Personas 101

You probably already have some idea of the different groups who buy your products or services. You may even use them in your marketing already. But if you aren’t entirely sure what this issue is all about, here’s a cheat sheet of what generally makes up a persona and some ways they can be used.


Personas are used to identify key pain points and buying factors of target audiences.

Female customer Typical Persona Components:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Income
  • Lifestyle data
  • Why do they want the product?
  • How do they use the product?
  • What makes them choose a specific purchase?


Personas are used to define needs, buying processes and the individuals’ role in them.

2 businessmenTypical Persona Components:

  • Company size
  • Company Industry
  • Company Revenue
  • Individual Goals
  • Individual Challenges
  • Individual role in the purchasing process

Tell their story: A persona should be more than just a collection of attributes.

It’s important to empathize with the customers they represent. Sketch out a brief story of who they are, what’s on their minds and their journey to buying your product (or deciding not to buy your product).

5 Ways to Use Personas

  1. Run them against your customer database to identify the personas that are most profitable, adjust your investments according to the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule).
  2. Target content to each stage of their buyer journeys.
  3. Qualify leads by persona and develop a specific
    nurturing plan for each one.
  4. Develop marketing creative, automation algorithms and triggers customized to each persona.
  5. Tailor offers to their key motivators (price-based to bargain shopper personas, value-added to quality shoppers, etc.).

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.