Is customer experience replacing advertising at biggest brands?

Is customer experience replacing advertising at biggest brands?

Is product experience becoming more important than advertising? Many business leaders are saying yes, as we’re now living in an experience or expectation-based economy where the quality of experiences delivered to customers determines company performance. 

My featured article guest, Jack Ashdown, shares throught-provoking views about the role of advertising and shifts in approach to acquire new customers and drive loyalty. I encourage you to read and share your perspective.

Is CX Replacing Advertising?

When was the last time you saw an ad for Tesla? That’s right, you haven’t, because Elon Musk believes the brand’s cash should be continually invested in innovation, not creative marketing.

Apart from Musk’s idiosyncratic and highly personal approach to marketing, Tesla has thrived in large part due to the UX experience of its cars. In some models, dials and levers have been reduced down to a steering wheel and iPad-style screen integrating displayed driving, navigation, and external internet access.

Digital disruptors like Uber, Airbnb, and Deliveroo have also chosen this route, making the decision to invest relatively little in advertising – particularly in the early growth stages of the business. Instead, ground-breaking concepts and elegant service design enabled them to transform entire markets.

This approach concentrates on the power of word-of-mouth backed by repeated positive customer interactions at all touchpoints. Brands such as Trainline harnessed this model, relying on organic growth through an excellent CX strategy.

It can be seen everywhere, even in the previously niche world of the stock market investment. Robinhood provides a cheap, easy-to-use trading alternative and reached 18 million accounts in March 2021, a year-on-year increase of 151%. It achieved such stellar growth by creating an app that took many design cues from social platforms and essentially gamified stock trading – enabling activist private traders to take direct action to support companies such as GameStop and AMC in the process.

By 2023 businesses worldwide are predicted to be investing almost two trillion dollars in digital transformation projects. In comparison, they’ll be spending a relatively humble $600 billion on advertising.

A big slice of the money spent on digital transformation will be focussed on digital services and consumer engagement or interaction. The global customer experience management (CXM) market’s CAGR is estimated to be around 12%, which should result in the market being worth around 14.5 billion by 2025.

This begs the question; if the brands that succeed in shaping or outperforming markets are those that step ahead of the pack with unique experiences and products rather than those investing heavily in advertising, will the center of the creative universe shift from advertising towards CX-orientated creativity leveraging data, UX and service innovation over the coming decade?

The CX medium is the advertising message

This huge predicted investment in digital transformation speaks to the emergence of fundamental changes in the way that organizations and businesses, new and old, are thinking about how to either generate sales or achieve long-term brand loyalty.

The digital economy is creating an ever more powerful cycle of digitization with, on one hand, ever better and faster digital products, services, and devices, and on the other the huge pressure on organizations to use technology to transform their operations.


Stacy’s advice for advertising & branding leaders: 

*Infuse the customer voice in EVERY business decision. No exceptions.
*Focus on creating better experiences. You don’t have to be  Tesla to gain a competitive edge.
*Hire and collaborate with customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX)  experts. It must be intentional.  

Read more about CX trends and expert views on debatable topics. 

*Should the Chief Experience Officer Oversee Marketing?

*What’s The Fate Of A Customer Experience Officer (CXO)

*Is Customer Experience The New Marketing? Is Marketing the New CX?

Should The Chief Customer Officer Oversee Marketing?

Should The Chief Customer Officer Oversee Marketing?

There’s a trend happening related to Marketing and Customer Experience leadership. McDonald’s hired its first (CXO) Chief Experience officer, Manu Steijaert, to advocate for customers in every business decision across the customer journey. Similarly, Walmart hired Janey Whiteside. And, Volkswagon did the same, and more are following the path.


Is Chief Experience Officer (CXO) a short-term strategy?

It seems like the answer is no, as more brands are restructuring their marketing efforts and investing in customer experience for the long term to gain a competitive edge beyond price. CX leaders and I share our perspectives with Neil Davey at MyCustomer, which you can read below. I know one thing for sure: Customer Experience, Marketing, and all departments need to partner and collaborate a lot. SILOS DO NO ONE ANY GOOD! I’m interested to hear your perspective.

Originally posted >here.


