaviour exhibited by a Persona.

NOW…to understand the future we set TARGETS, usually numbers, that we use to compare our performance and help us adjust to our customer, competitive or market circumstances.

WHAT is the commonality between today and tomorrow?  Stories, Numbers and Personae or people.

Understanding Persona behaviour allows us to understand what will happen in the future.  The relationships between Numbers, Stories and the future is explored at www.scenario2.com or www.marketstory.com


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