More threads by Garrett Sussman

Mar 15, 2016
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How to Build Customer Personas Using Online Reviews


Cayla is spying on you.

If you?re one of the parents who purchased the Cayla or i-Que toys for your kids you?re in luck. Not only are these toys spying on your kids and your entire family, they?re recording everything your family says.

It gets better.

These toys then send your illegally recorded, very private conversations to a defense contractor specializing in voice recognition.

This data is then used for marketing.

That?s right.

As a marketer you?ve probably heard this story before, haven?t you?

It?s no surprise customers refuse to share

Why would customers want to share their information with a company like this? The obvious answer is, they don?t. The vast majority of people want to choose the kind of information they share with others.


As marketers, we need information.

To sell more products and services, to cater to customer wants and needs. To show customers we can solve their problems. Getting this information is the difference between creating a product customers fight to buy?


Versus a product no one wants.


This information, when it?s collated and catalogued, becomes a persona you can use to attract the specific customer you want.

Personas have a specific role to play

Personas should give you a deep, intimate understanding of your customers.

Personas, when used properly, show you?

  • What they want. As people we?re drawn to the same things ? physiological needs, safety, love and belonging, growth, etc. You?ll need to discover how your customers meet these wants and needs.

  • Who they are. Are they single or married? What?s their age range, education level and profession? How much money do they make? Do they have disposable income?

  • What their interests are. interests, also known as psychographics tell you: what they read or watch, how they spend their free time, who influences them, what offends them, and more.

  • Customer expectations. Expectations, both good and bad, drive customer behavior. If they?re skeptical they?re more likely to expect the worst. Are they expecting expert level knowledge from your firm? How do their desires tie into their expectations from you?

These details are absolutely vital. Yet most marketers ignore these details or they skimp on the information they need.


Because it?s too hard, customers won?t talk to me or I can?t get the information I need. These objections are pretty bad, but there?s one objection that?s even worse. It makes it impossible for marketers to learn new things about their customers.

I already know about my customers.

When we ?already know? we close our minds to something new. It implies that we already know everything there is to know about our customers. What does this mean? We?re not interested in what anyone has to say.
Which is completely untrue?

Because customer behavior is dynamic

An economic downturn, out of control fuel prices, job loss. These circumstances motivate customers to change their behavior. When customers feel pressure from a wide variety of factors they change their behavior.

Your customers are always going through change.

Want to attract new customers and keep the ones you have? Use personas to track the changes they?re going through, then change with them.

What if you can?t?

What if you have no idea where to start, and even if you did you felt there was no way to get the information you wanted? Does that mean you?re out of luck?


As it turns out, customers are volunteering. They?re willingly sharing the information you need ? in their reviews.

Read Andrew's entire post here.

There's a lot of internal research that can be done with Online Reviews. Andrew had also written a post about using Online Reviews as a competitive advantage when researching other businesses.

Have you ever used these strategies on behalf of clients?


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