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Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight Into Your Customer's Expectations, Align Your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business

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Named one of Fortune Magazine's "5 Best Business Books" in 2015

See your offering through the buyer's eyes for more effective marketing
Buyer Personas is the marketer's actionable guide to learning what your buyer wants and how they make decisions. Written by the world's leading authority on buyer personas, this book provides comprehensive coverage of a compelling new way to conduct buyer studies, plus practical advice on adopting the buyer persona approach to measurably improve marketing outcomes. Readers will learn how to segment their customer base, investigate each customer type, and apply a radically more relevant process of message selection, content creation, and distribution through the channels that earn the buyers' trust. Rather than relying on generic data or guesswork to determine what the buyer wants, the buyer persona approach allows companies to ask the buyer directly and obtain more precise and actionable guidance.

Buyer personas are composite pictures of the people who buy solutions, services or products, crafted through a unique type of interview with the people the marketer wants to influence. This book provides step-by-step guidance toward implementing the buyer persona approach, with the advice of an internationally-respected expert.

Learn who buys what, and why Understand your buyer's goals and how you can address them Tailor your marketing activities to your buyer's expectations See the purchase through the customer's eyes A recent services industry survey reports that 52 percent of their marketers have buyer personas, and another 28 percent expect to add them within the next two years - but only 14.6 percent know how to use them. To avoid letting such a valuable tool go to waste, access the expert perspective in Buyer Personas, and craft a more relevant marketing strategy.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published March 9, 2015

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About the author

Adele Revella

2 books6 followers

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5 stars
105 (29%)
4 stars
137 (38%)
3 stars
92 (25%)
2 stars
22 (6%)
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2 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews
Profile Image for Visnja Zeljeznjak.
61 reviews14 followers
May 20, 2015
I'm adding this book to my "must have" evergreen marketing framework.

Basically, the book makes marketers the experts on buyers. In the book, everything revolves around the so-called "5 rings of buying insight:"

1) priority initiative (PI):
early stage of the decision making process
triggering events, which people are triggers

2) success factors (SF):
answer the WHY: "Why is this aspect important?"
changes and outcomes buyers expected to gain from this solution;
these statements sound like benefits (business outcomes, practical outcomes, personal aspiration);
scenarios that buyers believe will change after they purchase the solution

3) perceived barriers (PB):
how the buyer eliminated solutions;
what prevented them from addressing this problem much sooner (what causes status quo?)

4) decision criteria (DC):
answering the WHAT and HOW: "What aspect of the solution is critically decisive?"
how buyers eliminate options, why they kept certain solutions under consideration;
these are the capabilities that buyers evaluate regarding each of the solutions
these are the attributes of the solution that buyers believe they need

5) buyer's journey (BJ):
who was involved in the decision
what the buyer did to evaluate options

Any marketer who nails this, and successfully aligns their buyer persona with their marketing messaging and with their sales, can name his or her price. Naturally, I will make it my obligation to study this approach and base my future decisions on my hopefully improved understanding what makes my buyers move - really move.
Profile Image for Carlos Allende.
Author 2 books29 followers
September 12, 2015
Good information but way too wordy and repetitive, it becomes a burden to read. It needs to be heavily edited down.
Profile Image for Kunal.
39 reviews14 followers
October 13, 2015
The five rings which have been shown is a good way to break the questions. I liked reading this book. Though I wonder how was this better than reading a crisp short blog on the same topic ?

Profile Image for Nadira.
39 reviews
February 21, 2020
Many comments said that the author was redundant and the information presented was only for medium to high consideration B2B or B2C companies. This is correct. It is also correct that the examples the author uses are large companies with their own marketing and sales departments. I still found the information valuable. I think that buyer personas could be used for small business consultancies and anyone who struggles with finding clients/buyers of their products and services. The information wasn’t redundant so much as the author used similar principles to explain different things. So while on the surface it seemed very much like the author was talking in circles, a review of my notes at the end showed that there were many nuggets that all were within the realm of buyer personas but about different things like buyer insights vs psychographic profiles. I don’t think it needed to be as long as it was, but then again it was a short book and I only felt that way because none of the information is applicable in the way that the author likely expected. I also felt like the format in my e-reader was terrible, sentences were so close together I’d often lose my place, making it a bit of a slog to read. Overall I felt like the information was helpful and can be applied in a variety of ways
Profile Image for Tim.
74 reviews40 followers
August 23, 2015
This book is a wonderful introduction to the concept of buyer personas. The book is broken up into three parts. The first section is a behind the scenes look at what makes up a buyers persona. There are a lot of thoughts that goes into this process. The second part of the book describes how to conduct a constructive buyers persona. There are way more nuances to this process than I initially thought. The third part covers how to implement buyers personas into any organization. This book is just for marketers. This book can teach you how to get inside the minds of others and understand their actions. A great look into why people buy things.
Profile Image for Steve J.
25 reviews3 followers
February 26, 2015
Most marketers are using personas wrong. A persona isn't about demographics and a pretty photo; a well-designed persona reveals insights to how the buyer buys and how marketers can reach this type of buyer with relevant, timely information. Adele is a wonderful writer. Strongly recommended.
3 reviews
May 13, 2020
Sometime you just need people to tell you what to do and this book does that. Yes I think some bits are a bit repetitive, but it's a short book, so I didn't see thst as a problem. She has the steps snd the insight on how to do persons effectively and so this book is a must read
September 17, 2020
I was skeptical about building and using personas and didn't see much value in creating a synthetic character with useless attributes like age or hobbies for targeting and guiding marketing activities. Customer profiling had worked for me just fine. But I found a reference to this book in another book on messaging, which was awesome, so I decided to give it a try, and it changed my mind.

