Why ‘Persona’ initiatives fail in B2B

Robin Griffiths

Search the Web for ‘Personas’ and you’ll be overwhelmed by information on what they are, their purpose and how they are the best thing since sliced bread! But many Persona initiatives fail to change thinking and behaviours on the ground in product management, marketing and sales.

On closer inspection, you’ll notice that the majority of the thinking on Personas comes from a B2C heritage where the focus is on building a demographic style picture of the buyer’s background, personality, attributes and preferences. There’s no doubt that isolating and focusing on groups of buyers by common characteristics adds huge value when first designing and later marketing products and services that are bought by individuals.

In B2B, Personas are just one dimension of the customer framework you need to understand, which typically also incudes industry segment, business activities, products and propositions.

The reasons for this include capturing the wrong information on personas, thinking about personas in isolation to the industry segments and customer workflows you serve, failing to deliver useable sales tools within a reasonable timeframe.

Robin Griffiths

Specialist in proposition development and creator of the Proposition Mapping™ methodology. Robin's career includes Founder and CEO of Force12 Software, and Director of Cambridge Consulting Engineers.