Why Persona-Based Marketing Falls Short


Understanding your buyer is a critical element of good marketing, which is why many of us devote significant time to developing buyer personas. While it’s helpful to understand the people who will be implementing your technology, their needs and how they could benefit from your solution, targeting a single individual with your marketing programs isn’t enough.

To begin with, it’s very difficult for you to know whether you’re reaching the “right” person at a particular company. You can use the best 3rd party data or targeted lead gen tactics to reach the personas you’ve identified, but it turns out that those labels don’t do you much good. Personas and titles are actually different across all organizations. The IT manager at one company might be in charge of the whole department; at another company it might be a recent college graduate with an inflated title. And let’s face it, individuals change jobs and titles. Departments get re-organized and renamed. It’s hard to keep up.

You can target a particular title or individual, but unless the whole buying committee is on board, the deal won’t close.

Furthermore, if you’re relying on forms for data, you run the risk that your visitors lying or withholding information. Shocking as it is, most website visitors don’t actually want you to know everything about them so you can market the heck out of them. You’ve probably done it yourself. (Some Demandbase employees like to put “Donald Duck” as their job title on competitors’ forms.)

But even if you’ve gotten the title and role right, data from the Sales Leadership Council shows that even someone with significant authority within an organization can’t single-handedly drive a purchase decision. You can target a particular title or individual, but unless the whole buying committee is on board, the deal won’t close. In fact, there are 5-7 people at every organization who can say “no” to a deal. Unless you build consensus among them, the purchase will likely be stalled.

While you don’t know as much about your buyer personas as you thought, what you do know is which companies are in your sweet spot or on your dream account list. Rather than chasing down personas, you can drive prospects through the pipeline by attracting and engaging entire accounts, ensuring your marketing efforts will reach all the right people at an organization. Furthermore, when sales shows up to a meeting, all the stakeholders are educated and onboard. There’s a clear path from early marketing efforts to revenue.

Ready to get started? See how you can reach beyond the limits of buyer personas with Target Account Marketing.