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Data as the basis of personas

a) What problem or needs does the persona have?

In practice, one often finds Personas and Templates that offer far too much information about this fictitious character. Less is often more! The most important point with the persona: What problem is solved by your product or what need is satisfied? If you cannot answer this question, your persona is unsuitable or it makes no sense to address these people – why should they buy your product?

The creation of a product with the answer to the question “What problem will be solved” is not part of this article and will be published later.

b) Procure data

Often there are already existing data dumps from which you can retrieve data. Since the data for a persona is dependent on the company, product and target, it cannot be generalized. The following suggestions can help you:

  • Consult the marketing department
    e.g. the classic product marketing managers who have sociodemographic data, e.g. the classification of customers in Sinus milieus. A valuable source is web analytics, who can collect particularly accurate data on users and preferences.
  • Consult the product managers, developers and designers
    Perhaps these colleagues have already given some thought and obtained some data. Maybe there are already UX Pesonas or even real users and beta program participants who may be interviewed?
  • Consult the strategists
    Is there a strategy department or something like that? Ask in which direction the company is heading, perhaps you would like to develop into a different user clientele?
  • Get some data or buy some data
    There are many free sources for data, or sources that have many insights ready for small money. For example Statista, industry associations, consulting service providers. You should also have a look at LinkedIn and Xing, where whitepapers are published by companies and consultants. It is worthwhile to follow these people.

Caution with expert opinions

  • What you should avoid with yourself and also refrain from with the consulted colleagues: If data is available, don’t assume, or guess just because it’s easier. Professionals often have a frighteningly wrong view of the real user!
  • Always when a discussion round without data drifts into a kind of democratically elected mainstream opinion, I throw this quote into the room that it sums up quite well:

Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.

W. Edwards Deming
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Andreas Poschen is a specialist for Conception, E-Commerce, UX and Digital Marketing from Aachen. He works as a Product Owner Smart Home for Web, iOS and Android at an IT SME and writes in this blog about his work as a PO and his thoughts. Follow him on:

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