Don’t just listen, grok buyer personas

I love my work. Each seminar is a chance to interact with new people who have useful ideas and resources. Sometimes I wonder if I should pay the attendees rather than the other way around. Don’t tell my bookkeeper I said that, though, she’d have a fit.

While I frequently learn about something I want to read or research, Dale Hansman of Language Line Services got to the top of my pile this week when he referred me to www.GrokDotCom.com, a website named after one of my favorite words. Grok (rhymes with "rock’) is a verb that captures the essence of what we strive to achieve through buyer persona profiling. A marketer who groks a buyer persona is capable of experiencing "the literal capabilities and frame of reference of the subject." Thus grokking a buyer isn’t just about listening and acting directly on what is heard, this word challenges us to understand so deeply that we can anticipate and intuit needs that people cannot even articulate.

Seminar attendees sometimes argue against the idea of market-driven companies, telling me that customers don’t know their needs or can’t express them. But that is the critical difference between listening to buyers and "grokking" buyers. The former could be accomplished by a recording device and interpreted by anyone who understands the language. Grokking requires much more skill, resulting in a level of intuition and empathy that is without comparison. A marketer who has grokked a buyer persona can act as that persona’s proxy, developing solutions, messages and programs with scary accuracy.

if you happen to be rewriting your website and want some ideas about how to focus on buyer personas, go to the www.grokdotcom.com and download the whitepaper on the company’s Persuasion Architecture. I’ve read only the executive summary so far but was thrilled that they recommend web content targeting different personas. Thanks, Dale.

February 11, 2007
Categories : Product Marketing Redefined
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  1. Dale Hansman says:

    Hi Adele,
    Thanks for the mention in your latest posting. Since it was my company that paid the fee for my attending your excellent seminar, I think it’s only fair to get the name right. Language Line Services. Also, in the seminar I mentioned the “We We Calculator”, so we can all see how much we talk about ourselves, rather than the customer, on your own websites. Here it is http://www.futurenowinc.com/wewe.htm.

  2. Great post Adele. Every time I read something on your blog, I learn just a little more about buyer personas.
    Grok on, David

  3. My apologies to Dale (plus Jeffrey, James, Greg H., Greg M and everyone else at Language Line Services)for renaming your company yesterday. I hope that the new mom, dad, and baby are happy and healthy.

  4. Adele,
    Glad you’re enjoying the new-and-improved GrokDotCom! You’ll find several articles on persuasive online copywriting and writing for personas in the archives.
    And thanks, Dale, for mentioning the WeWe Monitor. It’s been a big hit, and has even helped US to adhere to OUR own medicine. (Well, mostly.)
    WE (sorry) blogged it here: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/02/12/why-our-readers-grok-reason-159/

  5. Dale Hansman says:

    Hi again, Adele –
    Looks like MarketingProfs.com is keen on “buyer personas” too. They are offering a 90-minute online seminar on March 7th entitled “Will Personas Work for Your Company?” A bit pricey at $99, but if you have nine marketing colleagues as I do, that’s just 11 bucks apiece 😉
    Here’s the link… Hope your day’s going well, Dale

  6. Junta42 blog says:

    Putting the “Marketing” in Content Marketing: Six Key Principles to Content Promotion

    mar·ket·ing [mahr-ki-ting] 1. The act of buying or selling in a market (Dictionary.com)Content marketing, taken at face value, is simple terminology for a complex process. Content, as in creating information that meets your customers’ needs, and market…
    [Read More…]

  7. Great post..
    every time a read these blog more and very lot information !!
    Thanks !!!

  8. I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually rarely do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve gotten hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is something that not enough people are talking intelligently about. I am very glad that I stumbled across this in my search for something referring to this.

    • Adele Revella says:

      Thanks for the nice comment Giovanni. I’m really glad that you “stumbled across” my blog, and that you’ll let me know if you have any questions whatsoever.

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