Entries Tagged 'Personas' ↓

Persona Template and Lessons Learned

We have been creating and reviewing buyer personas this week. Always an educational experience to write in the context and language of the buyer. I made a comment on twitter about it being “A great day thinking about buyer personas” and received lots of good feedback with respect to keeping them simple, but understandable, real and believable, and focusing on the goals and attributes versus challenges and concerns.

So far our template has the following attributes: Name, Title, Age/Education, Reports To, Years in the Job, Buyer Influence (i.e. Type), Profile, and Challenges (i.e. typical concerns).

I thought I would open it up to a larger audience to see if you have any additional feedback or lessons.




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brainmates: Characters at Work

brainmates Anyone who is a regular reader knows that I am a big champion of personas. brainmates, have crafted a white paper on personas. Enjoy!
White Paper – Personas: Characters at Work
SlideShare – Personas: Characters at Work



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November… already? And Random Bits

Next thing you know it has been 23 days since your last post. Oddly my subscribers have risen. Thanks for reading! There is lots going on in my life and reading and writing has sadly slipped below my capacity to process. I am hopeful that will change in November, but my travel schedule for the month is already pretty full. We shall see. Generally when I am lost for blog ideas I have a book review to do, but the current book (How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer) is a bit heavy and proving to be a slow read. The upside, I am learning lots about brain activity.

Random Bits:

1. I want to acknowledge a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago about authority vs. influence. His premise was that authority doesn’t exist. Authority alone is not enough to lead and that even in a position of leadership influence will still rule the day. I agree.

2. Regarding personas, I continue to see them not being used. You will lose the battle without them. Also try your best to ignore this post, except for the comments.

3. Regarding vision, I continue to see either no vision or poorly defined visions. You will lose the battle without a vision, largely because it is the key component to strategy. No vision, no strategy. Here is a good blog on product visions.

4. The price of your product is determined by the value it provides, not the cost.

5. Please visit my list of product management events. It is the most comprehensive list of events targeted towards product managers anywhere.

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Persona Resources

PersonasLast week I pondered whether working with personas was a strategic activity. It is. And according to the statistics, personas are more common than what I am seeing in real life. The most recent Product Management and Marketing survey from Pragmatic Marketing shows that 35% of respondents have buyer personas and 56% have user personas. I think those numbers are high based on who I am talking to and despite what the survey says this is an area where we can do better.


I think persona activities are a lot like win/loss analysis and that it is a key activity for two reasons, product and sales improvements and career development. And also like win/loss the important thing to remember, you do not have to tackle this alone. There are organizations dedicated to helping you specifically with persona development and there is technology to help you keep it organized. And the vendors will help you get executive support for your persona projects.


To assist you in your persona development activities, I have compiled a list of resources. Does anyone have any other bits and pieces that they thought were useful in helping them with their personas? Specifically I am looking for a persona template.


Blogs:

Blog Posts:

Webinars:

Articles:


Image Source: Talking Identity

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How can personas help me be strategic?

The Soccer Mom MythPersonas are great and we all know we need to write them and we generally know who our personas are. But, most don’t write them down or communicate them in any form. Different story for a different day.

Just to quickly review some persona basics, there are typically three persona types including user, buyer and technical. If you were to begin to document a persona, and I would recommend keeping it simple to start, start by identifying some basic attributes that will begin to draw a picture of who they are. This will typically include an average age, gender, summary of computing skills, applicable market segment and most importantly a name. Most will include a typical title for this persona however I am reluctant to do so unless titles in the market segment are well defined and consistent. Can I stress how important the name is over a title? Feel free to include any other demographic attributes that will help people frame a common perspective on the persona. The second step is to build out some details on what their background is, what a typical day for them looks like and how they interact with your product. The latter point will only be relevant to user personas, but you will want to identify problems that your technical and economic buyers are dealing with.

Constructing the ideal set of personas will be time consuming effort, but it can be built up and out over time. However it is something you will want to tackle sooner rather than later and may want to think about outsourcing the activity to eliminate your own perceptions from the process.

So is persona development a strategic activity?

In a previous post (Harvard Business Publishing on Strategy), that I wrote back in January and refer to continuously, it states that for your strategy to be complete it must be aligned with your vision, mission and value network. Within the context of this post, I want to key-in on the value network. Your value network is defined by the relationships between you and your suppliers, customers, employees, and investors that will combine to either create or capture value.

So how do we tie this back to strategy?

Easy. Much in the same way we test our individual activities against whether they are roadmap supporting (by asking “why?”), we can test our activities and data points against which persona will receive value (by asking “for who?”). Without personas, in the context of your value network your strategy will be undefined in the same way as it would be if you are not able to articulate your vision.


Image Source: thesoccermommyth.com

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