by Kerry Juhl
Consumer Personas are a great tool for bringing your consumer target to life for your organization, to inspire growth ideas, new brand experiences and product innovation. It is a representation of your target segment based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. It summarizes your consumers’ lifestyle, values, needs, challenges, and preferences, so that it can be easily shared and digested across the organization.
At a high level, here is SIVO’s guide on how to build consumer personas:
- Collect quantitative data via consumer segmentation: Start by identifying the market your product plays in and divide this universe into consumer groups that have similar characteristics, such as demographics, psychographics, and behavioral patterns.
- Identify patterns within the segment: Analyze the segments to identify common patterns, trends, and preferences among the different groups. Look for insights that can help you understand their interests, pain points, and buying behaviors. At this point, teams can narrow their focus by choosing one or a few consumer segments that are most likely to need and have the potential means to purchase the product or service that you offer.
- Dig deeper with qualitative research: Once the consumer segments have been identified, conduct qualitative research, to delve deeper into the consumer mindset and better understand what makes them unique and relevant to the business. Using techniques such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, in-store shop-alongs, or in-home ethnographic research, you can uncover the underlying motivations, emotions and values that drive consumer behaviors and purchase decisions. This deepens the teams’ empathy and intuition about the consumer segments.
- Create consumer personas: Develop distinct personas that represent key segments that are important and relevant to your business. The personas should not portray one specific consumer but should be a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer within a segment. Overall, the persona should include a name, age, job, hobbies, mindset, goals, challenges, and a brief back story. Note: Psychographics, goals and purchase motivations are most important in understanding what problems the persona has that your company can solve.
Building your Consumer Personas
Key information that should be considered when building consumer personas includes:
- Demographics: Age, gender, location, marital status, education, income
- Psychographics: Interests, values, attitudes, lifestyle, personality traits
- Goals and Motivations: What they aim to achieve, what drives their decision-making
- Pain Points and Challenges: Obstacles they face, problems they want to solve that are related to your market
- Buying Behavior: Where and how they shop, preferred channels, factors influencing purchase decisions, in relation to your industry or category
- Media preferences: Preferred media channels, social media usage, favorite websites, online communities
Making Consumer Personas Interesting
The goal is to bring the consumer to life in an interesting and inspirational way. This information needs to be interesting and easy to read so that it gets internalized by the organization. Here are a few tips:
Keep it Brief: A good persona should be 1 to 3 pages in length. Ideally, there would be a 1-page summary and if needed, 1 to 2 follow-up pages with actionable details and insights.
Use Visuals: A persona should be visually interesting. Use photos, graphics, or infographics to bring the consumer persona to life and make them feel more tangible and relatable to your team.
Use Narratives and Quotes: Storytelling is an important part of building your persona. Use the data to create a short 1-paragraph narrative that describes the consumer persona – who they are, what they need, and their underlying motivations.
Include a Key Consumer Insight: It is important to include a one-sentence insight that describes the underlying motivation that would make them potentially interested in buying your product or service.
With the data summarized and visualized into clear and succinct personas, it is easy to understand and empathize with your consumer target, i.e., the segment of consumers that will inspire your growth ideas, marketing communications, promotions, distribution plans and new product innovation. Your team can now tailor brand messaging, content, and product offerings to align with the needs and preferences of key consumer targets. It is also easy to socialize the learning across the organization and agency partners in an efficient and effective way.
Maintaining Relevance of Consumer Personas
Consumer personas are foundational marketing and insights deliverables that will inspire your teams’ growth ideas and guide your agency partners for years. For this reason, you need to invest in ongoing maintenance to ensure continued relevance to your organization. Depending on the volatility and competitive dynamics within your market, you will want to:
The success of your consumer persona profiles depends on the quality of your research, the depth of your understanding and getting it to land within your organization and with agency partners. Regularly leveraging the personas while also iterating and improving upon them will help you stay in tune with your consumers and maintain a competitive advantage in the market.
Your Source for Expert Customer Insights
At SIVO Inc., we are dedicated to helping our clients understand their consumer targets by designing and executing consumer segmentations, following up with qualitative research and building consumer personas. We can then facilitate activation sessions with your team to develop action plans and strategies that leverage these insights.