Q&A: how closely aligned should product organisations be with marketing and personas?

Q&A: how closely aligned should product organisations be with marketing and personas?

Here’s another question I was asked recently:

If you’re concerned about buyer needs and their objectives, how closely aligned do you suggest product organisations should be with marketing and with the persona development to ensure they are creating a solution that does meet those needs in the market?

Read on for my answer:

User and buyer personas #

Very important distinction here: if you in a B2C company (business to consumer company) then obviously your user personas (for the people who are using your product) are the most important things that you need to align with in terms of your marketing, your communication, or anything like that.

When you are looking more at a B2B scenario, so you are selling to businesses who are potentially selling to other customers or businesses themselves, then you’ve now got two different sets of personas to deal with: you’ve got your user personas, which are for the people who are actually using the product on the ground, and you need to make sure that you understand those really, really well so that you can build a product that helps them solve their problems; but separately you’ve also now got buyer personas.

Different sets of needs #

Very often in the B2B world the people paying for the product (or taking the decision to buy the product) are completely different to the people who are actually using the product. So in that situation, what I research and create is a different set of personas, buyer personas, that help me understand what it is those buyers are trying to achieve, whether it’s a more cost-effective product for their organisation, or something that’s easier to roll out, or whatever it might be. They’re going to have subtly different needs to the people on the ground actually using the product when it’s rolled out.

Who are you marketing to? #

And in terms of marketing and messaging, it’s really important to distinguish who you’re talking with. If you’re speaking to the end-users, then you need to give them the information they need to solve their problem. Or if you’re talking to buyers, you need to structure your information to address their questions or concerns or needs from the buying process.

So I’d actually have different sets of personas and different sets of messages depending on whether I’m talking to a user or talking to the buyer.

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The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner’s Guide to Product Management
by Jock Busuttil

“I wish this book was published when I started out in product management”

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Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS).In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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