The Usefulness of Personas

The Usefulness of Personas

Developing personas for your customers is a real way to get competitive advantage but they’re often not given the priority treatment they deserve because of the time and effort involved, combined with ‘intuitive knowledge’ so why state the obvious (some clients may say).  As content marketing and inbound marketing (using marketing technologies) continue to grow as marketing disciplines, personas are a really practical way to ensure you’re targeting your audience with the information they need most in the most timely and efficient way possible.  As businesses, we all aim to find the most direct, less crowded route to our audience, the one where we may just gain exclusive access to the ears and eyes of importance to us.  And the only way of doing this is to understand our audience as human beings.

A persona is a fictional character that communicates the primary characteristics of a group of users, identified and selected as a key target” seren.com cited by smartinsights.com

While creating personas was typical practice for website design companies to better understand their particular website user, creating personas has become an important marketing tool when planning marketing and advertising campaigns, particularly those online or centred around your website (if you’re using an inbound marketing methodology).  It makes for better honing of any content generated and for placement of that content where it will be easily discovered and appreciated.

There are many tools online for creating personas and no shortage of companies proffering links to their top x suggestions.  Rather than duplicate this effort, and to negate the need for my reader to then have to look at and choose between 10 say, I’ve gone for two very simple ‘paper’ versions, which have the benefit of being very quick and easy to use.  If you’re new to developing personas, this could be the way to start, as the online versions are quite fun to use but can take more time.

Buyer Persona Template – 2 page worksheet

B2B PersonaTemplate – this carries a bit more detail and is businesslike in its approach.  This is by Content Harmony

The B2B template encourages the use of a name and picture (this is typical, particularly with the online persona generators such as Hubspot) to really start to develop an empathy with that person or that group of people exhibiting similar characteristics. The deeper we come to know our audience – our customers – the more we (or our organisation) can differentiate simply by how we communicate with them.

This post was first written in 2015 and updated in 2019.