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Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 5:37 pm

When Personas Fail

By Bryan Eisenberg
May 25th, 2007

Over the years, we’ve watched the term “persona” achieve buzzword status. Monkey see, monkey do: some companies actually created personas. For all the hype, though, there are too many personas collecting dust in the “been there, done that” file.

Despite the buzz, personas are poorly understood. Not all personas have the same purpose. They can be used to develop user interfaces, plan marketing, model buyers, and so forth. But all bring abstract data to life to increase empathy. It’s much harder to do than it sounds, and it’s really simple to screw up. If you do personas right but don’t use them, they fail. And if you apply the wrong type of persona to an exercise, it will fail even if it was well-crafted.

Continue reading my column on ClickZ…

P.S. My daughter Hannah turns 6 today. Happy birthday, Hannah!

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Comments (7)

  1. Never heard of this concept. Thanks for sharing. (Happy Birthday Hannah.)


  2. I sure hope links in Ed’s post are no-followed.

  3. Brilliant article, Bryan

  4. Couldn’t agree more! The term “personas” has been relegated to jargon lately, doomed to join other terms like “conversion” that lately are so easily thrown about but rarely truly understood.

  5. Yet another example of the corporate desire for a ‘silver bullet solution.’ Thanks for pointing out that marketing DOES require expertise and hard work, and copy/paste is not always an effective technique!

  6. if you put the effort into it you will get great results always learn and adapt

  7. I agree with Shannon, marketing really needs hard work, and lots of motivation to be able to continue working on.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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