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Data-Driven Persona Book: 3 Appendices for Making Personas Actionable

We are putting the finished touches on our book, Data-Driven Personas by Bernard J. Jansen, Joni O. Salminen, Soon-Gyo Jung, and Kathleen Guan, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and University College London. Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

Data-Driven Personas, part of Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics
Data-Driven Personas, part of Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics

The book is comprised of 12 chapters (10 content chapters, plus an introduction and conclusion chapter) divided into 6 themed sections.

Plus, we are adding as a bonus, 3 appendices that practitioners (and researchers) will find valuable.

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Privacy Personas in the MENA Region: A Large-Scale Analysis of 21 Countries

Facebook privacy grantBeginning January 2021, the APG Team is leading a digital privacy project funded via a research award from Facebook. We thank the researchers at Facebook for their interest in and support of this project.
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How suitable are artificially generated facial pictures in data-driven personas?

In a previous post, we analyzed the demographic Bias in Artificially Generated Facial Pictures that raised a concern that the generated images might not fairly represent all demographic groups.

In this post, we discuss if these artificially generated pictures are good enough for use in personas profiles for real-world systems and applications,  which are highly dependent on images for the personas. One of the key aspects of generating personas using a data-driven approach is to be able to represent the persona profile with a matching picture.

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How to make sure personas are accepted in the organization?

Here’s my suggestion:

(a) Before persona creation, form “persona hypotheses” by interviewing company folks like sales people, marketers, and executives.

(b) Capture their tacit knowledge into the persona hypotheses (e.g., “our typical customer is a young woman from Helsinki that loves outdoor experiences”).

(c) Do your study. Interview customers and/or analyze quantitative data. Which of the hypotheses hold?

The point is to make the “buyer of the persona” feel like they’re part of the process. This lowers their shield when later on you come back with your findings based on real data to confirm, refute, or add to their understanding of the customer segments.

Want to see the usefulness of personas in action?

Salminen, J., Jung, S.G., Chowdhury, S. Şengün, S., and Jansen, B. J.  (2020) Personas and Analytics: A Comparative User Study of Efficiency and Effectiveness for a User Identification Task. ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’20), Honolulu, HI, USA. 25–30 April, 1-13.

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How to Create Personas – In Less Than 100 Words

1) Define target market by industry (x), country (y), and size

2) Find out the job titles (z) in these companies that make decisions about buying

3) For each of the x * y * z = n segments, locate 5-10 people to interview

4) Conduct the interviews

5) Analyze the interviews for key pain points, needs, willingness to buy

6) Based on patterns, reduce the number. For example, 12 segments can become 3 personas.

7) Give your personas name and picture. Write descriptions that include pain points, needs, and willingness to buy. Add direct quotes to support. Done.

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“How does a founder go about creating buyer personas for a start-up content marketing agency?”

Quora question: “How does a founder go about creating buyer personas for a start-up content marketing agency?”

My answer below.

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How to Create a Buyer Persona with the HubSpot Persona Tool

This post is co-authored with Noor-ul-Anam Ruqayya, a Software engineering graduate from the University of Karachi. Noor is currently working as a content writer and digital marketer.

What Are Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas, also known as marketing personas, can be defined as a general profile of your typical (or ideal) consumer. 

Buyer personas are based on real data collected through market research or extracted from a customer database, for example, CRM (Customer Relationship  Management) or Google Analytics.

In simple words, personas combine research-based data and educated guesses about your clients. 

Among the three major types of business personas (user persona, buyer persona, and website persona), a buyer persona is the most popular. Its popularity stems from the fact that it helps marketers empathize with the customer and see them as more than cold data.  

In this article, we will explain the step-by-step process to create buyer personas using HubSpot’s ‘Make my Persona’ tool. We’ll also discuss buyer personas in more detail and why they’re important in devising an inbound strategy