Are you hiding behind your personas?

Personas continue to be a hot topic in our training classes and in the blogosphere. Kristin Zhivago fears we might be hiding behind personas instead of getting to know actual customers.

Kristin is right as usual; nothing can replace the value of interviewing a real person. And you can see a lot more in an onsite interview than you can hear in a phone interview.

I'm frequently asked about surveys and phone calls and telemarketing and a dozen other methods for not visiting clients. Why is it so hard for product managers and marketers (not all of course, but many) to visit customers and non-customers?

Personas are a powerful tool to convey market information in context for marketing and development. But those who create personas must be grounded in the market. Interview some people before you begin.

Michael has some interesting additional thoughts.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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