Some of the world’s biggest brands are restructuring so that the marketing department reports to the company’s customer experience leader. After years of the chief marketing officer having ownership of CX, why is this shift happening now – and will it stick?

When McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski decided that he wanted the fast-food giant to become more customer-centric and reflect the way that modern consumers engage with his restaurants, he realized a big change was required.

Therefore, last month McDonald’s announced the creation of a new customer experience team, headed by the company’s first chief customer officer. But the devil was in the detail. Because in order to remove the internal barriers and silos that Kempczinski believes were leading to fragmented customer experiences, he also restructured the organization so that new CCO Manu Steijaert would have multiple teams reporting into him, including data analytics & digital customer engagement, global restaurant development & restaurant – and global marketing.

This structure, with marketing reporting into CX, is something of an emerging trend. A similar reshuffle at Walmart has chief customer officer Janey Whiteside overseeing the retail behemoth’s marketing department.

The news has been warmly welcomed in some quarters. Commenting on the news of McDonald’s restructure on LinkedIn, author, and keynote speaker Jason S Bradshaw said: “This is absolutely the way it should be. As the first Chief Customer Officer of Volkswagen Group Australia, the work got even better when I became the first Chief Customer & Marketing Officer … marketing is selling a brand promise – that has to be aligned to the Customer Experience delivered.”

And on the same thread, Mike Soldan, chief experience officer at Shmoop added: “We just moved Marketing into my org and the accuracy and effectiveness of our value prop has gone through the roof. No one knows what your customers want/need to hear more than the people that built and support the products and customers.”

Should the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) oversee customer experience?

Some were surprised by the move, however. Sandra De Zoysa, group chief customer officer at Dialog Axiata, notes: “This trend is rather intriguing to me personally. Traditionally, customer service and CX sell under the purview of the CMO and in more recent times, under the chief digital officer, where there is no CCO. However, to think that in the future these roles will be reversed and the CMO’s portfolio can actually fall within the CCO is a huge shift of power in the right direction. Wow!”

Indeed, historically customer experience has often reported to the CMO, rather than the other way around. And research from the CMO Council from earlier this year found that many senior business executives in large organizations believe it to be the role of their marketing department to have ownership of the customer experience. But many in CX circles believe that this is a flawed structure.

Chief customer service experience officer Alex Mead says: “This is by far the most common approach being taken by organizations, and from my perspective, it is completely wrong. Marketing leaders lack the understanding of the importance of slick, effortless, engaging customer interaction and service experiences, nor do they have the knowledge on how to deliver what modern-day customers want. That is why we often see companies with amazing brand & marketing experiences, losing their customers because of awful customer service experience journeys.

“If the CMO truly walks in their customers’ shoes, experiences painful multichannel customer contact designs observes the effect of missing/late deliveries, spots the huge frustration from customers that can’t easily ask a question across the channel they want, and in the way they want, AND THEN if they truly take the time to understand the customers’ pain points, and empower the right people to address them, then that can be used to positively influence the entire company’s brand and marketing strategy. But the reality is this is a very rare situation indeed.”

Should the Chief Customer Officer oversee Marketing?

Unsurprisingly, then, the CX community has welcomed the idea that the new structure could proliferate.

Speaker, author, and writer about Doing Customer Experience (CX) Right, Stacy Sherman, has spent her entire career in sales, marketing, and CX roles, and believes the growth in CXO roles and the resulting restructures will be a very positive thing for companies.

“I believe there is a trend happening and companies like McDonald’s and Walmart are paving the way. If you search on common job sites, you’ll see companies are hiring CX managers and related executive positions at a faster rate than ever before. That’s because a CXO has unique skills and training to guide a company’s direction and investments (tools, resources) that are in the best interest of customers. Likewise, a customer experience officer knows how to influence people to feel that they have a customer experience job, even when they don’t interact directly with customers. Without such a culture, loyalty goals can’t be achieved.

“I don’t see any negatives with CXO/CCO overseeing marketing, other than it will take time to gain believers and supporters.”

What do you think?

Let’s keep the conversations going. Join me on social media.

