Mark Goren: Turn the page to more effective persona profiles

Back in early September, Drew wrote a post titled, "Write for real people." In it, he took the time to describe one of his tricks for writing – a way for him to picture the people he's writing for. At the time, he called this "the poor man's persona."

But let's say you wanted to go a little deeper, get a little more detailed about the Brand Persona you'd like to write and the people you want to connect to. Recently, I've drawn inspiration from three different books, each giving me something unique to hang on to.

The_new_rules_of_marketing_pr 1. The New Rules of Marketing + P.R. – by David Meerman Scott
If the New Rules Scott delivers aren't enough, he puts them into context relative to the people you're addressing. In the book, he writes in detail about how to develop a persona profile and how to apply each using his New Rules.

Key takeaway: the words you choose to describe your target will influence the words you choose to reach it. Have several targets? Develop several persona profiles and match them to the tools/methods that serve the target best. Doing so will help you connect your message on a more personal level.

Made_to_stick 2. Made to Stick – by Chip Heath + Dan Heath
The Heath brothers analyze what helps make a person remember a story and give concrete real-life examples to back up their claims.  In Chapter 3, they talk about the importance of finding a universal language when speaking to your audience.

Key takeaway: Because you're the expert – after all, it's your product or service – you must find a way to address what your prospect doesn't know in a way that will help them understand and remember your message. When developing your persona profiles, consider where your audience is coming from, this will help you find common ground in your messaging.

Robin_hood_marketing 3. Robin Hood Marketing – by Katya Andresen
In this book, Andresen looks at everything from a consumer perspective to determine what makes a person want to act. Because the book is all about "stealing corporate savvy to sell just causes", it gives readers a different perspective into a consumer's mindset to help you determine how to get people to volunteer time or money to charity. As Scott Case states on the back cover: "Andresen's message is clear: It's not about YOU. It's about your supporter. Tap your supporter's wants, hopes, dreams, and desires and you'll move mountains."

Key takeaway: When developing your persona profiles, think about how you can address your customers' personal goals, the ones that speak to the kind of person they are.

Remember, your persona profiles don't have to follow a specific template. They can always change. Look for cues in what you're reading to evolve the format you follow. The result will be richer, deeper messaging that connects.

Tell me, what tricks and tips do you use to develop your persona profiles?

Drew's Note:  About a year ago, Mark Goren left agency life and hung out a shingle to help clients discover and find their voice in new media.  Mark's love for books is what first brought us on each other's radar screens and thank goodness (on my end) for that!  I hope you are sensing a theme…but like Greg, Gavin and Cam, Mark is definitely one of the good guys.

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