Customer Personas Is Just A Waste Of Time And Money

By | June 28, 2016

There are a lot of talks and hypes about customer personas for marketing and business but personally, I have never been a fan of it because I don’t think it helps to grow a brand and my or any other business.

You spend hell a lot of time, resources and money into market research, customer survey, and focus groups trying to gather data to define these personas. Try adding up the money on this and it’s a real scary bill. Instead of this, why not spend it on creating relevant and mass appeal content that will actually work. Kissmetrics has an article where research shows that the most effective online lead nurturing tactic is creating relevant content. All these segmentation and personas targeting is below the list.

We as individuals are all different with different behaviors and personas. If you really want to group your customers into segments or persona groups, how many of these groups are you going to create? Probably tons of them but perhaps only 4, 5 or 10 just so you think you really know your customers? Think hard about it and put your hand on your heart and ask yourself really??

Remember at the end of the day a brand grows and successful businesses and companies have mastered is to gain more customers via mass marketing. I have written a blog entry about this before and I also want to pull this short summary of how brand grows out from Brand Genetics:

Mass Marketing Works

Moreover, when you look at the evidence, there is no reason to complicate your marketing lives with targeting and segmenting customers, whether based on lifestyle, category usage or brand loyalty. Positioning brands for particular target segments is as futile as brand positioning by creating a differentiated brand ‘personality’. Successful growth brands have universal appeal, and mass marketing with a reach-optimised single simple message, rather than being a mass mistake, is still the most effective way to drive sales.

Imagine putting this into the offline world. I run a successful small retail business with my wife and if we do go down the path of personas, we probably won’t have time to run the most important part of growing our business – customer service, offer new product range, increase our sales on best sellers etc. and all of these using a mass marketing and customer approach. Instead, I would probably be dissecting my retail business and products into different sections, segments, personas, groups, audience, target markets, and…into a real mess!

Now I want to show you some quantitative data below of a lead generation campaign.

Conversions Cost Per Conversion
Personas Campaign 69 $312
Mass Campaign 1960 $120
Difference 28.4 2.6

28 times more conversions for mass campaign vs personas campaign – You need to work 28 times higher to get to the same mass and the cost per conversion for the personas campaign is 2.6 times higher and to sum it up simply (I am not a statistician or anything near), you need to work 28.4 x 2.6 = 73.84 times harder and most effectively and efficiently in order to get to the same result as a mass campaign will achieve. Translate that into dollars, wow, that’s really something to think about isn’t it?

Just to end this post, here‘s a funny excerpt from The Sales Lion:

Company: Marcus, we are on our way with content marketing. We’ve identified all of our marketing personas!

Me: That’s wonderful. But how much content have you actually produced?

Company: Well, not much, but we’ve identified our marketing personas!

And so it goes

And very true but hard to master:

 

For the majority of companies around the world, the more complicated you make sales and marketing, the less they’ll actually get done.

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