Customer Personas

Product Discovery

Product Personas are a technique for capturing insights from your users that help you to identify and understand the different types of customers that will be using your product. The persona is a fictional creation that describes an imaginary but very plausible user that carries the traits of your target users. The persona should encompass traits such as personal background, profession, likes, dislikes, and behaviors. Create your persona with the attributes that will affect a users’ likelihood to buy into your product.

It’s useful to do a lot of research on your potential users and create five buckets that they may fall into. Define the varying personas by which bucket they may fall into and think about those personas as proxies. This will help you to simplify the understanding of what the customer may need or want. You can create a research-driven detailed person, or a low-fi, less detailed persona referred to as a Proto – Persona. It’s commonplace for Design/UX teams to create research-driven persona’s whereas for Product Managers when tasked with person definition often gravitate toward higher-level market-segment driven Proto-Personas.

Characteristics of a Persona

  • Comprehensive
  • Detailed
  • Well thought out
  • Research Driven
  • High Fidelity

Characteristics of a Proto Persona

  • General
  • Broad
  • Improvised
  • Non-Research Driven
  • Low Fidelity

You can oftentimes spot the difference between a Persona and a Proto-persona by the way it looks. A Proto-Persona is oftentimes sketched out and has the look of something from a brainstorming session. In contrast, a Persona will have a more polished look and it is oftentimes created using software like powerpoint.

How to Create a Persona

Start by creating your persona with an image, a user name and fictional details that help to make up the characteristics of your user persona. Include things like Personal background (Ex: likes baseball, and video games), Professional background (Ex: Dentist, making $80k), Geographic location (Boston, Mass) and Psychographics (Ex: happy, likes adrenaline rushes). Once you have the basic persona created, you’ll want to write out a problem statement. It’s crucial to understand who will be using your product, and what their problems are so that you can develop ways to solve those problems. Creating a persona helps to develop empathy for who your target user will be.

Benefits of Using Personas

Personas help to rally the team around a product, by creating a clear understanding of who the product is being created for. It provides a clear vision for the team to work with while developing the product. Personas’ will also help you and your team to prioritize what’s important. It’s important to know who you’re building the product for, and it’s equally as important to have a clear understanding of whom you are not creating the product for. By understanding whom the product is not going to appeal to, you can focus your attention in the areas of the market that are the most likely to adopt your product when it’s released. 

Personas and Journey Mapping

Creating a User Persona is the first step in creating a Customer Journey Map. After creating the Customer Persona, you move into the Journey mapping phases of what your users’ goals are, their pleasure and pain points, optimizing their experience and overall evaluation. Customer Journey maps are an extension of creating User Personas and focus on understanding not only the user but their entire journey and experience with your product.

User personas are necessary if you want to develop something that is useful, valuable and desirable to your target audience. A well-conceived User Persona is your north star and will guide your team and their decisions from start to finish.

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