Close up of man
Photo by Mattastic

A Persona?

According to WikiPedia, “personas” are fictional characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic, attitude and/or behavior set that might use a site, brand or product in a similar way. Personas are a tool or method of market segmentation.”

These fictional descriptions are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of  customers and how they might use, refuse or interact with your product or service.  They are detailed profiles  typically compiled from actual data and used to capture behavior patterns, goals, skills attitudes and some fictional personal details.

An Example of a Persona

Perhaps we represent a company that sells surgical equipment to hospitals.  One of our personas might be Emily, an RN who is 55 years old, likes to think of herself as highly technical, and who is currently a surgical nurse. She is up on all the equipment and isn’t intimidated by learning something new. She doesn’t like to seem foolish, however,  and will want a lot of information about the product before she attempts to use it.  She is a leader on her team and others who work with her look to her for guidance and advice.  Having her accept and endorse our product would make a big difference in the overall satisfaction rating we receive from that hospital.

Once  we “flesh out” several profiles of client-types, we can begin to see how they might react to our marketing methods, training techniques and features of the product.  This approach makes us more aware of pitfalls, biases and hurdles that we may encounter and how to address them for each type of user.

The product development team members can use these profiles to help them share a consistent understanding of various audience groups. Proposed solutions can be judged by how well they meet the needs of each persona and features can be prioritized.  Finally, having a “face” to focus on assists you tweaking the small details that make a difference.

So, Now What?

Now that you understand the idea and purpose of a persona, take the time to identify several of your key audience groups and flesh-out their personas.  It’s fun!  Once you’ve accomplished this, make sure you’re writing, developing and marketing in a way that meets their needs, answers their questions and gives them a reason to want to use your service. It makes all the difference….

As always, your comments are welcome.

About the Author: Deb Ward is owner and founder of  iMedia Buzz, Inc. which offers a “turn-key” solution to small businesses who want to take their “online brochure” website and turn it into a dynamic, marketing tool. Get Found!