Researching and crafting audience personas can be a fun and exciting process. You get to uncover the needs, preferences and behaviors of your customer base, and put a face and name to each customer type. And you know the team is hooked when you hear the words, “Yes, but how would Brad/Mary/Peter/Susan make that decision?”
But when the Personas have been compiled into a beautiful deck, complete with profiles, pictures and user pathways, where (other than onto the refrigerator) do they go?
Take Your Personas Off the Fridge and Put Them to Work
In a recent survey that we conducted, while 53% of marketers we spoke to said they had defined user Personas, only 13% of them said that they believed their Personas were making a significant impact on marketing success. The Buyer Persona Institute concurs. They found that interest in buyer personas is growing, but the percentage of marketers who are using them effectively is not (only 15%, according to their research).
Some of this rests on the Personas themselves, and the research that went into building them. Not all Personas turn out to be completely accurate reflections of your audience types, and not all behaviors identified in research are indicative of a specific Persona. Even if you can spend months and thousands on conducting deep audience research, the information is only as good as the input you get at the time of collection. At DEFT, we think that your first Persona versions should not be your last. Revisiting and refining them based on real user or audience interaction is an essential part of the process. Be thorough upfront, but before you spend too much on that slick deck, leave some room for evolution and improvement.
Perhaps more concerning than the Personas themselves is the fact that marketers find it difficult to connect the dots between those Personas and the work they are doing, whether that includes designing experiences, creating content or building sophisticated personalization models.
Personas can be used to inform a number of activities, including:
- Content planning and voice & tone definition
- Content evaluation and ROI assessment
- Personalization and targeting
- CRM categorization and integration
- Defining an enterprise taxonomy
- Development of sales enablement tools
- Establishing KPI’s and defining success metrics
- Customer service touchpoint mapping
- On-boarding and training new employees
- Recruitment for user research
- Informing digital experience and ecosystem optimization
The key to success, however, is being able to connect your personas to these specific activities. It’s the missing link between those beautiful masterpieces and the impact they can have on your marketing efforts. The good news is, all this is possible, with just a little extra work. Using tools like content and experience heatmaps, attribute matrices and touchpoint maps, you can effectively put your Personas to work. In addition, this gives you the opportunity to map data back from real experiences to the original Personas, so they can be refined. To learn more about how we do this at VERSED, or to schedule a customized Persona mapping workshop, hit up HERE.