Personas: almost real
Their benefits: oh so real
If you’re not single, pretend you are. Would you go on a date with someone based solely on this information:
“Female, early 20s, enjoys cats and music.” Or, “Male, early 40s, likes sports and travel.”
Didn’t think so. Not only is it not nearly detailed enough, but the facts could be misleading.
Like maybe the woman is 14 cats over city code. Maybe the only “travel” the man likes is an annual trip to Duluth.
People are complex – they can’t be summed up in a five demographic bullet points.
Yet in the business world, it’s remarkable how little is known about current customers.
More than once, when I’ve asked new clients about their target audiences, they gave me what they thought was perfectly acceptable and adequate demographic data, something like: “Our sweet spot is a Chicago-area dad in his mid-30s, about $110k HHI, has a degree.”
But if you were, say, a beer company, those details could describe a man who hates beer, or one who loves beer that’s much less hoppy than yours. He could like opening email blasts or always delete them. He could be a health food nut or a donut nut.
If you really want to know your customers…if you really want to get a granular understanding of their sensibilities, tastes, aspirations, even their thoughts -– you need to ask many people many questions.
Then you need to create a persona — or depending on your market, any number of personas.
Personas are generalized representations of your most important current or potential customers. They help you understand those people much better — and make it easier for you to tailor content to their specific needs, behaviors, and concerns.
Personas turn research data into real people. Through seeing the many dimensions of your customers, fictional personas can enhance your business in many non-fictional ways.
With all that in mind: Cleveland-based founder of research and analytics firm with stellar credentials, dedicated to accuracy, partial to pricey road bikes and German engineering, seeks companies in need of personas to enhance their business.