Customer Personas

Customer personas are developed by our digital marketing consultants to represent typical customer archetypes who are “brought to life” for marketing strategy development.  These fictional representations provide a mental model of various customer groups: who they are, what motivates them and causes them to engage – or not engage with – your brand.

Customer persona research is rooted in customer segmentation and a variety of market research methods can be used in creating personas, including in-depth interviews, focus groups, ethnographic research and website analytics.  Quantitative research (via online surveys) can also be used to validate hypotheses and confirm the segments.

Here are typical steps our strategic marketing consultants use in creating customer personas:

Customer persona research and development steps

  • Step 1: Gather and assess customer journey persona data through internal interviews, workshops, existing research and plans. In this step, initial hypotheses (which may include 3 – 7 segments) will be formed, to be proved or disproved in subsequent project steps

  • Step 2:  Test and confirm initial persona hypotheses through additional research.   During this step, a more robust picture of personas should emerge, considering demographics, attitudinal and behavioral input.  It’s often useful during this phase to think about real people you may know. Can you “find” this individual in one of the core personas you’ve identified?
  • Step 3: Build out the personas to paint a mental model of individuals represented. The deliverable is a persona bio representing a segment of the data, complete with name, image and written description of all accompanying detail that incorporates the segment they represent. The end result is a set of distinct segments for each persona with detailed information on each segment’s goals, behaviors, pressure points and influencers. Persona model management should be on-going to and reflect continuous learning.

  • Step 4:  Prioritize the personas for marketing strategy development.  Because organizations have limited resources, it will be necessary to “place your bets” by selecting targets.   More information on target selection is available here

Customer persona research provides a common framework for synthesizing and understanding rich customer data that can then be shared across the organization.

Sales, marketing, product development and customer service can understand and appreciate the concept of serving a particular customer archetype. Distilling data into personas can help inform and focus the organization in delivering on customer needs.

One issue to consider is the role of customer segmentation vs persona development. Persona development typically begins with collecting information about your users to identify behavioral patterns followed by qualitative research in painting a mental picture of a single user. Segmentation development usually involves quantitative survey methods and statistical modeling to profile and size larger groups.

Of course, you can combine both approaches for deeper customer insight — there’s no need to pick and choose.

Related Service Offerings

  • Customer journey maps show how current and potential customers interact with the category and brand

  • Customer touchpoints identify which opportunities exist along the journey to improve the customer experience


Contact Us

Learn more about buyer personas and related service offerings.

Buyer persona development draws on the same key principles of market segmentation. As a leading marketing consulting firm, we develop buyer personas to direct marketing strategy and plan development.
Contact Us