Evolving Beyond Personas
Persona-building is a common practice today, but maybe it's not the best practice.
The practice of persona-building is creating a fictional, but accurate representation, of your customer types. You give the "person" a name fitting of their generation and background. You assign them an age, education level. You describe their challenges and what motivates them, etc. And voila you have a character built out that should inform your marketing.
For example, “Michael is 21 and single.” “Robert is in his mid-40s with a daughter and he enjoys golfing.” “Margaret is an empty nester who loves shopping.”
The issue is that none of this describes how they go about buying a product.
What if instead of these fictional typecasting, you described the shopping behavior? This is what Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg described in their book "Waiting for Your Cat to Bark." They segmented buyers into four buying types: competitive, spontaneous, methodical, and humanistic.
Now, maybe those don't describe your buyers, but the general idea of these "Buyer modalities" is about buying behavior, which can be more helpful than “Michael is 21 and single.”
Maybe your buyer model types are The Researcher, the Consensus builder, the Quick Decision-maker and the relationship-driven buyer?
You can image that someone who is 21 and someone who is 45 and someone who is 60 may actually all care most about finding the internal consensus regardless of their personal challenges at work or because of their positions they move very quickly to make decisions and the marketing and sales need to move at each of these people's pace and desire for depth of information, even if they live in different places and have different career goals.