One big mistake startups can make in the very beginning – not developing a deep understanding of the customer. They make a lot of assumptions based on pure intuition and aim at the wrong target. In this article, I am going to touch upon the customer persona, what it is and how to use it.
Customer persona – is a semi-fictional character that represents key characteristics of your target audience. Most importantly, it’s based on collected data – either from user research or web analytics.
Typically, a customer persona consists of the following elements:
- Name of persona (give it a name!)
- Job title
- Demographics: age, gender, salary, education, family
- Typical behaviors: where to find her or him
- Goals & needs
Specifically, in goals and needs, you write down what the customer’s goals are and how to achieve them. Moreover, you describe the challenges your customer faces and how your product helps to complete them. You can start with the following example:
- Name: John Smith
- Job title: Marketing head
- Demographics: 35, MBA, married
- Loyal to brands which provide great service
- Goals: demand and lead generation
- Challenges: organizational changes, technology overload, needs reports to show CEO
How to make it right
As has been noted, you create your customer persona from the real data using one of the following proven techniques:
- Customer surveys
- Phone and in-person interviews
- Web and exit surveys (for example, Google Forms)
- Web analytics data
If you back up to web analytics data, you can use advanced segments in Google Analytics to split your customers by purchase rate, page flow or devices used. Besides that, it might be useful to analyze the network report to get rid of bot or other useless traffic sources. Last but not least, site search insights is a great way to learn more about your audience.
How to use it
Once built, the customer persona can be used to:
- Distill large markets into a single persona that your entire team can understand
- Create a customer-centric vision as you give a human face to customer groups and build your product around it
- Guide product development
Basically, you match new product ideas to specific customer personas. After that, you prioritize which product features you invest in first. If you do customer development, you classify the customer feedback by persona. Finally, knowing the customer persona helps to resolve disagreements within your team. For example, everyone can agree that it’s a waste of time to develop a feature that doesn’t fit any of your customer personas.