User Persona is not Marketing Persona- Understanding Fundamentals

‘Personas’ I am sure you must have heard this word a lot. 

We receive many design portfolios concluding UX research with fictional marketing personas. As a designer and a product manager, we need to understand that UX Personas are different from Marketing Personas.

Being a full-stack service design agency, we have seen numerous cases. In many cases, it is very tough to differentiate between a user persona and the marketing persona. The product companies think they already know the user persona; they have done their market research and have tested their product-market fit. Of course, no one can understand their market fit better than them. They know their customers, but do they identify their behavior patterns? How are their customers going to engage with the product? Well, for that, we need to research. And user persona starts from there.

Understand user and marketing persona with an example:

Market personas can only tell if a person has an intent to buy a particular product/services or can afford a specific.

Please keep in mind that buying a product and using a product are different things. Not all buyers are users, and not all users are buyers.

Let’s take the example of a gym membership. We all must have purchased a gym membership, at least once in our lifetime. But, how many of us have utilized it to full. Just because we own something, it doesn’t guarantee that we are going to use it.

The marketing persona of a hypothetical gym membership subscription app is financial and demographical driven. So anybody who earns well, are health-conscious, aged 18- 45, lives in TIER 1 or TIER 2 cities might match the marketing persona.

But user personas are more specific for the people who are going to the gym and maybe using other apps or services. It focuses mainly on the behavioral aspect of product users. User personas should help designers and product teams to understand the behavior aspect of the actual users. It assists them in designing better products and interactions.

Can there be more than one persona for a single product?

Yes, user personas can be more than one; in practical cases, the product is rarely built to serve only a particular segment of users. UX researchers always work with multiple user personas, depending on the user segment.

For example, let’s consider the above hypothetical example, here we can have multiple personas:

  • Users who go to the gym 2-3 times a week.                                                                                                                     
  • The users who go to the gym daily.
  • The users who workout rarely.

The above set of users will have a significant difference in their behavioral traits. These traits are going to define how these user groups will use and interact with the product.

So, what are the characteristics of a good “persona”?

Personas help designers to empathize with users, understand their behavior, pain points, delights, and give context to design meaningful interactions.

Do you know user personas are iterative?

Remember, since the UX personas are behavioral and user’s behavior changes with time, we can say that UX personas are iterative. That’s the reason as you go more in-depth with your research, you have a more clear picture of the users.

Developing a persona is a continuous process; your persona is going to fade away with time and behavioral shifts. So make sure you keep iterating your persona.

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