David kicked off the workshop by asking a series of questions that exposed how we personally make buying decisions today. The responses provided strong evidence of a change in buyer behavior. We no longer make buying decisions based on mass corporate advertising, which talks to buyers as a single, generic, monolithic group. Rather, as consumers, we make a decision to buy based on peer recommendations, product reviews (that reflect uses and circumstances similar to our own) and possibly advertising that has been tailored and personalized to our particular interests. This shift can largely be attributed to the free and boundless commerce model of the web, along with the transfer in power from the corporate marketing machine to the individual consumer. David also pointed out that these activities are occurring at the very beginning of the buying cycle, long before a corporatation is even aware that their is a potential customer looking for their products or services. Thus, the workshop emphasized the need to know your buyer persona.
I know some of you may be thinking, so what does this have to do with Information Professionals? Well, the lesson fits any role where a service to a potential client, patron, user, or customer has a CHOICE. Let's face it, our internal customers have a plethora of choices (some good, some bad) when it comes to information needed to perform their jobs. Our job is to make sure individuals in our organizations are making the BEST choice. (We can all think of examples where wrong conclusions were drawn and poor decisions were made based on inaccurate information.) Thus, just as much as a corporation needs to understand a buyer persona, we need to understand and document our internal customer personas. Building a persona will help us to understand and determine information consumption. This means at the end of the day, we can begin to deliver content that matches the current workflow and behavior of our identified personas.
To develop a persona for information consumption, questions like these would need to be answered.
- Do I know the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of my users, internal customers, etc?
- Do I know their current information seeking habits?
- Do they need real time, minute-by-minute information updates or is a general current awareness sufficient?
- Is there a need to access archived information?
- Do they want to search for information or have it anticipated and delivered?
- Do they want information with analysis or just the data and supporting facts?
- Do they use mobile devices?
- Are they using/searching/contributing to any of the various social media vehicles?
- Are they digital natives or digital immigrants?
Armed with the user persona, we can create an information experience that is relevant, customized and useful.
So are you willing to play by the new rules? I am. And to prove it, all of my future posts will only have one space separating the sentences.