Being Customer Centric: An Introduction to Personas

user personasUnderstanding your target market is one of the first steps in crafting a successful marketing strategy. Equally important is seeing the problem you’re solving through the consumer’s eyes rather than your own. However, the typical socio-demographic information used to describe a target market is not enough to gain insight into their lives and how your product fits in. One way to make insights more personal is through the use of personas.

Personas are short biographies of fictional characters that represent your target market or users. Usually no more than a few paragraphs, they tell a story about the person’s life and shed light on how your brand can best connect with them. Personas informed by research are preferable to those just based on gut. But either way they’re a valuable tool. They create an external lens through which to view your product. The more detail the better. Give each person a name, a life and a photo. Below are a few guidelines on what to include.

  • Demographics: Age, gender, ethnicity, urban/rural, etc…
  • Education & Work: Where did they go to school? What did they hope to work? Where do they work now?
  • Lifecycle: Are they single, married, retired? Do they rent or own?
  • Aspirations: What motivates them? What do they hope for?
  • Problem in their life: What keeps them up at night? What do they fear? What frustrates them?
  • Media consumption habits: Are they tech savvy or do they prefer traditional media? Hint: Most people are a hybrid.
  • How would they research the solution to the problem: Word of mouth? Google? Visit stores? Do nothing?

Personas are important as they remind us and our clients that the consumer simply doesn’t care. Our products, services and campaigns are just a tangent line that briefly glances off their busy life.  To have a chance at anything more, we need to view everything we do through the consumer’s eyes. So before you dig into your next campaign or redesign your online presence, step back and view your project with an outside lens.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. chrisdasie says:

    This is a fantastic perspective on user personas. Something I’ve been preaching about for years now. It definitely helps keep everything more focused and reduces a lot of the guess work that would usually go into creative projects.

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