Posted by Amanda

Before any organization can begin any advertising efforts, it must be determined to whom they are attempting to reach.  It is crucial to the success of any business to have some insight into the lives of the people buying their products.  One effective way to accomplish this task is through personas.


Linda Bustos posted this after she talked to Laura Ballay, User Experience Manager, Elastic Path.  She further defines personas and explains ways in which they are used.  She says that personas are fictional characters based on actual observed behaviors of real users.  Check out their video below.

What a persona is not

A persona is not a demographic profile, a market segment or a summation of survey data. Rather, a persona is a combination of data modeled from ethnographic and behavioral user research, as well as narrative. The term persona often gets clumped together with market research (surveys, focus groups, etc), and though they are not the same thing, market research can certainly complement persona studies. (Personas 101)

ethnography DEFINED

Ethnography observes the world from the point of view of the subject (not the participant ethnographer) and records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations using concepts that avoid casual explanations. (Wikipedia)

The use of personas helps to specify the target audience.  If the audience is too broad, one risks missing the target altogether.  As stated in our textbook:

Book Quote



This post by Hamzah Qutub about B2B buyer personas lists 5 essential elements:

  • Role and Responsibilities : The first step to make a buyer persona is to identify your ideal customer by the role and responsibilities she has.
  • Business Goals: What are their business goals and what they are expected to achieve for their organization?
  • Profile: How old is your target buyer persona? What is their role in their organization, how much financial decision making authority they have?
  • Problems they face: What kind of problems they face in their life? This is one of the most important parts of creating a buyer persona and if you nail this right then you’ve won half of the battle.
  • How they measure success: Their definition of success is very important. Your marketing message must be delivered to them in such a way so that they see a direct co-relation between their own success and your product/service.

I think the concept of the persona is a lot more beneficial than simply using demographic information.  Demographics only provide “on paper” details about consumers and can have minimal influence on daily life.  Empirical data is the best way to get to know how people live.



Here is Elastic Path‘s video about personas:

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