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    The Problem with Personas

    September 16, 2021

    Let’s get right to it: Personas aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. 


    If you’re a marketer, that may be hard to hear. After all, personas are one of the standard tools in a marketer’s toolbox. And like most tools, they serve a purpose. But they have their shortcomings, particularly when you’re marketing to the C-suite.


    What is a persona?

    For the uninitiated, personas are profiles of your ideal customers based on research into your actual customers. Companies will analyze the key features of their customer base and use those insights to draw conclusions about the demographic as a whole. 

    Say, for instance, your company has found a sweet spot targeting sales managers. You analyze the key characteristics of the sales managers who have bought from you in the past, and from those insights, you create a persona. You even give the persona a name — Martin the Sales Manager, for instance — and you design entire campaigns around what you assume Martin wants and needs.

    So, what's the problem?

    Personas are essentially educated guesses. You’re drawing broad conclusions — albeit those based on research — and yes, some of them may be spot on. But you’re investing a lot of time and money on hypotheticals. 

    Here’s an example of what we’re talking about: Let’s say we’re back to targeting Martin the Sales Manager. Your persona indicates that Martin is interested in golf, so you put together a golf tournament and invite all your prospects. Then, when only a handful sign up, you start to wonder: Where did our event strategy go wrong? 

    If you’d done your homework on the exact executives you’re targeting, you may have found out that, while some of your prospects are into golf, most of them actually prefer baseball. The majority weren’t interested, and you missed multiple, valuable opportunities.

    What's the alternative? 

    In short, real, reliable research. 

    Particularly when you’re targeting the C-suite, you need to understand exactly what your prospects are interested in, what business priorities are top of mind and what initiatives they’re pushing forward on right now. The only way to get there is to do your homework.

    How can I do my homework at scale?

    That’s where we come in. We built our BI PRO platform to offer a powerful alternative to your average persona. It would indeed take your team hours of precious time to dig deep into all your prospects. We wanted to use technology to streamline the process and offer you in-depth, accurate and up-to-date insight into the executives you want to reach, at scale. 

    The result is the opposite of a persona. Instead of educated guesses, you’re leveraging real intelligence so you can make the most educated decisions in your ABM, executive event and outreach strategy. 

    See BI in action for yourself. Schedule a quick, custom demo today.

    Schedule a quick, custom demo!

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    Sharon Gillenwater

    About the Author

    Sharon Gillenwater

    Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.