It's that time of year again - the beginning of the holiday shopping season! I am now in the process of putting together a shopping list of all of the people I need to buy for. And brainstorming about what they might like; what they are interested in; and the problems they have that the right gift could solve.Visualizing each person on my list takes the guesswork out of my Christmas shopping.
Buyer Personas work the same way. A Persona brings your customer to life in such a way that you can make decisions based on this person - no need for guesswork!
So what is a Persona? The word "Persona" is Latin, meaning "mask", such as the role played by an actor, or the "social role" or "character" each of us puts on display for others as we go about our daily lives. In business, a Buyer Persona is a realistic and detailed representation of your customer. It is meant to be thought of as someone who actually exists, who has a "history", his/her own goals and priorities, wants, needs and problems.
Personas are fictional, but they are created with rigor and exactness through primary market research. A Persona begins life as a hypothesis. Company stakeholders brainstorm about the types of people who will buy their service or product in order to create "Prototype Personas". These prototypes and hypotheses are validated or rejected through ethnographic inquiry, employing observation, followed by an in-depth interview.
Observation affords you a first-hand look at the environment in which your customers work and live. And unlike an interview - in which the customer tells you about his or her behavior, likes, dislikes and attitudes - you get to see these things for yourself. This contextual inquiry can be very eye opening!
The in-depth interview is one-on-one, to allow you to devote your full attention to the customer. The interview questions are very open ended: "What went well today? What didn't go well today? What happened that caused you to look for a new solution? What did you do to find potential solutions?"
At this point you may be thinking that Buyer Personas look promising...but also time consuming, and probably not inexpensive. And you may be wondering, Are Personas really going to help me to make better decisions?"
YES! Here are 5 reasons why Buyer Personas are so powerful:
If you have employed Buyer Personas in your product or service development, web design, or marketing campaigns, I would love to hear from you! And I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the power of Buyer Personas in customer engagement.
All the best,