market segments and personas

20 May 2005 - 12:14pm
9 years ago
3 replies
1209 reads
Amy Mew
2005

market segmentation and personas are often thought of as conflicting
methods, but they are actually complementary tools that organizations
can use to design and sell product. does anyone have any thoughts on
this? or any best practice examples?

thanks much,
--a.

--
amy mew | user experience architect | mobile 310.908.7551

Comments

20 May 2005 - 12:53pm
Robert Reimann
2003

Hi Amy,

I agree completely that market segmentation and personas are
complementary tools. Cooper's website has a pertinent article
on this topic:

http://www.cooper.com/newsletters/2002_02/reconciling_market_segments_an
d_personas.htm

In practice, there are (at least) two ways to integrate market
segmentation with personas and ethnography.

One way is to use market segmentation as a means of determining
what kinds of users should be interviewed during field research,
screening users that fit within particular segments. In this
approach, personas provide qualitative use pattern information that
helps flesh out understanding of the segments in question, and allow
design of products targeted squarely at those markets.

Another approach is to perform broad ethnography in a new domain
*first*, and identify problems that the business might be able to
solve, and then perform follow-up market research to determine
which ones might have the best business case. In this approach,
ethnography and personas help describe the user landscape in an
unfamiliar domain, and provides a starting point for market
research to explore and validate quantitatively.

Robert.

---

Robert Reimann
Manager, User Interface Design and Research

Bose Corporation
The Mountain
Framingham, MA 01701

-----Original Message-----
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[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
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Subject: [ID Discuss] market segments and personas

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
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market segmentation and personas are often thought of as conflicting
methods, but they are actually complementary tools that organizations
can use to design and sell product. does anyone have any thoughts on
this? or any best practice examples?

thanks much,
--a.

--
amy mew | user experience architect | mobile 310.908.7551
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23 May 2005 - 7:48pm
Becubed
2004

> ... personas provide qualitative use pattern information that
> helps flesh out understanding of the segments in question, and allow
> design of products targeted squarely at those markets.

Great discussion. Anyone thinking about personas is going to bump into
market segments at some point, so it's important to be prepared. Some
further thoughts:

Marketing specialists will explain that a strong segmentation model is
*very* tightly focused -- so focused, in fact, there should be no
confusion over which segment any one customer belongs to. This makes
market segmentation a traditionally "reductive" exercise, in which
people are categorized through as few dimensions as possible (e.g.,
age, location, industry, personality type, etc.).

Personas, in contrast, are "substantive"; they wrap a great number of
dimensions into a single package and deal with them all at once. As
Robert said above, this helps to flesh out our understanding of the
segments in question. The trick is realizing that personas are, in
fact, a form of segmentation themselves -- which can generate friction
if the differences aren't understood. Just as marketing folks couldn't
dream of getting down to work without a solid segmentation model,
neither should designers. But market segmentation is the wrong model
for us: we need rich information about the context and patterns of
product usage. "Front office" workers in "medium-sized" businesses in
"industry A" doesn't cut it.

I've noticed a real interest in personas from some folks in marketing,
as the idea of "customer experience" continues to take hold. Anyone
following a customer-experience-based marketing strategy quickly finds
that traditional market segments are inadequate, as it's tough to make
good decisions from a reductive model. So marketers are reaching for
tools to help deliver the richer information required -- and so far,
personas look quite promising. We've developed purely "marketing
personas" for several clients, and the results have been good.

Note that personas may look familiar to some marketers, as related
forms of customer profiles have been used in that industry for years.

--
Robert Barlow-Busch
Interaction Design and Usability Group
Quarry Integrated Communications Inc.
rbarlowbusch at quarry.com
(519) 570-2020

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24 May 2005 - 8:53am
Pradyot Rai
2004

Reimann, Robert <Robert_Reimann at bose.com> wrote:
> I agree completely that market segmentation and personas are
> complementary tools. Cooper's website has a pertinent article
> on this topic:
>
> http://www.cooper.com/newsletters/2002_02/reconciling_market_segments_an
> d_personas.htm

Wow. I was just having this conversation with one dude few weeks back,
when I advocated the complementary role of Persona and Segmentation
information. To me (and as per Elaine Brechin's article too)
segmentation information is about quantitative data, to slice and dice
the market for 3C's and 4P's strategy. However, persona is actually
"segmentation information" + *Delta*. This *delta* is the qualitative
information persona needs to make certain assuption for design.
Without persona one can't design the product "right", and without the
segmentation information, persona can't make the precise judgement
about users.

>From Designer's perspective, segmentation is abstract and often vague
information sets. From the POV of Marketers segmentation is most
important for building strategy to beat competition, profile
consumers, product pricing, differentiate and promote product
families, etc. As per my conversation with the dude, as I mentioned
earlier, I came to beleive that the difference of these two researches
are non-common sensical and often misunderstood as "same-thing".

To sum up, segmentation information and personas are definitely
complementary, as market and user reseach often are.

2 cents,

Pradyot Rai

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