A persona is a semi-fictitious account of characteristic features of an individual. In business terms, it gives us a detailed account of what our user thinks, how he thinks, what are his preferences, what are the geographical, economic conditions, etc. that influence his decisions.
The usage of the term “persona” became popular during the late ’90s when American designer and programmer Alan Cooper used it for the first time in the context of targetting specific market segments.
Today, the persona has become such a crucial aspect of businesses that no industry can function without creating a it and developing their product around it. All the businesses have their own persona building strategies in some form or the other. Persona building has become such a crucial aspect of marketing that businesses world over are spending millions for research into this matter.
IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING USER PERSONA
Building user persona is of great help for the organisations of all types. It helps them understand what are the requirements of the people, how do they think and so on. That in most cases turns out to be the decisive factor in the product’s success.
“A satisfied customer is the best customer strategy of all”
- Michael Le Boeuf
Imagine yourself as a car manufacturer. You are planning on launching a new car into the market and you have done market research based on the following characters. The following are your potential buyers.
In the above case, you need to understand the need each of the segments of the customers and come up with the car that would satisfy all the above personas. As this decision of yours could result in lead retention.
Hence, ideally in the above case you should try and come up with an SUV that has a low retail price and powerful engine to satisfy Harry and is spacious and luxurious to please Mr. Dursley and also provides great luggage space and fuel economy to Hagrid. The solution may sound extremely simple in this case as there were just 3 samples but, usually, companies have to deal with a humongous amount of data and this is where they tend to go with the needs of the majority.
HOW TO BUILD USER PERSONA
In order to build a persona, we must primarily focus on the psyche of the user and try to collect information on the aspects which might influence your product design.
The information that you need to gather from a user to build his persona must cover his personal, professional and behavioral aspects. Questions on personal aspects involve age, gender, education, and preferences of the user must be covered thoroughly in this exercise.
The information that you need to cover on professional aspects are their domain of work, professional experience, their income and what are their expectations from you?
Technical information must include everything regarding the devices, applications they use, and how much time they spend on web browsing and so on.
Behavioural information like what motivates them, what they are looking for, what they need and what they want at this moment from a product is needed to be gathered. This is often the most overlooked aspect in the process of gathering information. However, your best bet at understanding the user's psyche is understanding his behavioural traits.
The above-mentioned data can be either collected through your own marketing team or through the reports being published in various forums, depending on your needs. Alternatively, you can also set up a quick survey on your website in order to understand the visitors and their requirements.
IDEAL STRUCTURE OF AN USER PERSONA
An ideal user persona must have the following elements:
The basic profile of the user: It should be short para describing the geographic, demographic and psychological information of the user. It should also provide information about marital status, kids and income of the user.
Personality traits of the user: Information regarding interests, dreams, goals, political ideology, values, opinions and beliefs of the user should be present. This is the most complex element in the personas layout.
What influences the user buying decision: It must have information on what influences the user, whether people, products, sites or brands.
Devices and Platforms: Information related to what devices and platforms that the targeted users are using for a particular product/service.
The professional and technical expertise of user: Clear information on the expertise level of a user in using product or domain which are related to yours.
Must do and Never do: The information about what a particular user expects a marketer to do (messages, emails, useful links) and what not to do (some users gets frustrated with frequent cold calls and advertising messages).
Usage history: What devices and platforms that the users have used in the past such as software/apps to use a particular product or service of your concern.
Expectations of users: Details about users’ expectations on a product/service which is of your interest.
A typical template of User Persona
Creating a user/buyer persona not just helps you to convert leads better but also helps marketers as well as organisations to understand their consumers in a better way. And, as they say, if you’ve cracked the ‘buyer needs code’, you have won half the game.