All related (10)
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, May 7

Measuring effectiveness around anything, including personas, starts with knowing what the goal is. Why are you building personas in the first place? Some common uses for personas tend to be for message development, sales training, product design or campaign creation. But there are plenty of other reasons as well.

Knowing what the goal is leads to measuring effectiveness, which usually has a process component and an outcomes component. The former can be somewhat qualitative but the latter almost always requires some type of data-driven A/B testing. For example:
• in product development, did the persona change your product design? (process) And, if so, did consumers respond better to the old, pre-persona design or the new one? (outcome)
• For campaigns, did the use of your personas change the type of content or timing of content for certain targets? (process) And if so, do those new campaigns perform differently than the old ones? (outcome)

Jonathan Torrey
Product Manager, Video Advertising, Dealer.comJanuary 14

The shortest and broadest possible way to answer this question is that if a persona can help bring a client into a room with you, and it helps you be more decisive with both your product management and product marketing, then it is effective. I'll dive into this more below but first, some things to remember about personas. 

They should be specific down to a person and given a name. Broad categories like "Females Ages 26-32 who like dogs" aren't going to be very helpful. If you can picture someone physically sitting in a room with you and understand what they're thinking, what drives them and what challenges they have, you're well on your way. 

I always interview clients to help derive personas. An important element is to make sure you ask open-ended questions and don't lead to an answer. 

For example, I manage a video advertising product. If I ask a client why they love digital video advertising instead of "how does video advertising make you feel?" or "how is video advertising performing for you today?" I could end up with a persona that doesn't match how my clients feel or perceive their situation. 

It might help to write down the assumptions you have going in, to make sure you don't lead anyone to an answer. 

Now the harder part, measuring effectiveness: 

It's tough to point to a specific metric to determine the effectiveness of a persona. There are also some products that might not have a salesperson tied to it (like Spotify) but this is generally my approach: 

(1) Soft / suggestive / qualitative analysis - Leveraging client-facing team member feedback. When sales, customer service, support, etc. read through your personas, are they reacting positively and saying things like "Oh gosh, yes, this sounds exactly like client X". 

Are they saying "Yep, I hear this every day" or "I haven't heard this yet but it sounds like something client x would say" 

(2) If you have a product that doesn't necessarily require a direct salesperson (Spotify, for example), read the feedback/reviews of your product (this is great for creating personas, too). Say your persona has "voice controls" as their biggest need, but a majority of negative feedback is related to something else, your persona isn't going to be very effective. 

(3) This is also an opportunity to start quantitatively doing analysis and measuring the adoption of new features rolled out, compared to other roll-outs. 

If your new feature roll-out (voice control) isn't as highly used as other features, you could have a persona problem. 

If marketing activities are not converting to opportunities and sales isn't converting opportunities into signed contracts at the same rate as your average product, you might have a persona problem. 

There are so many ways to slice and dice it, but I think doing personas the right way - https://www.alexandercowan.com/tutorial-personas-problem-scenarios-user-stories/#Persona this is the best reference guide I've seen on them - will make them more effective. 

Anthony Kennada
Chief Marketing Officer, Hopin
I don’t see a difference actually, at least for technology companies. At the end of the day, customers don’t want your product, they want outcomes that your product (and company) help them derive. Few examples: • Uber/Lyft sell the ability to get from point A to point B without a car. The app is just a vehicle (pun intended). • AirBnB sells the ability to belong / feel at home anywhere in the world. • Etc. Start by deeply understanding your persona and work backwards from there. Understand the jobs they’re looking to tackle and how your product and company both have a role to play in conc...
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach,
This really requires a dedicated effort and should be owned by Product Marketing. Different industries change at different paces – in some cases, a quarterly review process is needed, in other case, it might be less frequent. It really depends. Product Marketing needs to keep a close pulse on customers, talk to sales and product management, and keep an eye on the competition. There are other factors to consider as well that may trigger an off-cycle review: major industry news, significant new competitive offerings or new entrants, win or loss of a key customer, an upcoming key tradeshow or...
Diego Lomanto
VP, Product Marketing, UiPath
Hi - yes - I definitely recommend sharebird's resources. I also love a few books on positioning. First the classic book here is from Al Ries and Jack Trout and it's called "Positioning: The Battle for your Mind." I also recommend "Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It" by April Dunford
Greg Hollander
VP of GTM & Strategy, Novi
I’ve typically seen segmentation and personas fall flat in one of two ways: either they were purely based on readily available internal data (usually, transaction or product-focused), or they were purely based on external interviews and didn’t come with a perspective on how representative they were of our customer or prospect base.  The result: Sales uses one, Product uses another.  To drive towards maximum alignment of “who is our customer, and what do they care about”, it’s important to merge both of these approaches.   My recommendation would be to start with one or the other, depending...
Nipul Chokshi
Head of Marketing, Atrium - Data Driven Sales Management
Depends - if you’re able to differentiate enough to be a #1 or #2 player in the market, stick with the current category. I would, however, start to amp up the thought leadership so that you can influence the category more going forward so you can start to play your own game. Not knowing more details its hard to go into specifics here, but you could also consider creating an off-shoot of the current category (again leaning into your differentiation) and tell the story around how “other vendors are doing things the old way” and you’re providing a “new way” to solve the problem [of course thi...
Hila Segal
VP of Product Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, Amdocs
Have a strong point of view on the market and don't be afraid to reframe the current definition, but be prepared to invest heavily in education and thought leadership. Rely on proof points to support your narrative in the form of customer advocates that evangelize your definition and why it drives value. The good and the bad news is that someone has already created the initial interest - invest in execution and authority marketing to grab market share.