Reaching your Target: Understand Your Market From Segmentation to Personas


Remember the days where the main marketing maxim was the four Ps: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. How times have changed.

Segmentation has also long been a staple in marketing strategy. Segmentation refers to dissecting a large market into smaller logical groups that make it easier to analyse rather than the whole. In segmentation we generally look at geographic facts, demographics, psychographics (lifestyle), and behavioural variables.

In the past, the media carrying our messages were relatively fewer; it was print, outdoor, TV, and radio. Now with the huge array of media in today’s environment, it has become important to understand more about our customers so we can effectively reach them and be available to them when their urge to commit to a purchase is at its highest.

Enter the persona.

In order to understand our market even more closely we need to get to know our common customers. We need to know their story. We need to know more than just where they live, their age and gender, what they like in terms of interests, their values and behaviours. The vast amount of data that is available allows us to develop a finer idea of our customer. Personas are characters we can create that represent different user types that consumer our product or service. Whilst not being completely different to segmentation, personas enhance a segment and give it a personality. We can use a persona to understand how our product, service, website, or app is used, what it is being used for, and what experience is expected.

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A persona is often drawn as a character and given a name. It then allows us to use a “human” context to a segmentation exercise. The persona can embody attitudes, motivations, goals, and pain points. It can verbalise goals. It can go on a journey across scenarios and narratives. (See our previous article on scenario planning).

A powerful persona is one created with empathy. Understanding the emotional drivers behind user behaviour. It can be adaptable, it can interact with your product in differing contexts, and it has life after this interaction.

The personas can then be used pictorially, via cartoons or storyboards, to help us understand how to design a user experience (UX) journey or customer experience (CX) journey that informs the way we design our websites, apps, product or service. We can locate and remove pain points, and directly appeal to their sense of aspiration and provide a solution to the problem they want solved, with empathy and understanding.

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