Because personas are distinguishable and mutually exclusive, they can be further prioritized using weights that are driven from your business goals to help the organization focus on the most important personas. Personas can help you make decisions across your business-targeting online marketing campaigns, prioritizing IT project lists, modeling customer acquisition, and acting as a creative lens for designing and building brand communications. They are also a proven tool in the experience design process as they fuel information architecture, user interface design, content creation, use cases and metrics reporting. Personas also can be used to fuel strategic work-translating brand models, informing feature road maps or influencing platform decisions.
Personas are an invaluable tool to build consensus within the decision process-but they will not provide answers on their own. They help prevent brands from talking to themselves or wasting time and dollars implementing features that are simply popular. Personas can unlock actionable insights that help brands stay relevant, so it is important to revisit them and update them as your brand makes significant change or the industry experiences a major shift.
If you have customers, then you should have personas. Personas 1.0 are a great start. If you want to understand the dynamic of the social Web and mine opportunities for buzz, word-of-mouth, influence or advocacy, Personas 2.0 are your next step. Ultimately, in order to know your consumer today, you also must know her points of connection with her community.
If you don't have the resources in-house to help you create personas, work with an agency that has experience with persona creation. The investment will be realized with the first application. If the values of consensus, commitment and humanizing your data aren't impressive enough, consider this very bottom-line value: Companies that use personas successfully have seen both revenue and conversion increase. Staples, for example, is a brand that created seven personas. By zeroing in on the most prevalent two in its site redesign, Staples saw its online revenue jump from $3 billion to $4.9 billion, according to an article in the November 2007 issue of Internet Retailer.