If you like this article, you may also enjoy:

What’s the Fate of the Chief Experience Officer (CXO) in reaction to Wallstreet Journal article. (ARTICLE)

How & Why the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) & CXO must partner closely together. (ARTICLE)

Is Customer Experience (CX) the NEW Marketing? (PODCAST):


CMO And CXO Must Partner To Transform The Customer Experience

CMO And CXO Must Partner To Transform The Customer Experience

There’s been much debate about the role of Chief Experience Officers (CXO). A recent Wallstreet Journal article raises questions about whether or not the CXO position will become obsolete. Other publications inform that there is a fast-growing trend of companies hiring CXOs and/or promoting within for the long term, which I’m a fan of.  I can’t predict the future, yet I know for sure that department silos do no one any good. Customer experience and marketing teams must blend and work together regardless of where they sit in an organization.  

Featured Guest Post is by , VP, Principal Analyst~ Forrester

He dives deeper into CXO and CMO topics and the importance of working closely together to achieve both customer and employee brand loyalty.  Thomans original article here.

Read, Apply Best Practices and Pay it forward.


McDonald’s Corp. just named company veteran Manu Steijaert as its first global chief customer officer, who will lead a new customer experience (CX) team. The team will combine operations in data analytics, digital customer engagement, marketing, restaurant development, and restaurant solutions.

After CVS and Walgreens, here, too, the CMO reports to a chief customer officer, marginalizing their marketing role. Other CMOs are launching CX functions or embedding the CX discipline as part of their marketing organizations.

Over the past few months, my colleagues Joana de Quintanilha, Mike Proulx, and I spoke with over 50 marketing and CX leaders, and many of them referred to a lack of organizational alignment and political tensions over who leads what. Egos and org structures are often one of the key elements blocking marketing and CX collaboration. Others include the fact that CX demands a long-term commitment, that CX is often wrongly seen as a marketing “add-on,” and that marketing and CX methodologies and toolsets lack alignment.

Let’s be real: There’s no silver bullet in terms of an organizational model; even if there was, organizations don’t change overnight. Multiple structural solutions exist, depending on your company’s culture, legacy, and CX maturity. Stop obsessing about who owns CX in your organization and instead use key catalysts like journey centricity, brand values, innovation, and employee experience (EX) to bring marketing and CX operations together. CMOs can accelerate the convergence between marketing and CX by:

  • Recognizing CX’s importance across the customer journey.

     CX isn’t just about client retention: It plays a key role in improving the prospect experience. CX leaders should work closely with their marketing peers to focus on growth opportunities: piloting new offerings, optimizing the prospect journey, and involving teams in design thinking and co-creation.

  • Using journeys to connect product, marketing, and customer service.

     In Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey, only 24% of global B2C marketers said they organize around the customer. Journey centricity is a core way to align the entire organization to be more customer-obsessed. Journeys are the starting point, the backdrop, and the connective tissue that bring marketing, product, and customer service together.

  • Ensuring a consistent brand experience in all customer experiences. 

    You must define and execute on your brand strategy to narrow the gap between brand, customer, and employee experiences. Brand reveals the essence of the company to all stakeholders, while CX brings the brand to life.

  • Accelerating go-to-market innovation via a new operating model.

     Instead of trying to transform legacy infrastructure and tools in siloed organizations, some companies create new subsidiaries to accelerate innovation, launch new offerings and products, or enter adjacent markets. Innovation is the perfect opportunity to establish from scratch a new collaboration model between marketing and CX teams.

  • Driving cultural transformation through EX. 

    EX exists at the crossroads of HR, IT, and marketing. Many leaders, especially in Europe, are investing more in EX as a competitive advantage. This is yet another opportunity for CMOs and CX leaders to collaborate to help other C-suite leaders develop the culture of the organization in line with its brand promise. CMOs are already playing a stronger role in getting employees to engage with CX by creating new employee journeys.

Customer experience is the top priority for 49% of global B2C marketers; 28% have already merged brand, marketing, and CX into a single team. Too many brands, however, still have marketing and CX silos that prevent them from creating aligned, resonant brand and customer experiences. As a result, they will fail to seize the opportunity to deliver on their brand promise through their customers’ journeys.

