Successful marketers are taking advantage of buyers that are more willing than ever to volunteer information about themselves, especially psychographic data that has historically been so difficult to obtain. But there’s a layer of complexity this new buyer has added: Multiple personas.
We all take on multiple roles or personas throughout our day (for example, we’re an employee, a volunteer, a son, a parent, a football fan, etc.), all of which can prompt different behaviors and even attitudes, depending on the context. We do this to relate, filter and process our world and project certain aspects of ourselves, while keeping other facets hidden when they’re inappropriate or irrelevant. You could appear at a parent/teachers conference in football fan face paint, it’s a side of you, but it won’t necessarily score any points with the community because it’s the wrong context.
The adoption of multiple personas will only increase as we spend more time online. High performing digital marketers understand the personas buyers adopt, and when they adopt them – to craft how they treat buyers at different points in the buying journey. Successful digital marketers understand context.
For example, BobbyQ, the Big Green Egg barbecue persona, will leave a trail of information about eating preferences, what she cooks, types of recipes used, which products she is using and who she is influencing. BobbyQ will share this because it is in her best interest to do so as she socializes, explores and walks through a buying process. Smart marketers will respond by acknowledging the ebbs and flows of BobbyQ’s changing contexts and personas.
But a word of caution: Buying third party information or demanding BobbyQ’s physical address, her actual name, if she is married or other more-traditional demographic data collection marketers often seek may have little-to-no meaning to what she is trying to accomplish and will not get her closer to deciding to buy something.
This is the promise for digital marketing in areas like social marketing and creating destinations for customers to explore, engage and walk through the need/want, information search and evaluation stage of a buying process. It provides engagement options that enable prospects and customers to define and express their own personas and how they want to relate to companies. Marketers should start to market to the persona, rather than the focusing on the actual person because it will be their best evidence of how to sell to them.