How to Build a Persona and When to Use a Persona


The best personas are based on a solid foundation of socio-economic data about target groups. Interviews with sales people having direct contact to these customer groups are helpful as is intensive research on the internet gleaned from social networks to news and portals targeting these groups.
Then a small team, best comprised of the main producers in the project, will meet and build a persona or several personas for each target group and product or service. Due to the overlap in target groups the number of personas will most likely be limited for a company.

The last step is to create and communicate a nice presentation of the personas to integrate even more participants in the marketing process.

Using a persona - For which tasks personas can be helpful

Most examples for the use of personas are from web design. There are few examples in classical design as well. Personas are sometimes used in usability and are even named 'usability personas'. Experience has shown that personas can be very helpful in marketing and web marketing analytics, business development, strategic marketing and even business management. It is very useful to include personas in the briefing to creative agencies, ad agencies, media buyers, developers and information architects.

I used personas for:
  • Business strategy
  • Marketing strategy
  • Online strategy
  • SEO, SEM, Web 2.0
  • Content generation and IA
  • Usability and design
  • Analytics
  • Briefings of all sorts
This is one of the most powerful tools for building effective strategies efficiently.