The pandemic has accelerated this phenomenon, with higher acquisition costs forcing companies to focus on customer retention. Successful organizations connect marketing and CX throughout the customer lifecycle.


What are your views about CXO and CMO roles?

Do both positions exist where you work? Do you think CX is the new marketing? Is Marketing the new Customer Experience? As you form opinions, check out my fun debate with Colin Shaw on his recent podcast.

The Great Debate: Is Customer Experience The New Marketing?

The Great Debate: Is Customer Experience The New Marketing?

There is no denying the fact that Customer Experience (CX) is a brand differentiator. Similarly, we know that Marketing has significant importance in companies of all sizes and industries too. What is less clear and the source of great debate: is Customer Experience the new Marketing? Is Marketing the new CX? Are they the same or completely different?

I first asked this question in Clubhouse, a social networking app where people can chat about shared interests. The answers varied as they did on my LinkedIn poll below.

Is Customer Experience the new marketing

My curiosity continues to grow. While I’m not a debater, I accepted the challenge and went head to head with my friend and smart customer experience expert, Colin Shaw. He invited me to be a guest on his popular “the Intuitive Customer” podcast to discuss our different views.

Press play to listen to our debate: Is Customer Experience The New Marketing?


What’s the Relationship Between Customer Experience & Marketing Team:  

Colin does not think Customer Experience replaces traditional marketing. I believe is it blending in, and over time, may taking over.  Let’s take a closer look at what we mean.

Colin’s Position: We have a lot of evidence showing that if you improve your Customer Experience, you will gain more customers. But does that mean you should take the marketing budget and spend it on improving the Customer Experience? No. While he agrees that improving your Customer Experience is essential to gaining more revenue, there is still value in traditional marketing channels. Customer Experience, therefore, shouldn’t replace traditional marketing but work alongside it.

My Position: I agree that the marketing and Customer Experience champions have to work together. However,  what marketing does sets the stage for what Customer Experience will do. I believe marketing has been about creating a brand with consistency in feelings, colors, the logo, and messaging. Customer Experience takes that brand awareness to another level, beyond awareness as a concept but manifesting that through the actual Customer Journey, from end-to-end. The actions started by marketing are finished by Customer Experience, which is why it is the “new” marketing.

Before we go any further, let’s discuss…

The Definition of Customer Experience & Marketing  

Colin provides a good explanation: “Customer Experience is an entire interaction that a person has with the organization, including the rational, emotional, subconscious, and psychological aspects. It could begin with passing a billboard (designed by marketing) or seeing an article about the company (placed by marketing). The point is, it starts long before a customer goes to a store or calls into the call center.”

The American Marketing Association says that “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value to customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Colin’s Position: “Marketing delineates the marketplace and, therefore, should work out the features and benefits of the organization’s offer along with the brand promise that shapes the desired experience. If you imagine that you started a company, the initial activities of marketing would provide the framework to determine the experience that the organization gave to the customer.”

My Position: I don’t see marketing breaking silos across the organization or designing that end-to-end experience. The reality is that while marketing is instrumental to the Customer Experience team, it is the Customer Experience team that brings in the other (siloed) departments like marketing, finance, and other operational departments to own the experience. Thus, Customer Experience brings the organization together. I believe that CX is bridging the gap between theory and what is happening in experiences.

Let’s Dive Into Theory

Colin’s Position: Customer Experience is a subdiscipline under marketing. The marketing team sets the theory by defining the target customer, segmenting the market, and positioning the offering. You can’t express the Customer Experience before you set the target customer and the offering in my mind. Therefore, in theory, Customer Experience can’t replace marketing because it’s a subset of it. However, once you get out of theory, it’s Customer Experience that does anything with these definitions. So, in practice, Customer Experience is not a subset of marketing but a separate entity with the same goals and mindset as marketing for customers and the offering. From that perspective, it is as if marketing is the theory and Customer Experience is the practice. In other words, marketing defines what they want for customers at a conceptual level, but Customer Experience teams actually do it.

My Position: I believe there is a difference, and while the two departments blend, Customer Experience takes the feelings marketing seeks to evoke and elevates it to the next level. Customer Experience evokes emotions, measures the feelings, and whether customer expectations are met. It is the continuous measurement and fixing and closing the loop that makes a huge difference. Marketing alone doesn’t do all that.

