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Personas business develop the right choices as they start, grow, and advertise their business

To make those decisions easier and more effective, many businesses develop personas (fictional characters that represent the business’s customers or potential customers) to help them make the right choices as they start, grow, and advertise their business.

What is a persona and how do you use one?

Success in marketing and product development comes from a deep understanding of your customers. Your ability to put yourself into the shoes of your customer, to understand their needs, wants, aspirations, work and home environments—in fact, every aspect of their lives—will drive your success. Being able to think and behave like your customers is the key to being able to communicate with them effectively.

This is why entrepreneurs are often encouraged to build businesses that solve problems that they have themselves. Clearly, it’s much easier to develop a product and design marketing campaigns when you know exactly who the customer is and how they will react to different kinds of marketing, because the customer is you. If you’re marketing to yourself and people just like you, you have a huge advantage because you know exactly how you, and your customers, will react.

But, what if your business is solving a problem that you don’t have? What if the target customer isn’t you? How do you start seeing your business through your customers’ eyes?

In marketing and product development, we can solve this problem by developing fictional characters that are highly detailed representations of your target customer base. These characters are called personas, and just like in plays and movies they need a full backstory so that you, as a business owner and entrepreneur, can fully understand their goals, motivations, and problems.

There are two commonly-used persona types: buyer (or customer) personas, and user personas. Depending on your business, you might just need one persona. The key is to not be overwhelmed with the thought of creating lots of personas and then end up creating none. Just having one persona that you design your marketing around will give you a huge advantage over many other businesses, and it’s worth the initial investment in time and research.

Buyer (or customer) personas

Buyer personas describe your ideal customer. They help you make decisions about marketing and sales processes. I’ll dig into the details of creating a buyer persona in a minute, but first, here’s a quick example of a buyer persona that you may be familiar with.

While most businesses don’t make their personas public, Subway did with their spokesman, Jared. Even though he isn’t fictional, he is still a character that represents a segment of Subway’s customers: Overweight Americans who want an easy-to-follow, affordable diet plan with lots of choices and familiar foods. The Jared buyer persona helped Subway redefine itself as a healthy place to eat, and the company reorganized its menu to highlight its low-calorie sandwich and meal options and revamped its advertising to make eating at Subway seem like a good diet plan. Much of what Subway does in its sales and marketing is driven by asking themselves the question, “Would Jared want this?”

Once you develop a solid buyer persona, that’s the question that you should be asking yourself constantly: “Would Jane (or John) like this?”

User personas

User personas are critical for companies that sell a product that is purchased by a person who is different from the person that ends up using the product or service. If your business makes its own product, you should consider developing a user persona. Here at Palo Alto Software, we have developed a persona named Garrett who drives the bulk of our product decisions.

Designers—of software, shoes, kitchen appliances, websites, and pretty much everything else—have long relied on user personas for developing products. The idea is two-fold: if you design with a certain user in mind, not only will you design a product that gives that user what they actually want and need, but you will also design a product that that user will actually buy (i.e., a product that gets you customers).

Buyer and user personas are very similar, and sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. The differences between them aren’t as important as understanding how to create a buyer (or user) persona, and how to use it to your business’s advantage.

source : http://articles.bplans.com/