Outrageous Acts of Marketing: Girls Scouts Have Personas. Why Don’t You?

Outrageous Acts of Marketing: Girls Scouts Have Personas. Why Don’t You?

It’s that time of year when Girl Scout cookies seem to be all the rage. Whether you like Thin Mints or Samoas, you typically know a family or friend who has a child in Girl Scouts. What I did not realize is, just like many businesses, the Girl Scouts have developed buyer personas for selling to their consumers.

My discovery into this started on a Saturday while making a few stops to pick up some items for weekend tasks. My first stop was at a local auto parts store to get a new light for my vehicle, and out in front of the store was a group of Girl Scouts. Of course, I bought a box and left to continue my errands. There were no Girl Scouts at my next two stores, one of which was a major grocery store chain. My final stop was at a hardware store at which there again was a group of Girl Scouts selling cookies. I went in, bought what I needed, and declined buying from the Girl Scouts since I had already made my purchase.

The Girl Scouts at these two locations made the marketer in me start asking a couple of questions:

  • Why are Girl Scouts not at high volume locations such as the grocery stores?
  • Why pick hardware and auto parts stores?

The answer, after talking with a Girl Scout mom, is that they are targeting stores more frequented by men. Why? They have already sold directly to women thru friendships, school functions, and word of mouth. In other words, Girl Scouts have built buyer personas around their customers. They know how to market and sell through a grassroots approach just as larger companies do through marketing automation platforms, CRM, and other sales tools.

Some companies do feel the need to develop personas. Some already have them, they just have not formally documented them. Others think by the time they are built and implemented that the client personas have already evolved. However, personas are an important part of marketing and sales alignment, not only providing messaging during the customer lifecycle, but also providing content at the right time.

Why are personas so important? A MarketingSherpa case study found that buyer personas added the following value:

  • a 900% increase in length of visit,
  • a 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue,
  • a 111% increase in email open rate,
  • and a 100% increase in the number of pages visited.

As a revenue marketer, trying to determine content’s contribution to revenue is extremely important. In addition, providing content at the right time is critical to moving a person thru the lifecycle. 63% of respondents are highly annoyed by the way brands continue to rely on the old-fashioned strategy of blasting generic ad messages repeatedly (via Evergage). The importance of just having a few approved personas to which marketing and sales can align will help provide content to the right audience at the right time, contributing to high revenue.

  • According to Mark W. Schaefer via Business Grow, 3-4 personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales.

Here are some campfire myths that Girl Scouts help disprove:

  • Personas are always out of date. Yes, the buyer is always evolving, but with proper sales and marketing alignment personas should be updated quarterly or bi-yearly.
  • There is no additional value to personas. Personas help drive operational effectiveness from content curation to specific sales tactics based on the persona, buyer journey, and content consumed.

Need more proof that the Girl Scouts are advanced in their marketing efforts? Right after writing this post, I found out there is an app for locating Girl Scout Cookies! They’re on top of their marketing game!

About James Kelley

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  • Posted by James Kelley
  • On 04/15/2019
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