Understanding Personas, Marketing's Secret Tool

Joel Schroeder

And despite the overflow of data available to marketers today, some still struggle with identifying who you are.

In her blog post, Principal Marketing Manager for HubSpot's optimization team Pamela Vaughan defines personas as fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

Taryn Collins, content manager and Web editor for cloud platform Acquia, points out that personas are representations of real customers while segments are groups of actual customers that share similar traits.

In a blog post, Gartner's VP of Content Publishing Heather Pemberton Levy writes that personas are built from a combination of the following data points:

Demographic income, geography, level of education, age

Psychographic values, opinions, interests, aspirations, attitudes, and lifestyles

Ethnographic observations of customers in their daily routines

Transactional historical customer relationship data, first- and third-party purchase data, post-sale services

Behavioral: engagement across channels

Buffer Content Crafter Kevan Lee also encourages marketers to check their site analytics for traffic trends; do some social listening to see what problems or concerns customers are talking about; conduct surveys to learn about customers' goals, values, and pain points; and collect feedback from other departments, like customer service.

Once marketers obtain this information, Lee says they should stitch it together to bring the persona to life.

There's no perfect number of personas one needs to create, but Levy says four to eight is typical.

Joel Schroeder
Zupyak is a free content platform for publishing and discovering stories, software and startups.