Empathy is the ultimate form of customer insight.
Personas are specific, fully described portraits of your target users. Developed correctly, personas can be invaluable to your organization—both online and offline.
Yeah, but what are personas, exactly?
Typically, personas are presented as a set of individuals who share certain motivations and behaviors. Personas help you think about your audiences as unique, flesh-and-bone people with needs and wants, biases and expectations.
Too often, personas are pulled from thin air—without basis in research. Or worse, organizations substitute marketing demographics for research—e.g., “25-40 year-old males all want to buy X, so we will talk about X.”
The Benefits of Personas
Developing personas gives all of our marketing efforts, digital and otherwise, a clear direction. Personas answer questions like:
- What marketing messages work?
- Where should content go?
- What tone should we strike?
- How do we structure our website for different audiences?
- How do we target our marketing and sales projects?
Answering these questions—and the dozens of spin-off questions for each—will give you long-term, clear targets for all of your development, marketing, and product efforts. You'll no longer be operating on hunches or suspicions; you'll design your work and marketing around actual persona types.