The first few years at Auth0 we’ve always focused on targeting developers. Being a developer and a systems engineer, I felt natural doing so. However, approximately 1.5 years ago we decided to start targeting other personas like Enterprise Architects, CTOs, CIOs and even VPs of Marketing. In this post, I’ll share my adventures trying to learn how to target these new people!

First step: Research

I knew very little about targeting specific personas so I did what any good engineer does: research. I started reading online about persona analysis. I saw a lot of recommendations on doing an analysis by role, and giving them a name. So we tried doing this and we came up with the following (very bad) personalization of a Developer Manager.

Developer Manager: Characteristics
Developer Manager: Characteristics
Developer Manager: Think and Feel
Developer Manager: Think and Feel

I was very dissatisfied with the above, so I decided to start interviewing people on the roles that we wanted to target.

Second step: Interviews

I started interviewing a lot of different CTOs and CIOs from small startups as well as big corporations like Facebook. After doing ~8 of this interviews, I realized something that I thought was very stupid and obvious. All of these CTOs and CIOs I’ve been talking to were just regular, ordinal human beings. They are driven by their own emotions and interests, as well as their need to connect and belong. I always thought that I could never put myself in the shoes of a CTO because I was never one, but at this point I realized that I could. Let me give you a very simple example for Auth0. A CISO from a big corporation that’s happy at their job probably feels anxiety about not losing it. That means he’s probably scared of being hacked, so the less external variables (or SaaS) he has to handle, the better, since in his mind that decreases the probability of being hacked, and therefore, it also reduces their anxiety. If we can offer a solution that can handle authentication for all of their use cases, internal for their employees and external for customers and partners, then they’re probably going to pick us.

Third step: Challenge existing beliefs

Once I realized that my target market are just people, I started to think that segmenting them based on their role was probably not the best choice, since people in different roles might be driven by the same emotion and interests. Around this time, I started to read and learn about Jobs To Be Done. Explained shortly, this means that people buy products and services to do a particular job: “People do not want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole”. Based on the jobs theory, and thanks to the help of Chris Spiek, now we’re starting to think on how to target and segment people based on their existing situation (their feelings, their frustrations, their anxiety, etc.) and the progress they want/need to make. In an upcoming post, I’ll be talking a little bit more on how you can start using jobs to segment and target people with your messaging.


If you remember just one thing of this blog post, let it be that your target market are all just regular people. They are absolutely unique, just like everyone else.