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Monthly Archives: September 2015

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Business Personas Types

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Marketing-Strategy-TeamMany people want marketing to be simple but the reality is that marketing is where; people, systems, and language collide. The process is messy making content planning complicated with issues that are not right or wrong but simply different. In this article we propose that we have Worker Bees, Technicians, Managers, Connectors, and Entrepreneurs. Each of these personas looks, acts, and reacts differently to marketing messages and what turns one on may turn another off. In this article we are going to explore the people part of the challenge and to keep the scope somewhat manageable we are going to discuss the business to business market. These concepts apply to the consumer market as well but the number of segments is much larger.
In prior articles we talked stages of the audiences with discussion of Suspects, Prospects, Customers, Clients, and Evangelists. Within each of these audiences we have personas that have to be the center of our content creation strategy.

Worker Bees
Worker Bees are about following the rules and filling in the blanks. They are people within the organization that execute the plans and follow the direction of leadership and they are often the first contact in a sales cycle. Because of their role in the organization they follow rules and look for easy to implement guidelines but they are almost never the decision maker however they often control who gets on the short list. So while their decision ability is close to zero they can influence the procurement process. They are often overly concerned with things like price and that tends to be one of the first things they look for. A first contact that is looking for the cost in the first question is often a worker bee. A typical answer to the price first question is to ask “What is the problem we are trying to solve?” I will often equate this to a common or shared purchase decision like buying a car. A worker bee would call a dealer and ask “How much is a car?” Since this question is broad, the dealer would respond with a very wide range of prices and ask for more details. The thing to remember here is that this is not the decision maker but they may control if you get on the list that the decision maker will consider.

Technicians
Technicians are about the work and their perspective is driven by the quality of the product creation. They are often the business founder and hold the leadership role in the early stages of the business development. They are motivated by improvements in production, new tools & gadgets, and other things that they see as improving the product or service provided. They are about making products and production bigger, better, faster, and cheaper.

Managers
Managers are about consistency and they value dependability and repeatability. They are the reason that large business are great at consistent delivery and they tend to be driven by facts that can be validated. If you ever walk into the office of a manager you will see it immediately. Everything has a place and everything is in its place. The files are organized and probably color coded. They have a system for everything and they bring organization to the business.

Connectors
Connectors are about relationships they are often the rainmakers that bring transactions into the business through referrals. They are commonly found in the marketing, sales, and executive staff. Because they value relationships they are often very brand loyal and they create referrals as a reciprocal act because that is how they think. They are typically very easy to discover within the group because they are the first to greet you and find ways to personally connect with you. Connectors in most cases will influence the purchase decision but they rarely make the decision. Connectors belong to lots of networking groups and they are engaged with the community of the business.

Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are about innovation, creativity, vision, and brand advocacy. They know where they are going and how they want to get there but they need a help from Technicians and Managers make the magic happen. They often serve as the communication bridge the Technicians and Managers. They do not exist in all organizations and the larger the business the less likely there will be an entrepreneur because they require lots of freedom to operate.

Why We Care?
With all of this discussion the big question here is why do we care? Then answer is because each of these types is motivated to a decision based on a different set of values. If you want to sell to the Entrepreneur you need to talk about the future and the next version because they will be bored by what is already in market because they want new and exciting. The Manager on the other hand wants dependability and sees new as risky and not inside the system after all change brings chaos to their orderly world. The Technician is excited by new tools and methods but like the Manager they want to see proof that they are going to make their work better, faster, and cheaper. During this value communication process the Worker Bees will bring coffee to the conference room, fill out forms, and return RFP’s with additional questions that no decision maker will ever see.

Disclosure
This is an opinion article based on my experiences over far too many years working with lots of organizations. My experience is that if you break messaging down and find ways to communicate value to these personas great things can happen. We would love to have you share your perspective on this article.


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Do you speak Icon?

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Hover over the paragraph above to translate icons to text

 

How does one choose the perfect icon?

Properly used icons are a powerful part of any visual experience but just like any other language they have to fit your audience. The experiences and preferences of your audience will drive the icon selection process in your design. The essential icon concepts are message, theme, and testing.

Message

For icons to work the audience has to understand the concept they represent and this is based on the life experiences of the audience. While a person accustomed to an iPhone might understand certain icons an Android user may have a different experience with icons and therefor differ in understanding. This is no different than any other language in that icons can be misunderstood. For functionality you need to look at other interfaces that your audience is likely to have routine contact with. Like any writing you must become one with your audience if you want to create effective communication.

Theme

Icons need to fit together in a theme so they have the same look and feel within the interface. You have to consider them individually but you also have to consider them as a collection and in contrast to each other. If the theme is not consistent your icons can confuse the users. Remember to that color is one important component of icon design and often certain colors denote certain meanings. For example, the color red tends to be associated with warning signs, the color green with the environment, and the color blue with water.

Testing

Rule 1 of icons is test, test, and retest. Make sure that in setting up your test that you get a good random sample of the targeted users and avoid testing with friends and family. A user group of your friends and family are almost never a good representation of the users of your design, even if they are they tend to be nice to you rather than brutally honest. You need people that represent your audience and will be honest in the evaluation. When we conduct user testing on icons we like to get 3-4 icons competing for one function within the interface and then we ask our users to vote for the icon they like best. Asking question like do you like this icon will get you a very different result. When you conduct a user test of your icons give them just the icon and ask them to write down what they think the icon means and avoid leading them to the meaning.

 


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