Today’s consumers are demanding more from companies. Customers anticipate products, services, and information that are timely and catered to their specific needs and desires. Traditionally, companies develop and market products based on market segmentation and demographics. They assume the features, functionality and messaging will meet the needs of all of the customers in that demographic. But the marketplace sometimes shifts from mass manufacturing to a mass customization model. That’s why great user research services can more accurately identify customers’ needs and desires through personas rather than through demographic data.
A persona represents a group of users who have similar behavioral patterns in their purchasing decisions, use of technology or products, customer service preferences, and lifestyle choices, etc. Behaviors, and attitudes are common to a “type” regardless of age, gender, education, and other typical demographics. In fact, personas vastly span demographics.
Also, Read | Understanding User Persona For Optimized UX
Customer personas offer tremendous value and insight to your organization. For instance, they assist everyone on your team in the following ways:
As a result, businesses are better equipped to serve customers and deliver a superior experience, keeping them coming back for more. So it’s essential to nail down your customer personas otherwise every aspect of your product development process, user experience, and marketing campaigns will suffer.
UX researchers build personas by first conducting one-on-one interviews with a wide demographic of the targeted audiences. Patterns they gathered in the data from the interviews begin to show after approximately 30 interviews for a typical project focused on one brand or product.
These interviews work perfectly if conducted in-context, such as the respondent’s home or place of work. This way, ethnographic research techniques may be employed to gather information about the users’ environments. It provides insight into their behaviors, motivations, and attitudes that may not otherwise be discovered in a survey, focus group, or one-on-one interview in a market research facility. Generally, the researcher begins with a broad conversation that ultimately narrows in on the use of specific products or services.
An analysis is then conducted on the research data over the course of one to two weeks. The researchers recognize extremes in user behavior and group similar respondents together. Patterns of behavior showcases each user type and provide a clear understanding of how they relate to each other within the extremes.
From here, it’s essential to launch another round of research. This time, we do the recruiting according to the behavior and motivation criteria that represent each user type, rather than by the demographic criteria used in the first round. To see the patterns of behavior, recruiting five to seven respondents per persona is sufficient. Recruiting additional users may offer some additional insights, but rarely enough to justify the cost. It’s possible to conduct these interviews in a market research facility, or even online; however, qualitative data and observations are always more robust when gathered in context.
This phase of research validates the persona characteristics and fills in any gaps from the first round of research. More importantly, this is an opportunity to ask specific behavioral questions to better understand how personas relate to products and messaging. This gets valuable information on how to customize the user experience to specific types of people based on their attitudes, behaviors, and motivations, regardless of demographic information.
For a product manager, UX designer, or marketer, customer personas can assist in developing a deeper understanding of:
Just remember that your personas are only as good as the data-driven research that goes into them. They should be based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collected from multiple sources—not from the opinions and assumptions of your team.
The most important piece of advice to remember when creating personas is to never box in your user. They’re multi-faceted, emotional human beings who believe that you’re worthy enough of their time. Treat them as sacred.
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