What are personas?

Personas help you develop a consistent picture of your target groups. Descriptions of individual target groups are often abstract and not very tangible, so it helps to imagine concrete persons with names, interests, and real needs. In customer projects, we therefore create profiles for each individual persona and visualize them with pictures or by illustration.

Example persona profile blank
Example persona profile blank

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What types of personas are there?

Personas can be as varied as the projects and objectives. In projects in publishing houses and media companies, for example, we develop media personas based on the Sinus Milieus. User and buyer personas, on the other hand, are part of the standard distinction in the B2B environment, to which we have added the concept of the research persona. With companies in the healthcare sector, we divide the target groups into Patients, Carers, and Health Care Professionals.

How are target groups and personas developed?

In the best case, target groups and, at a latter stage, personas, are composed based on qualitative and quantitative data. Possible data sources for the quantitative information can be:

  • CRM
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Demographic characteristics of previous buyers
  • Social media insights


If no internal data sources are available, we draw on existing market research models and studies. We often work with the Sinus milieu studies, in which the German population is divided into a total of ten milieus: from Traditional and Conservative to Expeditive (= which means “wanting to explore new things, pushing boundaries”). The milieus were described in great detail by Sinus and are enriched with metadata. Based on this, we can define in the project which milieus may be relevant for products or services. In this way, we develop data-based target group descriptions from which we subsequently derive personas.

Ideally, we work out the qualitative data in collaboration with team members from the various departments. That should include people who have contact with existing customers – for example, someone from customer service. They know the needs and pain points of the target groups best.

Which specific information about the target group is relevant depends on the product or service in question. But, we basically think about and collect data on the following characteristics:

  • Demographic characteristics
  • Professional positions
  • Interests
  • Media usage behavior
  • Expectations of the product or service


Recommendation for collection the criteria and information:

Have a look at the ad managers of the major social media platforms, where you can select characteristics from various target group descriptions (=targeting). These categories can be an inspiration to help determine the target groups. In many cases, we will later address the target groups with advertising on exactly these platforms. It helps to have collected the characteristics that can really be targeted in advance.

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From target group to persona

The concrete persona emerges at the end of the process, when we bring together all the data we gathered during the analysis.

Personas can be single people or several people at once, for example, a couple. The following questions can help with the persona design:

  • What does your persona look like? What clothes do they wear? What haircut would they prefer?
  • Are they more conservative or always looking for new influences and experiences?
  • Do they have a family? Children? Do they live alone?
  • What is the net disposable household income?
  • What is the person’s profession? Are they an entry-level worker, a student, or in a managerial position?
  • What can you offer the person(a) to make them happy and satisfied? 
  • What would upset the person about your products or services?

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All done: your persona has now taken shape!

After all questions have been answered based on data and enriched with customer experiences, we have a very precise picture of the target group. Before making any important decisions like product developments or a website relaunch, you should take into consideration the thoughts your persona might have about it: What does my persona say about this? Do they like it? What reservations would they have?


In the next step, we map out each persona’s corresponding customer journey. This refers to the journey a potential customer takes from first contact to the purchase of a product or another previously defined conversion (contact, inquiry, lead). Defining phases and touchpoints within the customer journey is the basis for marketing and content planning – the right content should reach each customer at the right time on the ideal channel.

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