How to Create a User or a Customer Persona Profile

Product Personas "breathe life" into your user stories, enable deeper empathy and understanding
of your customers - to help you build buy-in and design the optimal user experience.

What is a customer persona profile

Customer Personas are semi-fictional generalized profiles for your customer segments, reflecting the customers' behavior patterns, goals, pain points, and needs. You may think of a Customer Persona as of "an archetype", a composite image of the real people who buy, or are likely to buy your products or services, based on the knowledge of your customer base.

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Personas are not real people, however, they are based on the behaviors and motivations of your existing customers. A fully fleshed out Customer Persona covers everything, starting with demographic information up to career history, family status, hobbies and everyday routine, as if the persona were a real person. 

When to use a customer persona profile

Sketching out Personas is valuable for documenting the target customers you intend to attract, and relating to them as to real humans. It is a powerful tool that provides your team with a shared understanding of your representative users or ideal customers, their pains and needs, by giving a "real face" to the user stories.

Having a clear understanding of your Customer Persona(s) enables effective product development, marketing and sales, and improves your customer acquisition and retention. 

How to use a customer personal profile 

Start with defining the key Personas you would like to outline: use the insights gained at user interviews or analyze the existing customer segments. Here are a few practical methods that may help collect the data relevant for Personas development:

  • Review your customer base and find trends about specific customer segments that you want to pursue,

  • When creating forms on your website, add a few fields that capture important persona information, e.g. business size, company role, industry, etc.,

  • Get feedback from your sales teams on the leads they define as the most promising, ask them for generalizations that your Personas may be based on,

  • Make a synthesis of your customer interviews or communications, to discover what they appreciate about your product, and in what context they use it.

Based on the above, define a few (3-5) target customer segments to be reflected in your Personas.

Prepare a Lean Canvas for each customer segment of your idea. This is because each customer segment may have different problems, solutions, channels, revenue, costs, etc.

Once you have a list of key Personas, use the Customer Persona template and begin filling in all the sections with the detailed and fleshy information on a given Persona with notes, links, images or other data. Brainstorm with your team to best capture all the nuances that shape the Persona's lifestyle and preferences: consider their sex, location and income, family status, career journey, everyday routine and how they learn about new things. Give each Persona a real name and use an image (e.g. look online) that shows how they look like.

Your Personas should be perceived like real people, for you to develop empathy to their needs and pains. Next you may consider the buyer's journey (awareness, consideration, decision) to nail down questions to be answered for each Persona. Also, marketing messages and elevator pitches will be developed for each different Customer Persona.

Tips & tricks around customer personas

1. Consider generation

Along with basic demographical data (age, gender, location, income, etc) consider the generation you intend to target (in order to have millennials buy-in a different messaging is needed than that to hook a baby boomer. Thus, don't make a too wide age range, but outline a different persona for every 10-year range.

2. Learn everything about the career

Its key to understand what kind of a person you are trying to reach, we believe the messaging to be used to get to a conservative law firm Partner should differ from that to reach an innovative graphic designer geek. Look for data that reflects their key tasks and frustrations at work, study their work routine - to develop empathy to their needs.

3. Think of how they search for information

Collect the information on the Media your Persona refers to when searching for information, which SM they use and how often, which on-line news sites they read, how and where they exchange ideas with their peers. This will help you focus on the right channels while trying to reach your target audience.

4. Make them real

Give your Customer Personas real and memorable names (smth like Retired Dr. Johnson or Marketing Assistant Rita), as this name will allow you to talk about this persona, making it totally clear whom you want to reach. Flesh them out as much as possible, and your product, marketing, and sales teams' initiatives will only benefit, and your marketing strategy will be improved significantly. For more information - look at Hubspot's detailed recommendations on how to draft Customer Persona Profiles: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/buyer-persona-research.

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