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Personas are not built in a vacuum - Inbound Lessons

Posted by Kok Ching Lim on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 @ 00:06 AM


Recently, I spent a week at Isetan Scotts, Singapore, as a promoter for Healthy Beauty Forum Aojiru for BeauBeau Singapore (www.beaubeau.me). BeauBeau Singapore is the distributor for HBF Aojiru in ASEAN.

In addition to acquiring blisters and feet aches, I also realized that buyer personas are not built in a vacuum.

When BeauBeau Singapore first started, we developed a few versions of Buyer Personas – for example, Jon The Man, and Ying the Young. We wrote stories and imagined how they will use the product, how they will evaluate the product, and ultimately purchase it. And we developed action items and content strategies based on this. Nonetheless, not much was achieved.

What was the missing link?

One word: Reality.

A buyer persona, though should be fictional, cannot be divorced from actual sales experience.

By talking to actual prospects and buyers at Isetan Scotts, we get to know who are the real buyers, what are the key concerns they have, and which concerns are the deal clinchers!

For example, we thought that Ying the Young would buy for her own use. But reality is, they don’t. However, they would bring their moms to buy Aojiru from us. Out of filial piety! This happened not once, or twice, but on a few occasions.

For Jon the Man, we thought that they would look for information and buy for their wives. But then again, no. It was their wives who found the information and then instructed them to buy from us. They were the arms and legs, but not the brain. Sad insight: boyfriends and husbands do not yield much influence in women’s beauty care buying decisions. This understanding totally inverted our approach towards Jon the Man.

By witnessing how sales were closed at Isetan, we gained a level of insight about our buyer personas that no amount of brainstorming, focus groups, or surveys could achieve.

Conclusion: To be more effective in executing inbound marketing strategies, it pays to follow-through a few sales transactions. These practical experiences inject reality into a persona and makes it so much more useful! This is especially true for Start-Up Companies and New Market Penetration activities.

Disclosure: KC is a co-founder and shareholder of BeauBeau Singapore Pte Ltd.

Image Credit:

Personas by Nicholas Nova / BY CC

Tags: Inbound Marketing, persona

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