Author’s Note

You're viewing my archived portfolio from 2011–2015. View my latest Design Research work at TreverSantora.com.

Trever Santora

UX Designer

Case Study

Iron-Point


Buyer Personas

Team

  • Agency
  • Iron-Point
  • Lead User Experience
  • Trever Santora
  • User Experience
  • Dan Supinksi
  • Contributing Editor
  • Lauren Kenney
  • Jake Wakefiled
  • Project Manager
  • Kendall Wilson

Business Challenge

Prospects weren’t converting into customers under current marketing initiatives.

Process

To begin, we interviewed our target audience. We reached them by voice, email or LinkedIn. They were senior, junior and social media marketers who showed interest in our research.

Candidates worked in enterprise technology. They were responsible for influencing or making new business acquisitions.

We also sent out follow-up surveys. We then plotted a chart of online resources marketers used to learn about our industry.

Gathering statistical data from the surveys brought balance to our qualitative methods.

It turns out marketers have plenty of boxes to check off before scouting an agency. And their purchasing decisions come from a small number of authoritative figures. Publications, market research firms and peer-influenced referrals were oft-cited.

Solution

We boiled down our research into a 33-page persona document. We recreated people who exhibited the characteristics we felt matched the right prospect.

Personas
We stole a page from the great American novel. We wanted to create memorable personas who felt like real people. We read Robie Macauley and George Lanning’s “Technique in Fiction.” Teaching us a strong character is round (not flat), capable of change, and multifaceted.

Hiccups

We went overboard and created too many minor details and backstories for each persona. We learned later only four of the nine would gain traction with our team.

Results

The personas have become a fixture for strategic conversations across the company.

A personal highlight for me occurred a week after the personas debuted. Our co-founder defended an idea from the perspective of our Sr. Marketing Manager, Pattie. The idea caught on and now our personas have a say in meetings and elsewhere.

The insight we gained from the personas has given our organization a renewed purpose. Reminding us of who we serve and why it matters.

After three months we saw an 18% increase in new business from the blog and social media.

Continual Improvement

We’ll often revisit the personas when we learn something new about them. We’ve also started to use them to make other decisions about the business. Contracts, product ideas, and marketing campaigns to name a few.