For example, organizations want to create a positive first impression during customer onboarding. So, while marketing will develop the collateral, the onboarding message and process content develop in partnership with the Customer Experience team. I believe the Customer Experience team is at the forefront of understanding what customers want and what they need to have a great experience and elicit positive feelings. Customer Experience brings that outside view into designing the onboarding experience and then putting it to market and measuring that. The marketing team then creates the messaging to solicit those feelings and enforce that desired brand image. This relationship between the experience and the messaging is why  Customer Experience and marketing teams should blend.

Colin proceeds to say he thinks I might be right…(I’m still smiling).


So, What Do We DO with This Information?

There are differences of opinion here, but ultimately, the ideas are not as far apart as we initially thought. The main difference is the idea of what could be and what actually is. So, if we were to say that Customer Experience is the new marketing, here are some practicalities that you can use in your organization,

1. Have both entities represented at your organization.

Some organizations only have a marketing team. Others have both. Both Colin and I would like to see the awareness and understanding that both skill sets drive value for customers and, ultimately, the bottom line. Maybe that’s a person with a diverse skill set, or maybe two teams, but both should be present in a company, and their work can merge. Traditional marketing isn’t enough. There has to be a collaboration between Marketing and Customer Experience to win as a company.

2. Don’t have an either-or mentality. 

Colin and I agree to avoid extremes. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Customer Experience does not need to replace marketing, and not the other way round either. Improving experience helps you gain more, but Customer Experience efforts should be in conjunction WITH the marketing team instead of the marketing team. Think of Customer Experience as Marketing 2.0. Another way to think of it is that marketing can’t be done now without Customer Experience.

3. Have your executive team reflect on the collaboration. 

In addition to blending the activities of the two departments, I strongly encourage organizations to have equal representation for both ideas at the c-suite level. In other words, if you have a CMO, then you need a CXO in the office next door.  

These discussions are fun. And to quote Colin,

None of us is as clever as all of us. Therefore, no one has all the answers. Yet, these discussions are great because they bring up the level of everyone’s game, whether you win the debate or (ahem) lose it.

Colin Shaw

 There you have it. No promotions, no gimmicks, just good information. 

Interested in another debatable topic?

ReadWhat’s the Fate of a Customer Experience Officer (CXO)?  My response to the Wallstreet journal article presents different views. I’m interested in hearing yours. Let’s keep the CX conversations going.

What Is A Buyer Persona & Why Does It Matter?

What Is A Buyer Persona & Why Does It Matter?

Persona development is an important part of any customer experience (CX) practice. I’ve written an article to provide you helpful tips about persona development. I’m happy to also share a guest post about buyer persona, and what I call Doing CX Right, by Dallin Porter which first appeared on Enjoy Dallin’s article and encourage you to share your views.

The ultimate goal of any business is to gain customers. These customers are what build brands, share your product, and of course, make money. But how do you gain or appeal to customers if you don’t know what they like, where they are, or how they live?

Instead of casting a wide net and hoping for a bite, creating buyer personas for your products are one of the most effective ways to increase your customer pool while decreasing the risks of making uninformed decisions and creating the wrong type of products. The results speak for themselves; customers are 48% more likely to consider businesses that personalize their marketing to address their own specific issues.

The importance of a buyer persona can not be understated. Although sometimes overlooked, it can guide several parts of your marketing strategy like which metrics you measure, what social media channels you use, and even what products you bring to market in the future.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a fictional character, but it represents very real people – your customers. It’s a detailed outline of who exactly is the person researching, buying, and sharing your product. When we refer to a buyer persona, it can of course represent an individual person, but oftentimes, especially in the B2B space, it’s representative of client business or brand.

Source: HubSpot

Figuring out who your customers are and nailing down specific and detailed characteristics of them will and should guide almost every aspect of your marketing. It’s important to note that creating these personas should be completed in the early stages (and if not then, right now) to ensure your marketing decisions align with the people who actually want your products. A recent survey conducted by Act-On, showed some staggering results of having an identified buyer persona:

  • a 900% increase in length of visit on webpage
  • a 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue
  • a 111% increase in email open rate
  • and a 100% increase in the number of pages visited.

