How to Use Buyer Personas to Spike and Measure PR Results

Pure product promotion no longer works on the web.  What works today is a focus on your buyers, their needs, and earning a position as a thought leader.

Have you experienced this galactic shift in PR and marketing?

There is a similar shift in how to MEASURE your PR and marketing ROI.

THEN                                                       NOW
Ad Value Equivalent                             SEO & Page Rank
Eyeballs & Website Hits                     Engagement
Twitter followers                                   Advocacy (tell their friends and peers)

Let’s assume you already understand your company must become THE GO-TO PUBLISHING PLATFORM for your area of expertise.  To do this, your message must CUT THROUGH THE NOISE LEVEL because your audiences are overwhelmed with content.  And, for the C-Suite, you must measure the success of your efforts.

How can you do all this effectively?  One way is to interview people who are purchasing your solutions, or ones similar to it, and create composite profiles of your ideal purchasers.  These profiles are called Buyer Personas. Once they are created, you know exactly what message your buyers want to hear, in what tone of voice, and on what venues. THIS BUILD TRUST. We all want to do business with people we like and trust.   Naturally you have already identified how investing time to create Buyer Personas supports:

  1. Your PR and marketing goals (These could include soften the market for sales leads, change positioning, nudge buyers along the engagement continuum, get your message out there, change your reputation).
  2. Your C-Level’s definition of success.  What makes the C-Suite say “We really rocked this week.” Or “The competition really rocked us this week.” MEASURE PROGRESS AROUND YOUR C-SUITE’S DEFINITION OF SUCCESS.

Be sure to measure a baseline first.

Here are the kinds of questions we use to create Buyer Personas (thanks Adele Revella @BuyerPersona for your excellent leadership).

For the Core Buyer Persona profile (not related to your products)

1.  How long have you been in your job?
2.  With whom do you work directly?
3.  What are your responsibilities?
4.  What are you trying to do in your job? What does your boss rely on you for?
5.  To what 3 to 5 problems or objectives do you dedicate your time, budget
and energy each day?
6.  What do you like about your job? What is challenging?
7.  What is your basic need? Frustrations? Concerns?
8.  What pressures do you face in your job?
9.  What are your goals and aspirations
10.  Other?

For the Product Persona profile (the same person in relation to your products)

11.  What does success look like to you (tangible or intangible)?
12.  How would you describe your company’s culture?
13.  What is 1 main thing you would like to change about your job?
14.  Where do you consume your information? Online portals? Facebook?
15.  What words, phrases do you search?
16.  Do you read blogs? Chat rooms? Forums?
17.  Are you open to video or audio?
18.  What tradeshows do you attend?
19.  What is the 1 thing you want from a vendor?  What experience are you
looking for?
20.  What is the 1 thing you would like to tell a vendor?
21.  What happened on the day you decided to look for a solution like this?
22.  What process did you go through to find potential solutions?
23.  What other people are/were involved in this process?
24.  What specifically do you think should be easy to use and for whom?
25. What is your most common objection to our product or service?

Where do Buyer Personas fit into measurement?  Buyer Persona’s come 1st, before you set up your measurement program


As a proof point, here are @KDPaine’s “10 Questions Every Communications Professional Must Be Able to Answer Before Beginning a Measurement Program

1. What Are Your Objectives?
2. Who Are Your Program’s Target Audience(s)?
3. What Is Important to Your Audiences?
4. What Motivates Them to Buy Your Products?
5. What Are Your Key Messages?
6. Who Influences Your Audience(s)?
7. How Do You Distribute Your Product or Service?
8. What Are You Going to Do with the Information You Get from Your
9. What Other Departments or Areas Will Be Affected?
10. What Other Measurement Programs Are Currently Underway?

If this seems overwhelming, remember in most things we learn to crawl before we fly. Get started now with your Goals, Success Definitions and Buyer Persona interviews. Would you let me know if we can help?


Thanks to Adele Revella, KD Paine and the fine folks at Bulldog Reporter PR University for their outstanding work.  KD Paine’s Proving the Power of Social Media Marketing to Top Management Advanced Measurement Techniques’PR University webinar inspired this post.

UPDATED Feb 1, 2012: Thanks @buyerpersona and @dmscott for bringing this to my attention.  A great read: “Persona based content marketing at the Nobis Hotel