I just read an excellent document from Smart Bug on Buyer Personas (Click here. It is gated content). I recommend it to anyone getting into the business of building Personas either for their business or for their clients.

However, it stopped short of discussing one critical aspect of digital marketing, namely moving beyond Personas to a true ‘Audience of One’.

Let me explain. Personas provide a proxy for grouping customers who may be similar in nature so that you can understand how best to communicate with that group of people, and in so far as it goes Personas are an excellent tool. However, there is no substitute for learning about an individual over time and then once your analytics show that you know enough about them, removing them from your Persona pool, and treating them as a Person (see the power removing that one letter makes).

Take a customer who has consistently responded to your emails via mobile, made some purchases from your site also via mobile, always chooses express shipping, and never visits any of your social media then you should know enough about their channel preference, and product tastes to be able to tailor offers to them, not on their persona but on their personal preferences. Now we are talking about the power of ‘Audience of One’.

So, don’t ignore Personas as they are a genuinely valuable tool. But if you stop there you are missing a crucial part of digital marketing, namely the ability to speak with relevance to individuals.