July 18, 2019

Creating a Persona — Am I Doing This Right?

Brandon Wu @theBrandonWu

I am drafting a persona profile for our marketing plan for Markd. I followed a few templates I found online, and combined with a few dozens of interviews we've conducted to create this.

Has anyone done persona work before here? Does this look like the right start or am I waaaay off? 😆

edit: tall image doesn't play well on IH. Here's a link to file directly: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vwPGfiOldR69WmhVUeLTLQog2wVllva4/view


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    I'm going to take a slightly controversial stance here and encourage you to not get too bogged down in personas. At our company, we stopped using personas several years ago and actually encourage clients to not worry too much about them either.

    It's not that you can't narrow down who your ideal customer is - that's always good. The point is that often you cannot know who your ideal customer is, and after spending literally millions on advertising we realized that personas can be an unnecessary and sometimes downright negative self-imposed limitation.

    If you have the ability to market to a wide range, and then narrow down based upon observable, data-driven engagement and analytics rather than your gut reaction, that is almost always a better use of time and energy than trying to build a persona.

    That said - I'm just a random guy on the internet. Listen to everybody else, too!

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      Appreciate the comment @gilgildner! This has come across my mind as well - how does one fictional character represent our audience? I think I'll proceed with caution, and pay attention to actual usage and data. I did find the whole exercise good in terms of asking ourselves hard questions about target audience - and finding out what we don't know. :)

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    Hey Brandon,

    IMO, these are all useful traits but are too surface level to be really helpful. You need to dig a little deeper. The standard template is really not as useful as people make it out to be. In this case, Joanne's persona could apply to way too many individuals.

    The key to a successful persona is to think of your PERFECT customer/client, not just someone who could benefit from your services. You've got to find their core motivators if you want to really speak to them on a personal level.

    Most of what you have there could literally apply to anyone who works in business. Figure out WHY she's struggling with those pain points, not the pain points themselves. Start there and then really narrow down her traits to be as specific as possible.

    You want Joanne to think, "holy shit he's reading my mind, I HAVE to buy this," not "Oh hey this could be pretty useful for me, maybe I'll check it out when I have time."

    (this is especially important for Joanne, as it seems to me like her biggest pain point is a lack of control over her own time, i.e. she doesn't have time to spare checking out products that could be useful.)

    Figure out something that really speaks to her that level & you have yourself an effective persona. Hope this helps!

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      Thanks @danicanorton! Very good points about asking the WHYs. The current draft certainly feels surface level after you've pointed out. Perhaps some of the sections aren't that necessary, and we should focus more on the core motivation / frustration and what's behind those. The rest seems like distractions in comparison. Thanks for the advice!

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        Glad you found it helpful! The key is really to find what will speak to your perfect customer on an emotional level — people buy stuff because of their "gut feeling" response to it, not a logical one. And remember that it will likely evolve over time, so avoid getting married to whatever you find now :)

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    I don't have experience with creating personas for the marketing purpose, but I do for product. Anyway I think the outcome and process is pretty much same :P

    First question is this proto-persona?

    Google Definition
    Key characteristics of Proto-Persona’s:
    Non-research driven persona.
    Low fidelity.

    If this is proto-persona, I would take this assumtions and try contact any real users if you have? You need to validate data, ask them questions that matters, do not ask question you can get answer by data. e.g "how much time do you spend using our app" (this is just what cross my mind, this type of question you can find out with some analytics tool).

    This is on-going process once you find enough information, then you create action-plane based on it. And from time to time come back and add more information to your persona.
    Friend of mine created slides about 'Creating Personas' maybe you can find it useful.

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      Thanks @ggavrilo! I created this based on outcomes from interviews with current users and potential users, but not based one any one person. There are definitely things that I came up with as well - perhaps not as good of an indicator. Thanks for the link - will check it out now!