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Jeroen GritUser research & validation

In 4 easy steps towards world class personas for effective marketing

Deze blogpost is eerder gepubliceerd op Medium door Jeroen Grit in Cut the Bullshit Marketing en is in het Engels gepubliceerd.

The problem: misaligned and impersonal marketing materials

When addressing specific audiences such as engineers it can be complex to make the connection and really identify with them. Often this results in product or feature focused messaging, missing the right tone and context of the audience.

The solution: good persona definitions

The solution for this is to make the research and insights about the audience really explicit by visualizing it in the form of a person.

A persona is a fictional character that represents a potential user. It is created based on the results of customer research and a tool for a user-centered design process. A persona description includes a photo, a story, and a discussion of the personality and the relevance to the subject of the design. In this way, persona descriptions do the following:

  • Help frame design questions according to more specific user considerations
  • Allow a marketing team to live and breathe the user’s world
  • Provide focus and create a frame of reference
  • Provide input during discussions from the customers’ perspective
  • Help decide on inevitable design trade-offs
  • Enable better tactical-level design decisions
  • Provide a powerful method to engage with complex audiences

How to derive a world-class persona description

Step 1: Perform interviews/customer research

  • According to my experience, a worldclass persona description must be based on interviews and direct observation of customers.
  • Other sources, which should be handled with care, are customer surrogates (domain experts/trainers), informants and interpreters (marketing, sales, or documentation experts), and indirect sources (manuals, artifacts, or questionnaires).

Step 2: Create draft descriptions

  • Use a template to kick-start your persona descriptions. The template in Figure 4 guides you through the first descriptions of the persona. Create separate persona descriptions for the different groups you encountered in step 1.

Step 3: Discuss and interact to refine

  • Discuss the first draft. Prioritize the personas (focal/secondary, etc.).
  • Make a final selection of key personas (a number between five and eight is manageable). These personas will have differences in terms of key characteristics. Visualize these differences to explain the playing field these personas cover.
  • Elaborate on the persona’s characteristics and refine.

Step 4: Visualize and present to relevant stakeholders

  • Visualize the persona’s profile. Make it personal by including a photo or an illustration of the persona and make sure the description is as clear as possible.
  • Present final persona descriptions to whomever will be working with the personas and take the time to fill these people in on the details.

Want to learn more?

In our book, Cut the Bullsh*t Marketing, this is one of the instruments we share that help you perform (or organize) more effective marketing for your company. A clear set of cases, instruments and theory is bundled in this ‘ultimate guide’ for marketeers.