Building a successful product means always keeping its users in mind – existing or potential. You don’t want to invest your limited resources into developing features that customers don’t really need. Product decisions driven by a HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion), rather than continuous discovery and research, rarely lead to quick RoI and satisfied customers. Knowing your customers, understanding their needs and finding the best way to help them achieve their goals, on the other hand, can produce more favourable business outcomes.
How can you find out what your customers and prospects need, like or dislike? There are plenty of ways to discover that, and one of them is to simply ask. The more prospects and customers you talk to, the more “needs” you uncover, developing a more value-orientated view of your ideal customer profiles. That’s when Persona profiles come into play.
A Persona is an overview of a specific segment within your target audience. It unifies all critical attributes that you need to consider while creating your product in one fictitious person. And while it’s not actually real, it’s intended to be as realistic as possible so that you can visualise them in your mind and relate your product decisions to them along the way.
Building a Persona profile assumes that you have a decent understanding of your customers and can further dive into details. During the profile building exercise, you will find opportunities for additional research to fill in the gaps. That’s how your Persona gains real-life characteristics and becomes a solid basis for decision-making.
Thinking about some (or all) of your prospects and customers when making product decisions can be overwhelming, as you’d need to consider too many factors at once. Your prospects and customers can be people from different countries, have different job roles and income levels, etc. They will certainly give you some ideas about strategy, however, when it comes to making a specific product decision, a Persona profile is what makes a difference. You may use it as a litmus test: take your decision hypothetically and relate it only to this fictitious persona. Does it relate to them as a valuable proposition?
Simply keeping your Persona in mind can prevent you from deviating in a wrong direction. You don’t always need to consult with the profile, but keeping your persona in mind at all times moulds your customer-centric vision. A Persona profile is a great way to remain empathetic and objective at the same time. You don’t put the desires of only one of your customers above others, but instead you try to satisfy the core needs shared among an entire group of your users.
Just like any human, a persona has a name and physical appearance, job role, certain levels of income and education. The core elements of a profile would be similar for any product. However, personas for different businesses could be built in different ways.
To create a profile specifically for your business area, you’d need to look from an angle that would allow you to relate personae to your specific product. Simply, think about reasons why a person would actually be interested in your product in the first place. Is it mainly because of their industry, job role, age, income, or is it because of the needs shared by different people regardless of their demographic characteristics? Perhaps a combination of both?
For example, a parental control app for iPhone would target a specific age group: kids under 18 and their parents, whose age can vary. In this case, you can distinguish between user personas (children) and buyer personas (parents or guardians) to identify and address their needs by creating separate personae. You might also want to create multiple user persona profiles based on age groups. For example, a nine-year-old child and a teenager who is 14 will have different needs. At the same time, you may create just one buyer (parent or guardian) persona profile as, regardless of their age, all parents using this product will have the same need: protecting their children’s privacy and safety online.
Build profiles around the core needs and relevant demographic characteristics and add further relevant details on top. To help you build your persona profiles, we’ve created a free template, which will guide you in your product quest. Consider using Canva to create your own asset based on the details we provide.
If you struggle to understand your customers needs and want to make your product more customer-centric, do not hesitate to contact us. At Fractional Teams, we can identify and create multiple persona profiles for your product and even work with you on roadmaps, so that you can deliver products and services your customers (and shareholders) love.
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