I had the good fortune to attend a workshop on creating personas presented by Forrester Research. I won’t steal anyone’s thunder by talking about the particulars here, though we discussed the “how’s” and the “what’s” of effective, quality persona creation. Needless to say, the folks at Forrester provide a worthwhile workshop. A couple of the “why’s” for personas are what I want to share with you.
Probably the best reason to put forth the effort (or the money) to create personas is to reduce market complexity. It’s hard to wrap your head around a million different customers. Heck, it’s hard to wrap your head around 100 different people when it comes to marketing to them…let alone designing a website or email campaign. Personas allow you to look at the important attributes your customers have in common while setting aside the ones that have little impact on your marketing and design decisions.
Personas work best when it’s clear who your customer is.
While segments have their own value and are important in understanding the various business factors that define your customers, personas allow you to understand the behaviors, motivations and attitudes behind those factors. This can mean more useful design, revised concepts about your customers and even shifts in marketing strategy.
Smart, right? But what does “smart” mean for the bottom line? Changes based on personas can result in more click-throughs, higher conversion rates and more sales per visit. In short, basing your decisions on personas can result in direct, measurable improvements in your online efforts.