Establish is the perfect fit between
what your customer wants and your offer.

Contents of this lesson
In this lesson I walk your team through setting up a customer persona and identifying what drives your customer. In just two steps your team will define a crystal clear target for their innovation efforts.

Group size
3 -5

Time investment
2,5h – 3h

Preparation time
15m

Difficulty
Intermediate

Before we start there is a very important thing for you to keep in mind. Customers don’t exist to buy. You exist for them. Everything you do should be focused on your customers and what’s in it for them.

That’s why your first step towards innovation is to start thinking about your customer. You want to know all there is about your customer: what keeps him up at night, what problem is he having and how is he currently solving that problem. It is essential to understand who your customers are and why they would be interested in doing business with you.

You want to know where they live, what they do, what age they are, whether they married and if they live in urban areas. Why are you doing this? Well, figuring out who specifically would be interested in your product and why prevents you from building products and services nobody cares about.

Now that you understand the importance of keeping your customer in mind, we are going to start creating a customer segment. You are going to describe the characteristics of your customer, the jobs they are trying to get done in their lives, the related pains (what negative aspects do they hate or are they trying to avoid), and the pains (the positive outcomes and benefits which your customers would love to have).

Noud van Alem

Chief Growth Officer / Public Speaker

Download the Customer persona canvas

Step #1: Capture your ideal customer profile in a persona

We have learned that everything centers around your customer. That's why the first thing you want to do is create a personaA persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on market research or any data your currently have in your CRM. Having a persona in mind helps us in the coming steps and lessons.

 

You are about to get started with your first canvas. Excellent!

On the right side you will find the persona canvas. An instruction for each section within this canvas can be found below. I recommend downloading the canvas by clicking on “Download the Customer Persona Canvas” and printing it out on A4 or A3 sized paper, or displaying it with your beamer or on your TV.

Depending on your business, you could​ have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. However, when starting out I​ advise to keep it simple and start with 1. Try to fill all sections to make sure you get the most out of this canvas.

Let’s get started! 

Demographics

Describing your persona by giving him or her a name, a job title and an age helps everybody in your team understand who you are targeting.

Personality

Try to get a deeper understanding of your persona. Who are we dealing with? Try to find certain traits that characterise your persona.

Motivations

If you better understand what drives your persona to make decisions, you may also better​ understand why this person would be interested in your product or service. ​

Preferred Channels

Examine with channels your persona is using. This will help you better understand your persona, but also with designing a Customer Journey in lesson 5.

Interests

What are the personal interests of your persona? Tools that might help you understand the interests of your persona are ​Google Analytics Audience and Facebook & Twitter Audience Insights.​

Goals

What goals does your persona have in life? Does he or she want to be the best parent in the world, does he or she want to have a proper work life balance, or is he or she trying to get from point A to B faster?

Pains

Do your customers worry about helping their department meet sales goals? Are they struggling​ to stay competitive? What are typical “trigger-points” for individuals to start searching for​ solutions? ​

Quote

A typical quote or something your persona might say helps bringing your persona to life. Be sure to collect quotes anytime you are conducting​ interviews, as this is extremely valuable information.

Key Reason to Buy

What makes your persona decide to buy? Is it because an organization is​ known for world class Customer Service, does your persona need referrals from friends?

Deal-Maker

What is a deal-maker for your persona? Think of delivery speed, shipping costs, set-up costs, etc.​​

Deal-Breaker

Similar to deal-makers, try to think of what could be a deal breaker for your persona.​

Step #2: Identify what makes your customer "tick"

Now that you have identified who your customer is, let's dive a bit deeper in what drives your customer's behavior. For this exercise, print the RevelX Value Proposition Canvas, grab a cup of coffee, and I’ll walk you through identifying your customers' needs.

Take a look at the Value Proposition canvas. You’ll notice that it is made up of two parts. Of which, the part on the right hand side of the canvas is reserved for your customer. We will only be using this part, for now. Innovating with your customer in mind means putting your customer first. So let’s do exactly that and start by answering the three key questions about your specific customer. You’ll find each one referenced in the canvas.

  1. What job does your customer want/need to have done? (customer jobs)
  2. What problems are making it difficult for your customer to get the job done? (pains)
  3. What personal advantages will your customer get out of getting the job done or solving the problem (gains)?

Answering these three questions are the key to understanding what drives your customer. Let me explain how you’ll find the answer to each of them, below.

Jobs

For ‘jobs’ (or jobs-to-be-done) place yourself in the position of your customers. What is it that they’re aiming to achieve? These do not need to be actual jobs or job titles. Think about the tasks they need to complete, the problems they are solving or the needs that they try to satisfy. Use the questions below as suggestions to help you identify potential customer jobs.

  • What does my customer want to accomplish?
  • In what different contexts might my customer be? How do these change the job?
  • Is the customer’s job affected by interaction with others?
  • What emotional needs are your customers trying to satisfy?
  • Does the job change over time?

Pains

Now consider the negative experiences, emotions and risks that your customer may experience while getting their ‘job’ done. These are what we refer to as ‘pains’. In some cases these could be something that prevents your customer from attaining their goals entirely. In other cases, it could simply be something that annoys them along the way.

Use the questions below as a starting point and list as many relevant pains as you can.

  • What’s keeping your customers awake at night? What do they worry about?
  • Are there any mistakes that your customer would commonly make?
  • What are the main difficulties and challenges your customers
    encounter while getting their job done?

Gains

Next, think about the kind of things that would delight your customer. We call these ‘gains’. A gain might simply be the outcome of getting a job done. Alternatively, a gain can be a positive surprise while getting it done. Try to identify what would positively influence your customers’ emotions. As before, you’ll find some sample questions below to help you get started.

  • What do your customers dream about? What do they aspire to achieve?
  • What positive social consequences do your customers desire?
  • What would make your customers’ jobs or lives easier?
  • What are your customers’ expectations of the job’s outcome?
  • What emotions drive your customers?

That’s it! What lays before you is a detailed concept of who your customer is and what drives them. This tool will proof to be invaluable in focusing your innovation activities and aligning the team towards a common goal. In lesson #2 your new found insights will immediately be put to use by identifying needs that are not yet met by your business. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Best, Noud

Lesson 2: Ideate