Buyer Personas are not about the attributes but about buying insights based on customer research, and Adele Revella shows techniques on how to gain, organize, and leverage those insights to manage marketing initiatives.

The "5 rings of buying insight" framework brings a sense of creating and using personas in a way that can help marketing teams to accomplish goals and regain a reputation within their company.

I would welcome more information about probing those insights, such as more useful question examples and maybe a little less about how to arrange an interview or writing about what will be in the next chapters and why.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
603 reviews16 followers
October 24, 2017
4 1/2 stars. Excellent resource on setting up a framework for buyer personas, along with how to conduct interviews to get the real information you need to set up those personas. Going beyond buyer profiles, Revella dives deep into how to structure a persona and gives lots of good examples. Additionally, she goes even further by giving information on how to structure your marketing strategies and aligning sales/marketing to use the personas and associated buyer's journey. I'm currently reworking some existing personas and creating new ones from scratch in my job, and this book has been invaluable. Some repetition and could use a bit tighter editing in spots, but overall, really good.
Profile Image for Marius Vetrici.
1 review1 follower
March 23, 2019
Exceptionally insightful and practical

I wish I read this book 10 years ago. It would have saved me a couple hundred of thousands of $ which I spent on products that have never been launched.
Profile Image for Ellen.
57 reviews6 followers
May 29, 2019
2.5/5. Some interesting insights, but a dull read.
Profile Image for Harry Harman.
564 reviews10 followers
February 3, 2023
Questions That Keep the Conversation Flowing

Nick Woodman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GoPro, who told me how his company makes decisions. “Our solutions could never evolve from a boardroom discussion,” he told me. “Wegostraight tothesource. Wedon’taskourgrandmother what she thinks about our motorsport mounts apparatus; we ask race car drivers.”

Yet in many organizations this one-to-one communication between marketing professionals and their customers is infrequent— if it happens at all.

“This is almost like cheating; like getting the exam paper weeks before the final.

Examplesofhigh-consideration decisions range from selecting the right vendor of capital equipment or picking which college to attend to carefully choosing a new car or the most appropriate location for office space. This decision-making process differs markedly from impulse purchases madeina grocery store or at the checkout register.

technology-obsessed Japan is a classic lesson in the importance of deeply understanding the expectations of buyers.

Armed with instant access to countless peer-reviewed options, customers are holding your sales and marketing teams to a new standard: Tell me what I want to know and help me find the right option at every stage of my buying decision, or I’ll go somewhere else.

Figure 1.1 Example Buyer Profile

people who were fundamentally resistant to technology and change.

The second edition of this text has been ‘‘on the drawing board’’ for quite some time.

one is often caught in that uncomfortable middle-ground not wanting to miss another important development

Newton produced laws,Kepler produced laws, Darcy, Boyle, Ohm, Kirchhoff, Bernoulli, and many others too numerous to list here all developed laws. Laws are mathematical expressions describing the immutable realizations of nature.


Take the ‘‘traveling salesrep’’ problem, for example. In this classic optimization problem a sales representative wants to minimize total distance traveled by considering various itineraries and schedules between a series of cities on a particular trip. For a small number of cities, the problem is a trivial exercise in enumerating all the possibilities and choosing the shortest route. As the number of cities continues to grow, the problem quickly approaches a combinatorial explosion impossible to solve through an exhaustive search, even with a computer. For example, for 100 cities there are 100 × 99×98×97×···×2×1, or about 10200, possible routes to consider! No computers exist today that can solve this problem through a brute-force enumeration of all the possible routes. There are real, practical problems analogous to the traveling salesrep problem. For example, such problems arise in the fabrication of circuit boards, where precise lasers drill hundreds of thousands of holes in the board. Deciding in which order to drill the holes (where the board moves under a stationary laser) so as to minimize drilling time is a traveling salesrep problem.

Thus, algorithms have been developed to solve the traveling salesrep problem in an optimal sense; that is, the exact answer is not guaranteed but an optimum answer is achievable

If we take the same problem and increase the precision requirement a modest amount to an accuracy of 0.75%, the computing time approaches a few months! Now suppose we can live with an accuracy of 3.5% (quite a bit more accurate than most problems we deal with), and we want to consider an order-of-magnitude more nodes in the network, say 1,000,000; the computing time for this problem is on the order of several minutes

Newtonian mechanics did not address problems at the molecular level.

