How can I use a persona for marketing?

When it comes to using personas for marketing, personas are most often used in targeting, i.e., selecting people who are to receive the company’s marketing messages. However, personas can also be used for copywriting – ideally, personas result in more personal ad copy texts that are better resonating with the target audience that the persona represents. Finally, personas can be used for market research, so that you segment the overall market (or customer base) not as nameless, faceless target groups but as personas with names and individualized attributes. This can improve the customer-centric decision making of your company.

How can I use a persona for UX design?

Using personas for UX design means considering the needs of the users that the persona represents to design products (e.g., websites) such that their user experience for those users is optimized. For example, a persona can be someone who is technically sophisticated, elderly or has disabilities, which means that the design needs to consider accessibility from the persona’s point of view.

Research on Personas: Personas and Scenarios as a Methodology for Information Sciences

Personas and Scenarios as a Methodology for Information Sciences is an interesting research article that describes the use of personas, along with scenarios, as a methodology common in many domains. The article than makes the case for the use of personas in information science research, which is interesting.

The article presents a quick review of the strengths and weaknesses of personas and also presents a case study of the approach.

I found the article interesting in that data-driven personas, like those developed via APG, can be great research foundations.

Full article: Singh, Vandana. Personas and Scenarios as a Methodology for Information Sciences. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, 7(1), 123-134. Available at: .

Automatic Persona Generation for Online Content Creators: Conceptual Rationale and a Research Agenda

In this perspective manuscript, my co-authors and I propose an approach of employing personas as an alternative form of making large volumes of online user analytics information useful to end users of the user and customer analytics, with results applicable in software development, business sectors, communication industry, and other domains where understanding online user behavior is deemed important.

Toward this end, we have developed a system that automatically generates data-driven Personas from social media and online analytics data, capable of handling hundreds of millions of user interactions from tens of thousands of pieces of content on YouTube, Facebook and Google Analytics, while retaining the privacy of individual users of those channels.

Our approach (1) identifies and prioritizes user segments by their online behavior, (2) associates the segments with demographic data, and (3) creates rich persona profiles by dynamically adding characteristics, such as names, photos, and descriptive quotes.

Salminen, J., Jansen, B. J., An, J., Kwak, H. and Jung, S. G. (2018) Data-driven Personas in the Age of Online Analytics and Social Media. Personas: User Focused Design. 1, 1, Article 1, 135-160.

Customer segmentation using online platforms: isolating behavioral and demographic segments for persona creation via aggregated user data

In this research, we propose a novel approach for isolating customer segments using online customer data for products that are distributed via online social media platforms. We use non-negative matrix factorization to first identify behavioral customer segments and then to identify demographic customer segments.

We employ a methodology for linking the two segments to present integrated and holistic customer segments, also known as personas. Behavioral segments are generated from customer interactions with online content. Demographic segments are generated using the gender, age, and location of these customers.

In addition to evaluating our approach, we demonstrate its practicality via a system leveraging these customer segments to automatically generate personas, which are fictional but accurate representations of each integrated behavioral and demographic segment.

Results show that this approach can accurately identify both behavioral and demographical customer segments using actual online customer data from which we can generate personas representing real groups of people.

An, J., Kwak, H., Salminen, J., Jung, S.G., and Jansen, B. J. (2018) Customer segmentation using online platforms: isolating behavioral and demographic segments for persona creation via aggregated user data, Social Network Analysis and Mining. 8(1), 54.

Research Concerning: Are Personas Done? Evaluating their usefulness in the age of digital analytics

In research led by Joni Salminen, we conceptually examine the use of personas in an age of large-scale online analytics data.

Based on the criticism and benefits outlined in prior work and by practitioners working with online data, we formulate the major arguments for and against the use of personas given real-time online analytics data about customers, analyze these arguments, and demonstrate areas for the productive employment of data-driven personas by leveraging online analytics data in their creation.

Our key tenet is that data-driven personas are located between aggregated and individual customer statistics.

At their best, digital data-driven personas capture the coverage of the customer base attributed to aggregated data representations while retaining the interpretability of individual-level analytics; they benefit from powerful computational techniques and novel data sources.

We discuss how digital data-driven personas can draw from technological advancements to remedy the notable concerns voiced by scholars and practitioners, including persona validation, inconsistency problem, and long development times.

Finally, we outline areas of future research of personas in the context of online analytics. We argue that to survive in the rapidly developing online customer analytics industry, personas must evolve by adopting new practices.

Salminen, J., Kwak, H., An, J., Jung, S.G., and Jansen, B. J. (2018) Are personas done? Evaluating their usefulness in the age of digital analytics. Persona Studies. 4, 2, 47-65.

How to use a persona?

Here are some of the many ways to use a persona:

  • Brand Discovery: Uncover how your core customers feel about your product or service and how they rationalize the purchase decision.
  • Channel and Offering Alignment: Align every piece of offerings and marketing activity to a persona and purchase stage, identifying new channels and needs where opportunities exist.
  • Communication: Personas are also great for communication among team members and across departments. Personas are GREAT for meetings! They keep folks focused on the BIG picture.
  • Content Creators: Content creators can leverage personas for the delivery of content that will be most relevant and useful to their audience. When planning for content, we might ask “Would Bridget understand this?” or “Would Bridget be attracted by this?”
  • Executives: can keep personas in mind while making strategic decisions. In fact, a persona can become a “silent member in the boardroom”.
  • Experimentation and Optimization: Carry out well-thought experiments to produce statistically significant business insights and apply the results to optimize performance.
  • Journey Mapping: Plot the stages and paths of the persona lifecycle, documenting each persona’s unique state of mind, needs, and concerns at each stage
  • Marketing: When you understand where your core customers spend their time online, you are able to focus your marketing spend on these channels.
  • Persona Discovery: Document the individuals involved in the purchase process in a way that allows decision makers to empathize with them in a consistent way.
  • Product Managers: can use the information to design a product that meets the needs or desires of core customers, and marketing can use personas to craft messages that resonate.
  • Product Offerings: Personas can be extremely helpful in product development. With the help of personas, you can more easily build the features that suit your customers’ needs. Forrester Research reports a 20% productivity improvement with teams that use personas.
  • Reporting and Feedback: Report and review data and insights to drive strategic decisions, as well as provide information to the organization as a whole.
  • Sales: Targeted offerings can help you convert more potential customers to subscribers, followers, and customers. You can also use persona description to tailor lead generation which is likely to improve your lead quality and satisfaction.