Working with persona studies or buyer personas is a way to understand and represent target users or customers, especially in B2B scenarios. They take time to create as they should be based on real-world data. But what if you need a quick visualization of your audience for a pitch? Or get some inspiration of who the real people might be behind your audience data? This is where ChatGPT can come in to help you enrich and visualize your audience in a heartbeat.
What is a Persona Study?
A Persona Study is a representation of your target audience, commonly put into a canvas. Each canvas tends to contain a fictional character that represents different user groups and should ideally capture their characteristics, pain points, goals, and behavior. The sections included in a persona study tend to differ from very basic ones that only have a few sections, to others that are much richer in information.
Persona studies add a human-centered perspective
The goal of a persona study is to gain insights into the target audience and create a shared understanding among stakeholders, designers, and developers. It’s a way to humanize audience data and help inform product design, marketing strategies, and decision-making processes by providing a human-centered perspective.
Persona studies helps us answer how to target our audience
Having demographic data can tell us who to target. But having an understanding of that person’s behaviour, needs, pain points, and information flows, can help you understand how to target them. Of course, this is nothing new, organizations with user-centered ways of working already implement in-depth customer studies in their design process and have done so for decades.
So, isn’t conducting in-depth user research enough?
What a Persona Study does is to enrich and visualize your user research, put a face to the audience segments, and help everyone in the organization get on board in understanding and empathizing with the audience.
Having a document somewhere about your audience segments or some data in an excel sheet won’t be as easily understood nor accessed by all departments, as a simple fictional representation of your buyers.
How to start crafting your user personas with ChatGPT
ChatGPT should not (yet) replace proper user research when creating persona studies, but it could be useful in other scenarios. For example, it can be helpful when you need a quick visualization of your audience for a pitch, or serve as a foundation for a persona study while you’re sourcing real users for interviews, or give you hints on where to look for your audience.
Your input + ChatGPT’s general knowledge = Your ChatGPT Persona Study
In our example, we are launching our Recruitment Software Frankie. We already have an understanding of who the users will be, but we want ChatGPT to enrich this information with realistic profiles.
What is important to note is that the information that our audience data will be enriched with is not the result of a specific study conducted, ChatGPT points out that the persona study it generates for us “ is fictional and created based on the provided information, combined with general knowledge and understanding of the recruitment industry.” Therefore, you’d still need to complete the study with information generated from user research in order to get a more complete and accurate picture of who you’re targeting.
Start with role description that you’re targeting
When crafting persona studies for a B2B-audience, adding the correct role description will be enough for ChatGPT to start generating valuable understanding of our audience.
For example, when we were conducting a persona study for our recruitment software Frankie, we knew that we were targeting people that recruit, both in-house and in agencies. Two example roles are HR Manager and Recruitment Consultant, and we asked ChatGPT to create a persona study for each.
These two roles could have significantly different pain points, even though both of them are potential users of our products, so specifying the exact role will be helpful for ChatGPT to be able to provide you with good input.
Specify the demographics
If it’s of importance for your product, you should specify the age, gender, location and any demographic you deem extra relevant for your audience.
Continue with the problems your product is solving
This will help ChatGPT nail down the pain points. For Frankie, our software is adapted to recruiters that have a need for a better overview of candidates’ progress in the recruitment process, that need to enhance collaboration in their teams, and that spend a lot of time sending back and forth emails to candidates keeping them updated on the process, booking interviews and sending test-tasks.
Ask to specify their online behavior and sources of information
If you’re conducting the persona study in an attempt to help marketing and sales to do better targeting, it is of value to ask ChatGPT to include the potential user’s online behavior and where they browse for information. This can give you inspiration on where to find your users and what kind of content to create.
Ask ChatGPT to generate alternative solutions in the Persona Study
There’s a high likelihood that your target market is using alternative solutions to address their needs today. If you don’t know what these could be, ask ChatGPT to include it in the persona study. You may be surprised by what you learn.
Find a visually appealing template
Prepare a template for where you should input your ChatGPT answers. You can choose one of dozens of Persona study templates on platforms like Canva.com and start inputting your ChatGPT answers.
Generate photos of people
The answers from ChatGPT as input into our chosen Persona Study Template from Canva
Sources of information
Online browsing behaviour
Distribute it and educate the organization
Now that you have your persona study, it’s important to educate the team and ensure cross-functional alignment on the representation of your audience. The personas can help marketing, sales, customer services, product management, and more departments, get a better grasp on how to talk to customers and how to improve products for these user groups.
Our team at Frankie is from now on not speaking to a random audience group, we are speaking to Sarah and David (and a few more personas) and our objectives are to solve their pain points and make them feel motivated about using our software.
Persona studies can be an effective way to empathize with your audience and visualize them. It also helps with forming a deeper understanding across the organization about the characteristics of your audience and puts a human face to them. As seen in this experiment, ChatGPT is a quick way to get started with persona studies.
Remember that a persona study is a continuous work because it is essential to regularly update and refine personas to ensure they accurately represent the evolving needs, behavior, and characteristics of the target audience.