Personas are used by organisations to develop detailed insight into both customers and prospects by understanding their needs (and unmet needs) and motivations (why they do things). They work equally well in both consumer and B2B markets and are increasingly used to complement or replace traditional demographic analysis such as age, gender, sector, job function etc.
Done well personas can be invaluable in helping organisations to:
- Understand and segment audiences into groups that have similar needs
- Identify the groups that offer the best opportunity (and those that it doesn’t make sense to target)
- Develop messages that will appeal to the people you want to reach
- Create content that will be of interest to target groups
- Develop products or services so they meet the markets needs
- Have common focus for sales and marketing efforts.
Done badly, personas become stereotypes that are based on little more than preconceptions and prejudices that afford little real benefit.
So, what should a persona contain?
- The traits that define the group
- Their interests and goals
- The challenges they wrestle with
- Their pain points
- The issues that stop them considering your product or service
- The way they regard your product or service
How to develop personas through research
There are a number of ways in which you can do this but there are two ways in which Sapio can help:
- Persona workshops
- Needs based segmentation
Persona workshops involve one of Sapio’s facilitators working with a group from your organisation to review:
- the customer groups you have
- what you know about their needs, motivations and personality traits
- the objections they might have to your product/service
- the decision making process they go through
- the information channels they typically consider.
This doesn’t sound like a lot but to be effective the workshop needs to be systematic, objective and avoid building personas that simply “fit” your proposition or what you think you want to do. In short they need to generate actionable, grounded insight and avoid audience stereotypes.
Needs Based Segmentation is a statistical analysis tool based on cluster analysis that can either be used to complement the workshops or be run as a stand alone exercise. Research using this technique identifies groups (personas) that share similar behavioural traits and needs and by identifying what’s most important to each group we are able to work with clients to develop strategies to engage with key prospect groups. As with many quantitative techniques it can be used to validate assumptions and evaluate the size of specific groups i.e. the proportion of the total market accounted for by each persona.
In summary: personas can be used for marketing, product development, PR and business strategy. Our persona market research can be stand alone, or just one part of a multi-phase research project. Whichever approach you choose, Sapio can help you to create in depth, research based personas which have a real and long-lasting impact on multiple areas of your business.
If you’d like to chat about how we might be able to help, contact us.