persona development relies data real people

Many marketing researchers never step away from their computers. It’s understandable: Computers are our comfort zone. Plus, they’re essential for mining and mapping the data that tell us clicks per page, time on a page, pathways to a page — in other words, what a user does. But to develop a persona, you have to know who a user is deep down inside.

So go ahead and glean what you can from data analysis. Your users will naturally fall into categories such as shoppers, researchers, possible clients, etc. Take your largest or your most important categories and list for each one:

  • What do you think the person wants to do on the site?
  • What does the person actually do on the site?
  • What technical platform is the user working from?
  • About how long does the person stay on a page or on the site?

When you put this data together, you’ll know what the person does. More importantly, you’ll have some clues as to who this person is. Next, put together likely personas:

Let’s say one of your largest groups is shoppers who are women. These are professional people who dress well, work out, and have children. Some bargain-hunt while others pay full-price for just the right outfit for herself or her kids.

Zero in on a couple of these individuals. Go on to surmise other details about these developing personas, such as age, education level, and comfort with technology. Go ahead and give names to two or three personas.

So far, all this work — valuable as it is — has taken place in an office, right? Now it’s time to push back your chair and head out into the world (or use focus group services to bring the world to you) to find Real People who resemble your data-driven personas. Go to offices, recruit folks on the phone, but get real people for the next step.

Ask your real people these questions:

  • Why do you come to our site?
  • What do you expect to do there?
  • How well does the site meet your needs?
  • How would you like the site to change?
  • What’s your real job, age, education level, etc.?

Your rough-draft personas will soon have flesh and bones. You’ll know them so well that you can answer their questions before they ask. Wait … they won’t ask, will they? They’re not real, are they? They just seem that way because after you worked your data, you moved out of your comfort zone so real people could help you flesh out powerful personas who are all but real.

Sound a little intimidating? No worries! We’re with you every step of the way. And we can’t wait to meet your personas.

To talk more about these methods, please contact us.