How behavioural personas drive business growth

One of the key areas to business growth is understanding your customers and delivering against their needs. Many businesses are now using behavioural based personas to design better customer journeys. Behavioural personas are based on research about how your customers interact with your organisation. They can provide you with insights on why customers do what they do. They help you identify the motivations behind customer’s decisions and the experiences they expect from your business. So, how can you use behavioral personas to improve customer journeys and the effectiveness of your communications? 

What are behavioural personas?

Before we look at how behavioural personas can help a business, it would be useful to clarify what they are so as not to confuse personas and customer segments. 

Segments are predominantly concerned with demographic and socio-graphic information and offer only a 2D picture of customers. Meanwhile personas offer a 3D image of customers because they are synthesised from multiple forms of qualitative and quantitative research about actual customers. Personas offer an insight into the real-life attitudes, experiences and behaviours of your customers and how they interact with an organisation.

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They look at the human or psychological factors, the things that drive people, the all- important ‘Why?’ question. They represent the needs, wants, expectations, attitudes, goals, frustrations, motivations, and behaviours of customers as well as containing some demographic and socio-graphic information. 

Customer personas also look at the context of the interactions. For example, if I visit a Starbucks before work, I would be one persona but I’d be a different persona when meeting friends there on a weekend. This is because my needs, expectations, and behaviours for this customer experience differ greatly depending on the context of the interaction. So, using my customer persona behaviour as an example, I would only be one segment rather than the two personas I actually am.

How do customer personas help?

To be able to create more effective customer journey maps you need to really understand what drives and influences your customers decisions. This is where the value of personas comes into play. Creating behavioural personas is the first step of creating strong and robust customer journeys, critical to business success. 

The best customer journeys are created by meeting the needs for specific personas, otherwise these journeys risk being too generic and not really meeting anybody’s needs or expectations. For example, when we can travel again my accommodation needs will be very different if I’m on a business trip vs. a family holiday vs. a honeymoon. Therefore, a good customer journey map needs to take account of these significant differences.

According to a report by McKinsey they found that those companies that actively manage their customer journeys can increase customer satisfaction by 20%, lift revenue by up to 15%, and lower the cost to serve customers by as much as 20%. UX persona behaviours need to be the foundation on which your customer journeys are developed. 

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Well designed behavioural personas can help make your insights easily digestible by others and create a shorthand for the customer internally. By truly understanding the customers you are designing for, you can create better experiences, products, and services that will truly engage them and meet both their practical and emotional needs. Behavioural personas are of even greater importance today, because customer journeys are becoming increasingly more complex and spanning an ever-increasing number of touchpoints.

Identifying behavioural archetypes of your audience will help you to clarify the motivations that support customer decisions and the experiences that they expect, and can assist you to embed customer-centric thinking in your organisation.

By having a greater knowledge about your customer’s needs, expectation, and behaviours your marketing campaigns can be more effectively targeted leading to a greater Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).