Meet Chris, a Product Marketing Manager Persona

Here’s a buyer persona I’m developing for Chris. a product marketing manager in a technology company. I’m hoping you’ll let me know if I’ve grokked him.

Chris is 29 years old and recently married. He and Karen want children some day, but she’s also got a good job, and with the pressures of a big mortgage, they think they’ll wait a few years to start their family.  For now their baby is Logan, a two-year-old springer spaniel that they rescued from a shelter.

Chris has been in the tech industry for five years. He was a product manager until the most recent reorganization created a separate product marketing group. He willingly made the move to the new department, but that was more than a year ago and he is still trying to understand just how his job fits with those in product management, marketing communications, and sales. Chris is responsible for the go-to-market planning for several products, but he spends most of his time:

· Attending meetings

· Answering emails

· Writing content for sales collaterals

· Helping sales people with customer accounts

· Driving to and from work – the new house has resulted in a longer commute and the traffic is horrible

These pressures plus a tight travel budget have limited Chris’s customer interactions to times when he helps sales people with demos or prospect presentations – definitely not what he had in mind when he took this job. He knows he’s not spending enough time listening to the market or working on strategic activities, but he doesn’t have time to get focused amid the daily frenzy of requests and emails. He keeps thinking that there is a more effective way to do his real job, but can’t figure out how to get there from here.

Does Chris sound familiar?

May 29, 2007
Categories : B2B, Good Use of Personas, Market Research
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  1. Dave Morse says:

    You nailed it! However, poor Justin will remain in this scenario until upper management “sees the light” and realizes that his time would actually be better spent doing strategic activities. But since his boss, the VP of Sales & Marketing, is under pressure to close deals, the task of assisting sales (with tactical details) will always take precendence over anything “important but not urgent”. Just don’t take it out on your wife and dog, Justin! :)

  2. 8R3ND4N says:

    yes, this is real close to my personal experience (30, no kids, new house, engaged, pm background). an improvement might be to expand on what his expectations were as he transitioned from PM to PMM. i get “not spending enough time listening to the market or working on strategic activities,” but did he come from a traditional software development PM group? did he do stakeholder interviews? feature sets? business cases? bugs vs. enhancements?

  3. Mike Wagner says:

    Spot on except I’m 30, single and not named Justin. Other than that, the daily activities and frustration about knowing and wanting to spend more time on strategic/Market activities sound all to familiar.

  4. Adele Revella says:

    I had to change Justin’s name to Chris — turns out that Pragmatic has a story about Justin that was causing confusion about this persona.

  5. This is all too familiar to lots of people in product marketing and product management, I suspect. And it’s one reason I think the split between product management and marketing is important. I’ve yet to meet a product marketing person who wasn’t forced to prioritize helping sales do their jobs. Ultimately, that’s the marketing department’s mission.
    If you also have a product management group working within product development, however, those folks can concentrate on interviewing customers about their problems and such in non-sales situations. As part of the development department, it’s understood that their primary mission is to deliver the right products. Sure, product managers get called in on sales calls, too, but we have an excuse for saying no sometimes: “I’m working on the PRD for the next release.”

  6. Mike Smart says:

    Interesting approach. As you add more information about the person they become believable. They surpass the “card-board” cut of Ms. or Mr. Prospect.
    How do you develop a persona for a buyer that is not part of your universe. I am working on an idea for an Exec Persona. Any thoughts?

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