When marketing a product, any kind of product, it is vital to know who your customer is. This is even more true when it comes to software or other tech products.

We’ve published an article about Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and one about the need to have the product address an actual problem. Now the turn has come to an important marketing tool; personas.

We all do segmentation, that is dividing people into different segments based on statistical traits such as gender, age, occupation, etc. This is of course the base of everything else when it comes to understanding the customer. Today it is also very common (and wisely so) to create different target personas. Essentially, this means creating a fictitious person with generalized interests and personality traits and then create content and direct ads to cater to the persona. At the very least three distinct personas are needed to get a wide enough spectrum to communicate with. We can create as many as we feel are needed.

In order to create personas we need to have an idea about a number of things.

What is the job role/title? What are the core competences needed for the role? What tools are involved in the job and what does a typical day look like? What is the roles place in the organisation?

This might seem like a lot of questions to answer (and more are coming below), but remember we’re starting off with educated guesses and refine them as we accumulate data. The creation and refining of personas need to be a continous process, starting with educated guesses, moving on through looking at the competitions user base, and finally accumulation of customer data.

It’s not only the job role of the persona that’s important. We also need to have an idea about goals, responsibilities and what success is for the particular persona. Other questions to ponder are what challenges the persona faces, what the company looks like (size, industry, vertical), the personal background of the persona (age, family, education) and where we might find and meet the persona.

If we have a clear idea on these factors, we have painted an image of a person we can direct our content to. Which makes the marketing process not only easier but also more effective.

To sum up, personas knowledge needed:

  • Job role
  • Company information
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Personal background
  • “Meeting places”

Does the task of creating personas seem daunting? Don’t worry, it’s a tool and we can’t have all information from the start. We just draw the outlines from what we know, combined with educated guesses. And then we refine. And refine some more. Over time, we will know the customer types quite well.

There are many places to find out more about creating personas. Hubspot is one of them and Usability another. Both are useful, even though they’re biased towards their own products. Also, we’ll probably have reason to return to the subject here in the Starcounter blog.