The Webster and Oxford dictionaries actually define persona as “the characters of a drama, novel, etc.” In the world of product management/product marketing, there are many definitions with different words, but they all come down to the same meaning. A persona is a representation of your typical, average, most common, etc user if you are looking from a product management side and working on features, priorities and builds; or, the same of your buyer if you are looking at product marketing and trying to understand how to look at outbound activities that will resonate with your targets.
You may hear different reasons about why you should invest in personas, but in the end it all comes down to two reasons:To keep your eyes on what real people want, not about making stuff up or guessing. There is a science to this art; and, To insure that all members of your team hear the same, understand the same, and have the same knowledge about the real people’s needs; and, Because real money is at stake. The economic challenges that we have been facing, the job cuts that resulted, the downturn in your sales all had an impact on real money in your company. If you’re going to make an investment, you want it to matter and be the right one with the desired impact. Making it up is not an option in this economy.
There is no magic number for how many personas should be created. Generally, create one for each unique market segmentation you have identified; however, it is commonly accepted that you cannot manage more than 4-6 personas for either users or buyers.The number is less important than the value!
Don’t use your existing customers – they already believe in the value of what you offer and are solving their problem with your solution.
Don’t underestimate the “other” influence category! Spouses, neighbors, children, etc play a larger role than you might think.
The post-it exercise allows you to write the data down from the different collection tools and group them into categories.
If you don’t change your behaviors as a company, actions and outputs, from having developed personas – why did you invest in the development?
How to Really Get Started <br />so Personas Can Help You Succeed<br />Personas 101<br />
intro<br />“You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.”<br />Albert Einstein<br />2<br />
step 2 - questions to ask of all personas<br />What do they like?<br />How long have they been in their role?<br />What activities do they engage in?<br />What knowledge & skills are required?<br />Overview of their organization<br /><ul><li>Relationship to others
Key initiatives underway</li></ul>What are their goals?<br />What problems do they face?<br />What is their ideal solution?<br />Who makes the decisions?<br />Budgeting process/authority/approvals?<br />13<br />
step 2 - questions to ask of all personas<br />How do they learn about solutions?<br /><ul><li>Analysts
Industry publications, trade associations, conferences
step 2 - user persona questions <br />What are they trying to do?<br />How do they do it now?<br />Who do they do it with?<br />What do they want? (their vision)<br />What are they willing to give up?<br />Ask for A/B priority choices<br />What competitive products do you like? Why?<br />What would stop you from implementing …?<br />(in person) Ask for a show & tell<br />15<br />
step 2 - buyer persona questions<br /><ul><li>Obstacles that interfere with success
Attitudes or beliefs that stop them from purchasing your product
What will Sales do differently? Customer support? Executive Leadership?</li></ul>step 4 - closing the loop<br />27<br />
key takeaways<br />Personas only add value if you invest time in their development<br /><ul><li>Must be based on real life, with supporting data</li></ul>Personas only add value if they are “living” reference points<br /><ul><li>If they become shelfware, don’t bother</li></ul>Personas are not meant to be a magic bullet<br /><ul><li>Still need to invest in the other research and other business, technology, design, marketing & sales principles. They will not solve all the problems</li></ul>Your persona effort will not succeed without leadership team support. Period. No further discussion needed.<br />28<br />