Targeting Customer Personas: Do It Yourself or Partner Up?

Before implementing your customer persona targeting campaign, you must first determine if you can, or should, do it yourself.

As with most things in life, you can do it in-house, pay someone to help you, or pay someone else to do it. The difficult thing is deciding which scenario will work best for your company. To help you make that decision, I will break down the thought process to go through for each of the three options.

Do It Yourself

Why would you? The primary reason is cost. Yes, I know that you need to weigh opportunity cost and how much your time is actually worth, and then compare that to what you would pay to have someone else handle it. Unfortunately, for some that calculation is irrelevant, particularly if the campaign is for your own product or service. If you are the advertiser, however, you may be able to offload some of the costs onto your client. This is a very important calculation when building a scalable business model.

Another reason is to learn how it works by doing. Many people prefer to know the nuts and bolts of a system before they implement it, and there is no better way to learn than to get your hands dirty. This could be the approach for your first campaign or how you execute each one.

How would you? What we are left with are the instruments to use. Google Adwords is a phenomenal tool, and it is completely free (other than the actual ad costs, obviously). You can perform keyword searches, pick basic targeting criteria, and easily monitor the campaign within the platform and Google Analytics. The various social media platforms also have their own programs – as well as guides on how to use them. AdRoll is an excellent tool for retargeting your site visitors after you get that first visit.

Pay Someone to Help You

Why would you? This option allows you to run the campaign without getting bogged down in the minutiae. You maintain creative control but let someone else handle the day-to-day activities. Because you aren’t contracting out all of the work, you save on cost. Likewise, because you are contracting out the daily activities, you reduce the time you have to invest into the effort.

How would you? You find a vendor who effectively runs campaigns and supply them with the creative vision and the campaign collateral. Then let them run and monitor ad placement. The key to success in this type of arrangement is finding a vendor with a good, easy-to-view and understand reporting system.

Pay Someone Else to Do It

Why would you? The primary reason is time. It can be extremely labor-intensive to set up, run, and monitor an online targeting campaign. This is even more true if you meet the second reason for paying someone to do it for you, which is a lack of technical ability. Remember, there are great firms out there to handle online ad and search engine placement because it is their core business. And companies that focus on what they’re best at tend to succeed more often than those that try to handle it all themselves.

How would you? This part is simple. Talk to people you know who are using online marketing. If you don’t know anyone, do a quick search. Narrow your list down, then interview these folks to see which one is the best fit for your company.


Don’t fall prey to cognitive biases when deciding which route to go. Two in particular to watch out for are The IKEA Effect and the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The former is a tendency to assign too high a value to something you partially created or are invested in. It can also lead to the “sunk cost effect,” where you continue to add resources to a project instead of scrapping it or seeking help. The latter is the tendency to overestimate your ability. Both of these can lead to a tremendous waste of time and energy, as well as money.

So be honest with yourself in terms of your ability and your resources (meaning time AND money). The goal is to hit your targets, and it doesn’t matter how much help you had in hitting them. If you can generate a positive return on investment in a timeframe you’re comfortable with, then you have succeeded.

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