Although you have many different types of people who are in your customer base, a brand should only have a handful of buyer personas. This will help centralize the focus of your business and streamline the implementation of your strategies.

A great place to look for inspiration for your buyer persona is (surprise) your audience. Do you have a similar type of person who lives and dies by your product? Are there overlapping characteristics in the types of businesses and clients that reach out to you? Take these attributes and flesh them out into your personas and use them as your foundation.

Before we get into into the specifics of your buyer profile, start by thinking of your audience within the frame of your brand, and what they might be:

  • Thinking
  • Feeling
  • Wanting
  • Concerned about
  • Frustrated about
  • Expecting
  • Planning
  • Hoping

Although these “emotional metrics” are not wholly quantifiable, they are meant to emphasize the fact that you’re creating your products and services for actual humans – imagine that. Looking at your business through the lens of these human characteristics breaks down the barriers between you and your customers, and is the first step in creating your own buyer persona. This persona should be at the heart of your entire marketing, since in its most basic form it allows you to provide support to the people who need it at the exact right time.

How is a buyer persona used?

In marketing, the use of a buyer persona is multifaceted and can be regularly evaluated to ensure its accuracy and effectiveness. And for good reason, 93% of companies who either surpassed or achieved their yearly revenue milestones, segmented their audience database by buyer persona. Creating and implementing this valuable tactic will improve:

Branding: Having a solidified, fully fleshed out persona will guide internal processes and even enhance collaboration between teams. Each individual on the marketing and sales team (and arguably the whole company) should know these personas off by heart; copywriters, videographers, digital marketers, directors, social media managers, and the CMO. The awareness of the personas will make them more effective in understanding their own role, and it will streamline the work produced as a whole, while creating outcomes that are cohesive and intended for the same person.

Strategy: Creating a persona is a strategic endeavour. It’s done so that when decisions need to be made, there’s no confusion who you’re making it on behalf of. That can be decisions like, which social media channels should we focus on? For example, if you know that Silicon Steve, one of your personas, is most active on Twitter and Reddit, you know where you’re going to be posting content. It can (and should) even guide where you target your paid ads and where you go to receive feedback.

Content: Every content marketing strategy should be based on your buyers persona. This requires you to nail down what types of content they like to consume, for how long, where they are finding it, what they are sharing, and how often. This data will feed into content like what campaigns you create or what blogs you publish._

Metrics: The data you use to create your buyer persona is crucial, and should drive the future of your business. You need to be analyzing how long users spend reading your blog to know what types of blogs to produce. You can examine your audience email open rate to determine what headlines perform the best. In fact, for one brand, using buyer personas in an email campaign improved open rate by 2x and click through rate by 5x. Almost every customer-facing metric you look at can be used to identify your core buyer persona and speak to their pattern of behavior.

The buyer persona information is helpful for all forms of marketing, but is especially applicable to inbound marketing, as it allows you to be fully aware of who you are trying to attract, and how to recognize a meaningful lead when they appear. Ultimately, it shows that you’re addressing your customers pain points, and gaining their trust by providing relevant and contextual solutions.

How to create a buyer persona?

Most of creating your detailed buyer persona will come from gathering information from different sources. This information will help you define a realistic portrait of your audience, and will be supported by actual data collected from your business.

Sometimes the obvious approach just works. One of the easiest ways to get an indicative snapshot into your buyer is take a look at your existing audience. Whether it’s followers on social media or recurring customers on your website, examine these analytics to solidify defining characteristics such as age, location, professional status, income level, and even purchasing behavior. You can also reach out directly to your customers in a survey or interview, to get feedback from them first hand about who they are and what their problems, hopes, and wants are regarding your services.

To make sure your buyer persona is data-based and founded in real information, you also can use the insights combed from Google Analytics. Reviewing the information there will help you develop these personas, since it’s based on real people. You can gather stats regarding if your customers prefer mobile vs. desktop, what locations they are finding you from, and even what other interests they have, through affinity categories. All of this extremely valuable information will help you define your persona, but then should drive other decisions in regards to product development and implementation.

