From Persona to Actionable Persona [Free Canvas]

By pierre kleinhouse

As part of my activity as a freelance Growth Marketer (and in previous experiences), clients very often consider building personas as a waste of time.

This is usually the line that they want to get rid of from the proposal.

We already know who they are!

To me a best friend is: 

  • Someone that listens to you
  • Knows a lot about you
  • Don’t judge
  • Helps when he can
  • Don’t necessarily seek for a reward or payback

Isn’t that a brand should be for a customer?

How to become your customers’ best friend if you don’t listen and care about them?

Any decent marketer (or any digital savvy guy) will tell you how important are personas.

Everything starts from personas. They are the backbone of any business. They help you:

  • Build the relevant product
  • Think of incisive catchphrases
  • Produce relevant and valuable content
  • Set up marketing campaigns to attract the right traffic (See Facebook ads configuration options)

Facebook Ads Interface offers many ways to segment an audience. If you’re too generic, you will pay the price!
However, every week I realize personas are most of the time overlooked or half-done or once and for all.

I can think of some reasons why people don’t spend too much time on building personas:

  • Overconfidence in the way they answer the market
  • They secretly feel that if they ask people, they will kill the idea
  • They don’t know where to find the data
  • People don’t answer their survey
  • They have difficulties in turning my personas into actionable product/content.

That’s right. Building persona is hard work.
And it is not obvious at first sight how this will turn into something actionable.

This made me work over the years on a persona canvas that I like to call Actionable Persona Canvas.

From traditional Persona to Actionable Persona

Like many other digital experts do great, this model helps you build a “traditional persona”.
However, to my view, this persona canvas contains critical elements that transform that knowledge into an actionable growth marketing strategy.

For example, Buyers Customer Journey stages (Hubspot).

The same persona goes through several maturity stages (awareness, consideration…). They all have similar characteristics (age, demographic, position, goals…), but they are not all standing at the same level of maturity.
This makes a huge difference when it comes to starting a conversation!

The goal of this AP Canvas is to help you summarize and map all aspects of your marketing strategy: 

  • Customer knowledge & pain feedback verbatim
  • Your answer to their needs (product, feature, educational content…)
  • The landing pages and its content that you will build to hook each one of them
  • The marketing channels to activate to promote your offer and gain qualified traffic

Useful for everyone in your team

With this AP Canvas, everyone works on the same page. From Designers to Marketers to the Tech team.

Personas is a continuous improvement work

However, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes you will have to experiment to see what works best.
Then you will always refine your personas as your discoveries go.

If you already have some clients, it is not too late.
Actually, it is a tremendous opportunity to search deeper for who they are. When you have a clearer picture, you will be able to figure out how to tap lookalike.

Performance measurement

I also advise my clients not to analyze performance per traffic sources only but through a combination of different elements that build different scenario:
Persona 1 + Buyer’s Journey stage + Value proposition + Offer + LP + Marketing Channel

This is lot more work but to me, this is the only way to understand what works and what don’t.
You can easily benefit from tools like Google Tag Manager & Google Analytics custom dimensions and automate your reporting.


What’s in this Actionable Persona Canvas

Now let me describe the different elements that the AP Canvas contains:

  • The human behind the persona (a picture, a name, age, demographics, hobbies, position, mission…)
  • How he expresses his pain with contextual elements (when, where, how often…). His problem is broken down according to is buyer’s journey stage
  • Your solution: your value proposition and the offer to answer his need (product, service, content…)
  • The landing page and its main components to hook them and reach your business goal (lead capture…)
  • The Marketing channels (growth hacking, search, social media, partnerships…) to make them visit you
  • Moreover, some specific tech requirements if relevant

Conclusion

Don’t go over building personas. No, you do not know who your customers really are.
Deepen your research will sometimes give you some new insight, new path to explore.

Think of some b2b targets.
Sometimes it is even possible to reach them. However, they are human above all. They may have hobbies golf, hookers… Be foolish, be greedy as Steve Jobs said once.

I recently worked for a startup in the flat renting business (I would have love to but it is not Airbnb).
Doing some research on current clients made us discover that they work or are passionate about art, photography, and design. That is a real insight to move forward the discussion. It impacts, among other aspects, content, tone, website design…


Need help to apply this to your business?

As a Growth Marketer, I use proven process & methodologies to help startups & established businesses growth their revenue.
I focus on marketing tactics that drive quick and sustainable growth.

I can guide you through the steps of defining a winning Growth Marketing Strategy.
Using together this Actionable Persona Canvas, you will be up and running to skyrocket your customer acquisition.

Ask for a free phone consulting: +33 6 63 63 51 68 | g@growthcatcher.com

Wish you a great day!

About the author

Guillaume travaille depuis plus de 10 ans dans l’univers du marketing Digital.
Consultant, Directeur Marketing, Co-fondateur d’une starteur puis fondateur de Growth Catcher.
Growth Catcher est une agence basée à Paris spécialisée en marketing B2B.
Elle aide les entreprises à transfomer leur dispositif digital en véritable outil de génération de leads.

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