- Personas are fictional representations of segments of your buyers. This allows you to understand who they are, what they are trying to accomplish and what influences their buying decisions.
- For a detailed description of what personas are and how they can help you, listen to Episode 3 or read the blog, Personas: The Great Brand Unifier.
- Personas are usually separated as B2B or B2C. Download our free B2B or B2C template as a reference.
- Personas create a shared vocabulary in the organization and targets your media and content.
Information for personas is pulled from a lot of different places. (For reference, read 9 Research Ideas for Creating Data-Driven Personas, 8 Underexplored Areas of LinkedIn For Persona Research and How To Use Facebook To Research Buyer Personas.)
8 sources for buyer persona research:
- Institutional knowledge – sales & customer service teams, or anyone who interacts with customers.
- Social media profiles – LinkedIn is one of the strongest tools to use for B2B persona research. Twitter is effective for both B2B and B2C. Facebook has a greater B2C focus.
- Trade publications & business media – Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Inc., etc. articles related to the persona’s pain points, aspirations, “day in the life,” frustrations and trending topics.
- Web & social analytics – dig dipper into Google Analytics and Facebook analytics to learn more about your segmented audiences.
- Social communities – places like Quora and Reddit help you search or pose questions to get first-hand feedback from your target.
- Social listening – tools that help aggregate information across social networks. For reference, check out the Marketing Smarts podcast on social listening.
- Secondary Research – reference studies, reports and databases put out by government industries, commercial groups, agencies etc. These reports provide first-hand research and require no investment.
- Primary Research – if secondary research is not available, invest in a survey or study.
Keys to Success:
• Understand bias and the source of information
• Have a diversity of research sources
• Know that you won’t have all the answers
Steps of Persona Research
- Conduct preliminary research before meeting with internal teams to make sure you have enough information to facilitate that group conversation.
- Have discovery meeting with internal teams to discuss personas.
- With buy-in from internal teams, begin thorough persona research with tools.
- Once research is done, do analysis of your research to recognize patterns and identify if any personas need to be split into two.
- Create draft persona with a name and picture. Call internal teams together to refine the draft.
Make any tweaks from refinement meeting and publish and share final persona – but keep in mind it’s a living document. The more you use it, the more you may find out it’s wrong. Have process in place to continuously improve the persona.
Charity of the Week:
Salvation Army Echelon
We hope you want to join us on our journey. Find us on IterativeMarketing.net, the hub for the methodology and community. Email us at [email protected], follow us on twitter at @iter8ive or join The Iterative Marketing Community LinkedIn group.
The Iterative Marketing Podcast is a production of Brilliant Metrics, a consultancy helping brands and agencies rid the world of marketing waste.
Producer: Heather Ohlman
Transcription: Reena Venkata
Music: SeaStock Audio
Onward and upward!