Decision Profiles Are the New Personas

In my prior article, “It’s Time to Take Your CX Seriously,” I stated that 2021 would be the year of customer experience (CX). And, in order for that to happen, 2021 should also be the time to invest in true audience understanding. 

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves. Most brands and marketers have not taken the time to truly understand their audience. I’m speaking not in terms of a segment you might buy or simple demographics, but about the very essence of who they are and what they care about. 

So, how do you get to this deeper level of understanding? You need to invest time and resources into developing what we call Decision Profiles. You’ll notice I didn’t say personas. That’s because the persona has evolved. It’s not just about the personality or likes and dislikes of the consumer, although those are factors; rather, it’s about the way they make decisions that is important to our marketing models. These are particularly true for B2B decisions, which often involve many people with very different needs, expectations, and motivations.

In addition to basic demographics and characteristics you would find in a common persona, the Decision Profile goes deeper into the factors that inform how a person makes a decision. This includes details like:

  • Personal motivations
  • Professional motivations (for B2B audiences)
  • What problem are they trying to solve?
  • Challenges or concerns they face
  • What is their mind-set?
  • Key influences (people, sources, etc.)
  • Media consumption habits
  • The role of specific media touchpoints throughout their journey; and so much more

You will want to develop a Decision Profile for each of the key audience segments, or cohorts, that you’ve identified. Typically, this could range from four to six profiles.

To gather these insights, there are a variety of research methods you can utilize. We find the most valuable insights come from direct interaction with our audiences. Talk to people, ask them questions, listen to both the verbal and non-verbal responses. Pair these insights with quantitative methods for a robust view of your audience segments.

Armed with all these amazing insights, you’ll want to organize the information so that it is easily digestible and accessible to everyone within the organization. These Decision Profiles should be living, breathing documents that are continuously updated to ensure you always have the most current view of your audience. 

It’s this understanding of your audience that will better inform business decisions, marketing strategies, content needs, and media buys that meet, and exceed, the growing expectations of consumers. Ultimately, we cannot deliver the experiences our customers are expecting and deserve without understanding who they are and what matters to them.

Remember, developing Decision Profiles is an investment with serious returns, and we’re here to help. If you’re ready to get started and build (or expand on) the foundation that will drive your strategy, give us a call or check out our Audience Mapping services.