How to Create Customer Personas That Really Mean Something

Personal.jpgCustomer personas are great tools for guiding strategy and execution so brands can deliver more relevant, tailored messages to their audiences. These profiles serve as shorthand for describing the kinds of people you’re trying to reach with your product, service or content.

Although the concept of customer personas has been around for a while, today’s marketers are updating the way they develop and apply personas to fit the way brands need to interact with audiences in a customer-centric environment. At the same time, they’re working to dispel the notion among some of their been-there/tried-that colleagues that buyer personas are the result of guesswork and aren’t worth the time and effort needed to create them.

Yes, personas are still relevant and important for connecting with your target audience and for creating great customer experiences. But there’s a way of doing personas right, and it involves going beyond simple demographics to understand customers at a much deeper level.

Customers change, market conditions change, and your own products and business strategy change. You’ve got to keep personas fresh and up to date, as well. Revisit them every time you create a new piece of content and validate that your personas still make sense and serve your needs. It’s also important to stay in touch with real customers.

Stewart Applbaum is the SVP and GM of Atlanta, Ga.-based Infor, an enterprise CRM software provider.