Understanding + Leveraging Personas
Whether you are implementing a client solution, looking to shorten the sales cycle, making customer-centric enhancements to your product offerings, or aspiring to increase engagement in your content strategy, leveraging personas plays a critical role in your success.
A persona is essentially a representation of an audience segment based on demographic data (quantitative concepts and averages about this representation) and psychographic data (qualitative insight into what motivates their behaviors or preferences). This informs organizations as to how and why they appeal to certain types of customers, as well as the strengths and opportunities that are present throughout their prospective customer experience with the brand.
But personas are not strictly a marketing tool. When designed properly, personas should enhance teams’ capabilities and success across the organization:
- Marketing, design, and content teams will gain an understanding of their customers’ interests and how to better manage touch points.
- Sales teams can identify types of prospects and how to address their corresponding pain points.
- Customer service teams will more effectively identify issues across varying types of cases and how they are best resolved.
- Product teams will understand how their solutions are being used, not used, and where opportunities for improvement lie.
Naturally, just as each of these teams benefits from defined personas, they are all invaluable resources from which you should garner input as personas are developed. What are these teams’ prototypical interactions with consumers? What data have we collected on users? How do we most commonly see our products and services being leveraged? Through what type(s) of lifecycle stages do these customers progress? Personas are a collaborative effort, so the aforementioned teams and their data will offer unique insights to help answer these questions.
Developing personas requires more than an attempt to define who represents your population. Another critical, and most commonly overlooked, element to successful personas is the feedback loop. How do you define KPIs that measure the impact of the use of personas, and how do you identify ways to improve them?
Effective personas should be iterative. They need to inspire and be transformed by data you collect on prospects and customers. For this reason, it is imperative to outline the operational and technological resources the organization has (and still needs) that will be instrumental in gathering the requisite insights to evolve your personas. There are two ways to gather data that informs the iteration of these personas:
- Explicit data such as forms, progressive profiling efforts, service cases, product reviews, survey feedback, or preference center data.
- Implicit data regarding mobile app behavior, product feature data, analytics around purchase and browse behavior that may be leveraged to build affinity models.
Think of defining and leveraging personas in the same capacity as your marketing or sales strategy; it is never quite finished. There are always improvements, innovations, and information that can be leveraged to better realize the value of these efforts.
Cole Fisher has 10+ years of marketing experience in both creative and digital roles. Prior to joining Lev, he worked as a Marketing Consultant for Salesforce – where he helped legacy Fortune 500 customers leverage Salesforce products to achieve business goals. Cole has also served in various roles for global manufacturing organizations, tech startups, and marketing agencies. Cole has worked with brands such as Cummins, Fanatics, Discount Tires, Home Shopping Network, and Nintendo.