User Personas

What are personas?

Personas are fictional users developed to help us understand our real users better. They are a simple, yet powerful way of representing the wants/needs/preferences of a group of your target users. 

Why create personas?

Personas humanize the insights from your user research and data analysis, helping build a comprehensive picture of of who you are building for. With the right approach you recognize key themes and patterns among your audience, allowing PMMs to make better decisions

  • Informing Product and GTM decisions: Personas can be used to help Product teams understand what’s important to your users, and what they are looking to get from using your product. For PMMs, a good understanding of personas, can inform marketing strategy that resonates better with the audience you are targeting. 
  • Evoke empathy: When done right, the descriptive nature of personas allows for deeper empathy from PMs, PMMs and Designers, leading to a better understand who is using their product
  • Driving alignment: Not every team is on the front lines meeting with end users. Creating memorable, digestible user personas is a simple way to ensure teams across the company are gleaning insights about your users. 

What does a user persona look like?

Context matters when creating user personas. The level of detail you include in your persona varies if you are using it for depends on why you are using the context you are using the personas for. Generally for making GTM decisions you should include the following: 

  • Who are they – name, gender, age, job title, location, etc. The level of detail you hear varies based on the context you are using these personas for. 
  • What do they want – their goals; what they are trying to accomplish; what us stopping them from doing this today; are other outcomes dependent on this. 
  • Why do they want it – how does completing this task impact their business; why do they want to do it now. 

Remember, these user personas are not very useful if they aren’t based on real user research and insights. 

How are personas different from customer segmentations

Personas and customer segments are complementary concepts that are used to understand users. 

User segmentation is a tool to identify and group users (or prospects) who exhibit similar characteristics within a market. This can be used for opportunity sizing, targeting them with particular products, value propositions, etc… There are many ways to segment users. B2B Marketers usually segment users based on behavioral attributes, lifecycle stages of the user, industry, etc.. 

Persona on the other hand, is a tool to build empathy with a group of real users. They provide insights into user behaviors, motivations, preferences in a comprehensive manner. Personas can enrich our understanding of user segments by humanizing the users in a segment. Used together, they paint a complete picture of users that can inform product, design and marketing decisions. 

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