Using personas to help you understand your customer

Do you use personas when you're working on a a design or marketing plan?

It's not a good sign when a four year old girl points out that you are putting a door handle on backwards is it? That's happened to me before, it'll happen again too.

If you were trying to reach me as a prospective customer you could identify by my demographics. A caucasian male in late thirties, shops at home depot on occasion, works in higher education, an immigrant, married.

But If you wanted to understand how I think personas might help you. If I was Home Depot I might create a persona like this to help understand my customer.

Meet Nick:

Nick is a white male in his late thirties who has very little skill when wielding power tools. He graduated with a degree in art history from a UK university and moved to California immediately after graduating to get married to the love of his life.

Nick likes to try new things, he's not afraid to push a button just to see what happens. He works at a desk job creating web sites and marketing ideas for a small private university. He's entrepreneurial in spirit and is constantly looking for new ways of doing things. He enjoys trying to fix things around the house but always ends up doing things wrong as he doesn't follow instructions. He's a ready, fire aim type of guy."

You now know a lot more about Nick, you might even know someone like him.Based on this personality you can understand how this type of customer thinks and create campaigns that reach them. Typically you would create a few different personas, for example we might add a professional contractor to this persona group.

Social media demands that we are authentic, engaged, empathetic to our customers. Demographics are useful but personas can help you leverage that data to understand the personalities your campaigns are trying to reach, and understanding personalities is an important part of social media success.

How do you use personas?

Posted originally for the Social Media Club Editorial Team here.