Uncertainty can be manifested in many forms: it can be fuzzy (not sharp, unclear, imprecise, approximate), it can be vague (not specific, amorphous), it can be ambiguous (too many choices, contradictory), it can be of the form of ignorance (dissonant, not knowing something), or it can be a form due to natural variability (conflicting, random, chaotic, unpredictable).

The statement ‘‘I shall return soon’’ is vague, whereas the statement ‘‘I shall return in a few minutes’’ is fuzzy; the former is not known to be associated with any unit of time (seconds, hours, days), and the latter is associated with an uncertainty that is at least known to be on the order of minutes. The phrase, ‘‘I shall return within 2 minutes of 6pm’’ involves an uncertainty which has a quantifiable imprecision; probability theory could address this form.

implication between actions and conclusions (antecedents and consequents)
Profile Image for Jessica Triana de Ford.
32 reviews4 followers
January 27, 2021
This was a very good book for marketers and anyone who wants to learn how to uncover what buyers really want from their products, and why they make the buying decisions they do.

The book doesn't tell you what your buyer persona should look like, it tells you how to ask the right kinds of questions to uncover the truth of what customers think when they chose you or chose your competitor.

This book will be interesting for anyone who works in marketing in companies where there might be barriers to getting stakeholders on board with new marketing strategies and the value of using buyer insights to inform those.
Profile Image for Mike.
94 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2019
Buyer Personas is broken into three sections. The first part covers what makes up a buyers persona, the second section goes over how to create and handle buyer personas, and the last part goes into implementation. The book introduces the 5 rings of buying insight (priority initiative, success factors, perceived barriers, decision criteria, and buyers journey). Overall it definitely had some great insights but I found it extremely difficult to stay engaged with. It’s a short book but felt long-winded.
Profile Image for Kenny A Rozas.
5 reviews
July 10, 2020
Practical and revealing

I liked the practical and direct content on the methodology to build "buyer people." In addition, it really teaches what a "buyer person" is as opposed to a "buyer profile", which is what you find when are looking for in specialized blogs and websites. Now I feel that I have a deep understanding of how and what “buyer personas” are used for. I recommend the book to those who like me feel they need accurate and practical information to build their "buyer people", something they will not find by searching on google
Profile Image for Daniel.
83 reviews
July 5, 2020
Relatively verbose but gets to the point early. The insights are interesting particularly the idea that understanding your customers and their motivations for buying your products helps you to better message your marketing.

Adele also has interesting ideas on the role of marketing and why marketing cannot report directly to sales.

The author could have said all she wanted in way less words.
Profile Image for Delphine Van Belleghem.
99 reviews7 followers
January 11, 2019
Vooral gericht op marketeers in heel grote bedrijven, maar er zijn toch een paar lessen uit te trekken voor solo-ondernemers of kleine KMO's. Vooral de 5 rings of buying insights is makkelijk om te zetten naar kleinere bedrijven en organisaties.
Profile Image for Karla.
598 reviews18 followers
January 13, 2019
Actionable advice about creating buyer personas, then incorporating the knowledge gained into your marketing efforts. Revella’s writing is conversational and easy to follow. I especially liked the detailed interview instructions.
62 reviews
September 18, 2020
There are nuggets of wisdom, but overall a long book to repeat and repeat and repeat that we need to speak to our customers to learn about their needs. Well, I knew that when I bought the book ;)
Oversold by the marketing book podcast, not worth my time investment
815 reviews9 followers
December 24, 2020
The buyer personas kicks off by the author experience into the sales department as they talk nothing of content about the product but instead tries to dive deep into the psyche of how buyer made their decision to buy from seller.

A very neutral read.
66 reviews
January 5, 2021
If you are a marketer and have been asked about Personas, do yourself a favour and read this book before giving your answer. Revella provides a clear insight into personae marketing and it will save you a lot of time - and maybe arguments.
Profile Image for Michael Thulin.
10 reviews1 follower
March 13, 2019
Very thorough and educational. A complete walk through on how to do buyer personas.
Profile Image for Osni Passos.
28 reviews7 followers
July 10, 2019
Vem no momento certo! Excelente para estabelecer um processo e entender melhor o seu cliente.
54 reviews
November 3, 2019
Brings marketing insights to a new light

I never knew how buyer personas can be misleading and this book kind of put buyer journey to show me how we can understand buyer decisions
Profile Image for Momo.
135 reviews2 followers
April 27, 2020
I felt the book boring and repetitive. It could have been written in a shorter and more visual way.
Profile Image for Thomas.
213 reviews9 followers
May 28, 2021
Excellent book on buyer personas and why they're important. Great reference book. Will use this in my upcoming SEO projects.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews

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