When you’re telling a story, it’s a good idea to know who your audience is. OK, it’s a GREAT idea to know who your audience is. Back when I was an editor at technology business magazines, I used to keep copies of the articles that interviewed our readers and discussed their business so I had some target when I was writing a product review or recommending a service. As a marketer, I use Customer Personas.
Customer Personas are profiles or stand-ins for “people” that you create to represent the actual users, prospects and customers within your targeted audience.
Here are just a few of the benefits of using personas:
- Creating a better understanding of your customers (Their desires and concerns, and the way they may use your product)
- Developing a customer-centric focus (Your persona becomes a stand-in for your customers)
- Designing for customers’ actual needs (It’s much easier to build a product if you can “see” who will use it)
- Improved product and service quality and usability (Does it fit? Can everyone use it?)
Your personas are actually based on the aggregate data that you discover (or research) about your audience. If you’ve got a web site that targets 20-30 year old women you might develop two or three different types of personas depending on the different demographics you’re trying to reach within that broad audience (race, ethnicity, marital status, level of education, area of country, etc.). You can get very complex with your personas – or you can develop simple personas that you refine over time.
When I build personas I like to give them names, locations and even pictures (funny, all my personas are good looking people). Usability.gov has a terrific site filled with information about building personas, including tips on creating surveys and even a great example. Try it out for yourself and see how much more meaningful your marketing message becomes when you use customer personas.