BEYOND PERSONAS: PROGRESSIVE PERSONA PROFILING
Part 3: Gaining a New Level of Understanding Along the Modern Buyer’s Journey
By Scott Levine, VP, Strategy—May 1, 2014
For Progressive Persona Profiling, a short, succinct description of the target is developed first. For this example, the target is the CMO of a Fortune 1000 technology company. The description of the target reads as follows:
“My goal is to never be satisfied with the status quo and to be a leader of positive change for my organization, never allowing us to fall behind while the world moves ahead, as I am not intimidated by technology. I embrace it as I position our marketing organization to create the future that I envision.”
This description was informed by primary research consisting of interviewing dozens of CMOs to understand their greatest challenges as a result of the complete redefinition of B2B marketing in 2014.
Next, we need to account for each stage of the modern buyer’s 10-stage journey. Then, five different states of thought are developed to completely understand the buyer as they move through their journey. The five different states of thought are:
Need: This is also known as a “want” state
Thinking: This is also known as a “logical” or “thought” state.
Feeling: This is also known as an “emotive” or “evoked” state.
Experience: This is also known as an “experiential” state, which can include prior experiences that impact current thought or emotive processes, or the current or perceived future experience based on the stage in the journey.
Consideration: This state is based on the need, thinking, feeling and experiential states. What are the likely considerations that the target is contemplating during each stage of the journey?
Let’s look deeper in the first stage of the modern buyer’s 10-stage journey in our CMO example, which is the stage of “Distraction.”
Stage 1: Distraction
1- Need (also known as a “want” state): What is the need or want of the buyer in each stage? We have found that posing the need or want in a question helps to frame the actual need. In our example of a CMO Progressive Persona Profile, the following questions are posed for each stage:
Do I have confidence that our marketing is effective? For this question, the need is obvious: the CMO needs to be confident that his/her marketing is effective. The implications of this need state include a need to be able to understand the ROI of the marketing through analytics and analysis to determine if, in fact, it is effective. What are the CMO’s reasons for not being confident or for questioning his/her confidence?
“My inbox is cluttered with news of marketing reports and surveys. I opened one today that asked if I had confidence that our company’s marketing is effective. Do I have confidence? Another prompted me to think if I am able to state my primary goal in one sentence. I can’t.”
2- Thinking (also known as a “logical” or “thought” state): Based on the need of gaining confidence in the effectiveness of his/her marketing, what is the CMO likely to be thinking at this stage of distraction?
“I’m here to be the leader of positive change for my organization, yet very little has changed. We still do the same old stuff, albeit with better tools and not much better results.”
3- Feeling (also known as an “emotive” or “evoked” state): This state is often overlooked and ignored, yet, we can argue that the emotive state is one of the most important. In our example, the CMO feels stagnant. He/She feels like there hasn’t been any movement in their marketing’s effectiveness and that there is a desire to change—to move forward toward the goal of confident effectiveness.
“Regarding positive change, I feel as though we’re stagnant. I know we can’t do everything, but we certainly can do something to improve. The question is what, how and when do we begin?
4- Experience (also known as an “experiential” state): This state can include prior experiences that impact current thought or emotive processes, or the current or perceived future experience based on their stage in the journey.
“With each new year comes the resolution-driven ideas as to how to move our marketing forward, yet we are still in the weeds trying to sort out campaigns and other minutia.”
5- Consideration: Based on the need, thinking, feeling and experiential states, what are the likely considerations that the target is contemplating during each stage of the journey?
“I need a better plan to accomplish my goals and objectives for this year. I’d really like to have 100-day, 6-month and 12-month plans in place to get us where we need to be.”
Our research has shown that CMOs operating in a B2B marketing environment are being challenged like never before with the greatest change in marketing happening over the past two years. The rules for creating a demand generation campaign have taken a 180-degree turn. Previously, prospects were formally being marketed to with gated assets that required registration to obtain any information. Now, in the age of the empowered and emboldened consumer, marketers must find a way to provide relevantly compelling content to these buyers for each of the stages in the 10-stage modern buyer’s journey. Many recent studies indicate that a modern B2B buyer has decided on a product or service far in advance of speaking to a sales representative. Furthermore, modern B2B buyers are conducting that research on their own terms, without registering to download white papers or watch videos.
Various outputs can be created from the Progressive Persona Profile, which include content strategy, media strategy, messaging and positioning, and even overall campaign strategies.
If you would like to learn more about this important innovation in the evolution of persona development and how KERN can help your marketing organization with Progressive Persona Profiling, please contact Scott Levine at KERN at email@example.com.
More information regarding Progressive Persona Profiling will be included in the new book written by Russell Kern and Scott Levine, which is expected to be published in the summer of 2014. Please download the complimentary Executive Preview of The 8 Pillars of Demand Generation for Revenue Acceleration.