Take heart, people (or persons). We may be on the way out, but we’re not quite dead yet. How do I know? A little birdie told me. But it didn’t need to.

The idea of eschewing personal relationships in favor of compiling more data, the mechanized dehumanization of marketing and sales, and the notion that software could replace human contact between people (or persons) could never have been more than a passingly faddish technical daydream. (“Oh, my Gawd, Edna! The man’s an absolute dinosaur!”)

According to the little birdie:

Personas were meant as a more empathetic tool to allow you to think through interactions with a real live person in mind … personas are a poor and artificial proxy for real human behaviors.

Let’s think about that: Personas may have been meant as empathetic tools. But since they didn’t have actual psyches with which to identify, they were, in fact, and could only have been, surrogate constructs, contrived for the purposes of targeting (the needs of) real people. They couldn’t have allowed us to think through interactions with real live people (or persons) in mind because there were no interactions — because there were no real live people (or persons) — in mind or anywhere else.

So, in our rush to automate marketing, those poor and artificial proxies for real human behaviors could only have failed because they were suppositive: We fabricated them based on our suppositions about what those proxies wanted. And we did so because we didn’t have the time, patience, or inclination to get to know the people (or persons) to whom we wanted to be selling.

The next time you want to automate your marketing — rather than creating personas and instead of adopting the latest flavor of marketing-automation software — try this: Put your best prospects on speed dial, and call those people (or persons). You might learn something about real human behaviors. And you’ll turn your phone into a really empathetic tool.

In the meantime, fear not, people (or persons). Personas may be goners. But at least we’re not dead.

Image by cocoparisienne, courtesy of pixabay.com.