In business, understanding your audience and customer base can position you for success.
Personas, or customer profiles, can be powerful tools for building an effective sales and marketing strategy or creating the perfect product.
What Is a Persona?
A persona is a fictitious character who embodies the traits of your customer segments. Think of it like a generalization of a target demographic. Using a persona enables your team to view the world—or your business—through your customers’ eyes.
Personas provide laser focus for how the company’s products or services can meet a customer’s needs. They can help answer why a customer makes a decision and what they expect from an organization.
To develop a persona for your company, first identify your target customer. This starts with researching who your customers are and how you can group them demographically.
A tech recruiting firm, for example, might have a wide range of target demographics. Personas can help you align these demographics with the services you offer, identifying which customer groups are most likely to purchase particular services.
Conduct one-on-one interviews with customers that represent each demographic. Throughout the interviews, patterns emerge regarding preferences, attitudes, opinions, and behaviors. Paired with information about the customers’ environments, this data shows groups of similar respondents.
Coming to Life - How to Build a Persona
To build a persona, create an example identity for each of these demographics that answers the “who, what, where, when and why” of that audience. Give your persona a name, age and gender. At the tech recruiting firm, that may be a woman named Anna, age 32, who is married with one child.
Then, build out her cultural values, norms, and where she and her family live. Her roles and responsibilities dictate how she spends her time—but also consider what she does in her free time, her level of education, and her income.
Already your persona is coming to life. After developing her character, identify how, as a potential client, she might align with the business. She may bring 10 years of experience in coding and design. Her husband also works remotely in the tech field, and may be a candidate for other recruiting services.
The Complete Picture
Creating personas can be complex. It enables you to put these characters in scenarios and design a goal for your audience to achieve. For sales and marketing, it’s crucial to also outline each persona’s “pain points,” or what can force them to make a decision, their daily routines, and their preferred communication styles.
By identifying these habits and daily cycles, your business better understands your product or service from the customer perspective, and ideally focuses on the best way to reach that persona—and reach the larger target demographic.
Create a visual representation of each persona and show their interests and behaviors. Repeat! Consider all of the customers who encounter your business and create multiple personas. Personas can be used across all departments. In fact, persona development can ensure solidarity in understanding the customer experience. This cohesiveness contributes to a customer-driven strategy across the board.
Need help getting started? Check out this sample persona.