Persona, the 16th P of Marketing


personaEvery marketer is knowledgeable about the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, & Promotion. They’ve been taught in business classes for years.

Of course, since marketers can never leave anything simple alone, we’ve been adding more to the litany:

  • Passion
  • People
  • Performance
  • Personal relationships
  • Persuasion
  • Population
  • Positioning
  • Process
  • Profits
  • Projects
  • Purpose

I generated this list with a quick Google search and only went two pages deep…so there could be dozens more marketing ideas starting with this apparently magical letter for marketers.

I’m proposing the 16th P of Marketing: Persona.

My online pop-up dictionary defines persona as:

  • Assumed identity or role
  • Character in literature
  • Personal façade

Google defines persona as “the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others.”

Wikipedia describes it as having originally referring to a theatrical mask. Other descriptive words include: Identity, personality, character, guise, front, face, image, qualities and assumed role.

To me, persona is a good substitute for the word brand, one of the few critical marketing concepts that isn’t covered by this long list. In fact, persona may be better than brand since it is more descriptive of the brand’s intended outward facing image.

Next time you’re challenging your marketing group, ask them how they’re leveraging persona. I’m betting that most of them will be able to quickly relate their recommendation to persona, as well as any of the other words in this litany.

About Richard Sellers

Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.



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