Personas and Polls

Personas and Polls

 In Demand Generation, Uncategorized

This guest post is contributed by Ken Molay, the president of Webinar Success. Ken will be speaking next week on the BrightTALK Academy about personas in demand generation webinars.

My rule of thumb for webinars is to immediately deliver value by quickly giving your audience something they were promised in the promotional description of the event.

You want them to feel reassured right away that the webinar is a source of useful information and that they are on the receiving side of the value equation.

This means reserving your first poll until after you have presented at least one nugget of wisdom that they were expecting to get.

If you come to my free webinar with BrightTALK next week, you will see me violate that principle. I will be speaking on the subject of personas as applied to demand generation webinars.

In thinking about how to provide value to my audience, I defined a couple of very general personas. One categorization reflects marketers who are familiar with the concept of personas. They have used them in their work and are looking for advanced tips to apply them more effectively to webinars. The second categorization reflects marketers who are not familiar with personas. Maybe they have read about the concept, but haven’t tried the methodology yet.

My promotional copy for the webinar offers several value promises. These are what people are signing up to hear, and they expect me to deliver on my promises. The very first value point promises that my audience will learn “What buyer personas are and how to define them.”

This leaves me in a bit of a bind. Attendees fitting the more experienced category definition already know what buyer personas are and how to define them. They want me to move quickly into tips on how to use and apply personas. People matching the less familiar category need more time spent on introduction to the topic. So I’ll be looking at the results of a poll right away to help clarify what percentage of my audience fits the different categories.

I can get away with this because of several factors:

  1. The poll clearly serves the delivery of a promotional promise. I can set it up by calling attention to the fact that I am already working on the first value proposition.
  2. I am not asking the audience to “work on my behalf.” The information they provide is immediately used to customize the presentation to their needs and priorities, rather than to give me data for my own sales and marketing use.
  3. I have a rehearsed plan in place to alter my presentation of the introductory material differently based on the poll results. So attendees get quick confirmation that their contributions matter and have an impact on the value they receive.

The poll gives me one more psychological advantage as a presenter. Attendees tend to view the webinar experience as a personal one-to-one communication vehicle. When you are sitting by yourself at your computer, you aren’t thinking about all the other people out there in cyberspace who might also be watching. It is easy to feel frustrated if the information being presented is not perfectly matched to your own preferences for pacing and detail.

By referencing the needs of the larger audience and saying that I want to be democratic in making sure I am serving the group’s priorities, I help to justify the pacing and detail that I use. An individual attendee still might not like it, but they have to at least acknowledge the fairness of it.

If you want to help tailor my introductory value delivery and see me use personas and group profiling in action, register for the webinar. It is scheduled for Tuesday, December 8 at 1:00 US Eastern (New York) time. We are keeping it to 45 minutes, so you’ll still have time to get a cup of coffee before your next meeting on the hour!

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