Creating personas is extremely useful in helping businesses understand their customers better, as well as giving them a shared view of customers across the organisation.
So, it’s well worth spending time doing research and gathering as much information as possible about your customers.
Here are some practical steps on how to create global personas:
Define how the personas will be used
Start by considering how this information will be used – and by who. This will help define your research plan. Mock up a template with all the information that you want to make available about each persona, and ensure all data points are relevant to the different teams in your organisation, as this can help to drive customer centricity.
Understand what information is already available
This will help to identify the gaps you need to fill with your research. For example, you probably already have transactional data, which can be used to see your customers’ behaviour and offer information around demographics.
So don’t ask customers for the information you already have; instead focus more on the information you don’t have. For example, you may not know what their motivation behind using your service is, what’s important to them, or what would make their experience memorable.
Define your research methodology
Decide what the best combination of research for your business is. I like to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative research.
A survey can give you a large and statistically significant sample and you can incentivise customers to boost response rate. For global businesses, online studies are a great option for qualitative research, as they can be done anywhere in the world. There are also other options like phone interviews, focus groups, etc.
A cluster analysis of the data collected can help to identify groups with similar characteristics and therefore uncover your customer personas. The idea is that your customers are grouped depending on the characteristics, motivations, or behaviours they have in common.
You can ask one of your data analysts to help with this analysis. For example, we were able to identify a group of customers who are postgrad students and have a part-time job. Their needs and behaviours are completely different to our older customers.
Once the personas are defined and you have the information around each one of them, you can start crafting their story. Decide what marketing assets will be useful for the different teams and get a graphic designer to illustrate your personas and the data points available.
In the past I’ve used a combination of brochures and posters for meeting rooms, as well as supplying a digital version of the brochure that can be easily distributed. But there are different options depending on your teams’ needs.
Get creative and get people involved in naming your personas. You can present at a company-wide team meeting and organise a launch party. It’s important to share this information with everyone in the business and create momentum.
Help your colleagues to discover areas where the personas can be used, by facilitating some sessions with different teams. Also, ensure the personas are added to the training programme for new starters.
It takes time to create data-backed personas, but they can be a very powerful tool. Not only can they help optimise your marketing efforts, but they also help give every team in your organisation a shared view of the customer – and this will contribute to building a more customer-centric culture.
The more we know our customers, the more we can offer them a personalised experience in addition to product and services they really want and need.