What patterns or behaviors do you see across the board? What is a common piece of feedback you get online? You will show your customers not only that you are listening, but that you’re developing solutions for them too. In just a moment we will get to what other important stats you’ll need to create a robust buyer profile.

What do consider when creating a buyer persona?

When you move to physically creating the buyer persona, it’s helpful to create a template by examining a list of characteristics and filling in the gaps using your sourced data.

Let’s take a look at an example. If you were a company in the online education industry, in addition to identifying basic character traits such as age, gender, profession, you’ll need to extend your scope to a wider lens. Remember, the more information you can confidently identify about your buyer, the more insight you will have to provide solutions for them. Some of these key questions are:

  • What are their professional aspirations?
  • What problems do they encounter that we can solve?
  • What common objections might they have to our products?
  • What keeps them from becoming a repeat customer?
  • What takes up the most of their time?
  • How do they spend their free time?
  • What resources do they trust?
  • Where do they spend their time online?
  • How do they consume their content?
  • What would they want to know in regards to our brand?
  • Where would they “splurge” with their money?
  • Why haven’t they found us sooner?
  • What does a day in life look like for them?

As you can tell, the best buyer personas put themselves directly in the shoes, offices, and homes of their customers. Analyzing these questions and deciding on realistic, viable answers will also be a form of problem solving for your services. They will help you relate to your customer and ultimately allow you to position your business as one who understands the needs of its audience.

Let’s take a look at some excellent buyers persona examples:

Source: Brafton

  1. This persona has been given a real person’s name, a stock photo, and all of the typical background information you’d have in your customer or client management system. They went into great detail like archetype, motivations, and proficiency with different types of technology. They even highlighted some of the other brands where she is a loyal customer. All of this information will help guide what type of content they produce, how they update and market their products, and what type of language they will use when reaching out.

Source: Alexa Blog

Another version dives into multiple aspects of this fictional, yet based in reality, persona. Important areas that they have considered are her finances; which shows being conscious of their own price points, and things that make her life easier. This could guide future products and promotions for the brand. As you can see, the persona is a lot of detailed information that, when combined, gives an insightful and accurate depiction of the type of people that use their product, and that who they want to attract.

Source: Content Harmony

  1. Finally we have a buyer persona that is more professionally oriented. This could be for a product or software that specializes in B2B or the corporate world. You’ll notice at the top, that there’s different sections including perceived barriers, success factors, and, the buyer’s journey (which you’ll find out about next.) They even identified what her roles at work are, and who she would report to – this helps us know that she is a decision maker. A specific buyer persona like this can see if the product or brand is aligned with the customers responsibilities and how they are individually evaluated.

The buyer persona and the buyer’s journey

Although we are highlighting what a buyer persona is and why they have the power to be so effective, it needs to be noted that the buyer persona should also speak to where your audience is in the buyer’s journey. Similar to the marketing funnel the buyer’s journey represents which stage of the process your customer is in, and how close they are to making a purchase, download, or investment. There are three key stages: awareness, consideration, and decision, and identifying different buyer personas that fall under each stage of this process, will help you guide them along to the next, eventually leading them to the decision-making stage.

It would be beneficial to create a version of each of your core buyers journeys as they go through this process. What would make them move from awareness to consideration? What hesitations might they have that would keep them in the consideration stage? What barriers need to be overcome to make a decision?

Source: Neil Patel

The result of considering your buyer personas with the buyer’s journey is highly targeted content. You’ll be producing content and solutions that are addressing the combination of who your buyer is, with where they currently are, which ultimately leads to conversions.

Putting it together

The role of a buyer persona is much more than to simply serve as inspiration. Its purpose is foundational to guiding many aspects of your business, and should be reviewed often. By creating detailed, specific, and realistic personas, you’ll not only save yourself time (and a few misses,) but the vision for who you customer is will come into focus and the road to conversion will be clear. From strategy to content to development, considering who your audience truly is, and what they need to become or remain a customer of yours, will be the guiding light that leads to success.


Continue learning best practices to differentiate your brand. Read my article about Journey Mapping and also download a free template to help get you started.