What Are Personas and How Can They Help You?

Now more than ever before, we interact with our customers and potential customers online—through our website, on social media, via email or chat. These tools are mutually beneficial; customers can interact with our brand no matter where they are, and we can gather data and information on their behaviors and preferences.

As you learned in our previous blog, understanding the customer is a key step to take when evaluating a new digital solution, but this step is more than just reviewing and analyzing data.

While the depth and breadth of data that we can access provides a wealth of information to help understand our customers, it can also lead us to forget that there is a human being behind the “Place Order,” “Pay My Bill,” and “Book Now” clicks.

Forgetting the human behind the clicks can also lead us to cross the fine line from personalization helping the customer to feeling like an invasion of privacy. Our customers only want us to have their data if we use it to enable the experiences they want and need—beyond this, it can become creepy and breaks their trust.

Personas are a tool that helps bridge the gap between that data we collect and analyze and the real-life values and feelings that drive buying decisions. They are representations of what we know about the various types of humans that engage with our business that can guide our own decision making, and allow us to personalize without overstepping boundaries.

When you go about evaluating digital solutions, you can turn to your persona: someone whom you craft with a name, a face, plus goals, fears, and priorities that you imagine your actual customers may have.

View a sample persona in our latest insights report

Use Data + Personas to Create Value

If your data and analytics show you that 85% of your customers that access your product via their mobile device, this only tells part of the story.

Consider the human element of this statistic—your customers are constantly on-the-go, likely stressed, and have many priorities to juggle. You might craft a persona who has children, plus a full time job, and is hard-pressed to get everything done that they need to each day.

Based on the above information, you don’t just need to invest in a mobile app, you need to invest in technology that will ensure that the app functions smoothly and can help your customer access your product easily, so they have one less challenge to juggle.

When you make decisions about technology investments using your personas, you are able to truly empathize with your customer. You are telling your customer, “I get it. The challenge you face is difficult: here is something to help.” That sentiment is what will make the customer return to your business over and over again.

Personas function by adding context to the data and analytics that you already have about your customers—they make this data just as three-dimensional as the human being who decided to click “Buy.”

However, personas are not the only tool you need to understand your customers and make decisions for your business. You will also need journey maps, plus technology and teams in place to implement your solution.

Find out more about these tools and additional steps in our most recent insights report: Choosing the Right Digital Solution.