Creating Personas

In a nutshell, the basics of persona resource will teach you about creating a persona, a vital model that humanizes the customers essential to your organization. You will learn how personas define WHO you are targeting, how scenarios reveal WHY they might be using digital experiences, and how personas bring targets and customers to life by describing their functional and emotional needs.

What is a persona?

A persona is a model of a real-world customer. Personas humanize the customers that mean the most to your organization, revealing their functional and emotional needs. Personas bring targets and customers to life by conveying their backstory and shining a light on how they view the world around them.

Why are personas important?

Personas are essential for getting crystal clear about who you are targeting and how you can help them. Whether you are a marketer, designer, strategist, or all of the above, having a persona in your arsenal is important because it allows you to create more compelling communications, and as a result, better connections with your audience.

What are the benefits of having personas?

  • Inspire: Members of the marketing and design team can generate new ideas for reaching or connecting with customers. Personas guide the team’s strategies and designs, allowing them to create more relevant marketing materials and experiences by using a persona to humanize the user.
  • Generate empathy: A persona allows for a deeper understanding of the customer, beyond functional needs. To make deeper emotional connections with users, it’s important that a business connects their values and beliefs to those of the customer.
  • Create a shared understanding: When individuals have a collective understanding of persona needs and challenges, they can better understand the opportunities the business has to meet those needs. They can work together to align resources and coordinate plans in a way that serves the customer better. Aside from the benefits within the work, personas are a great way to motivate all team members – no matter what their role – to consider how what they are doing impacts the lives of the customers.

How are personas used?

Throughout the marketing process, the persona can be used in various ways by several team members.

  • Strategy Formulation: Use personas to determine the channels and tactics you should use to reach targets, and how to help them reach their goals while achieving yours.
  • Branding and Messaging: Use the personas you create to develop an organization’s value proposition or selling proposition. Identify what your business can do to meet a customer’s needs that another cannot.
  • Creative/Design: Determine which visual elements appeal to your targets and also help reinforce your brand themes. Consider how your customer will react, and which images might offer the greatest appeal.
  • Content Strategy: When you know precisely who your customers are, you can develop a content strategy that engages them, overcomes objections, deepens connections, communicates your product value, and ultimately moves them down the path to purchasing.
  • User Scenarios: Your persona will be a critical input to determine why they would engage with your brand and what they expect from these interactions.
  • Journey Mapping/Experience Mapping: A persona determines which steps a target goes through, the channels they use during their buyer journey, and how your customer behaves across this journey.

What is included in a persona?

Each organization has its own way of approaching persona development. Here, I will show you the anatomy of my persona. I generally organize mine into five sections (or zones) that include a variety of details, which allow a team member to quickly understand who the persona is.

Here is a list of what is included in each zone.

  • Zone 1: An Introduction

    Snapshot of the persona’s key attributes


    Overview which includes personas: Name, Narrative, Photograph, Segment


    Observable characteristics or data points that identify targets


    Relevant geographic characteristics

  • Zone 2: Their Heart

    Details what the persona cares about the most


    Pains describe anything that annoys your customers before, during, and after trying to get a job done or simply prevents them from getting a job done.


    Gains describe the outcomes and benefits your customers want.


    Think and feel? Hear? Say & Do? See?

  • Zone 3: Their Work


    Quick summary of the work that the persona must do; roles they must play


    Jobs describe the things your customers are trying to get done in their work or in their life. Also called, “Jobs-to-be-done”

  • Zone 4: Their Values/ Lifestyle

    Provides more dimension about the persona’s day


    Description of target’s attitudes, aspirations, values and beliefs – some conscious, some not


    A day-in-the-life of a customer. Description of a customer’s lifestyle, interactions, and behavior pattern

  • Zone 5: Information Preferences

    Describes how persona prefers to consume their content.


    Description of the type of technologies and devices a customer may use. Description of their level of technology adoption.


    List of channels that the persona may frequently use


    List the content that the persona consumes

  • Zone 6: Buying Behaviors

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