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Understanding customers:

How the future personas can help you

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Companies should know everything about their customers so that they can carry out targeted marketing. And that means knowing far more than just their age and gender. To gain as realistic and as vivid a picture of their target group as possible, agencies and marketing departments develop what’s known as “personas”. Such descriptions of a model customer help to target marketing measures more precisely. In this article, we explain exactly what personas are and provide some examples.

Woman lies on a blanket in the park reading a book about digital marketing.

In the world of marketing: the personas (photo: Elio Santos, Unsplash)

What are personas and how do they work?

“Personas are stereotypes of potential users of a product – such as a website, an app or a service. They are representatives for all current and future customers,” explains Judith Heinen, Creative Director at the Plan.Net digital agency in Cologne. To create as realistic a picture as possible, personas are given a fictitious name and “assigned specific personal needs that can be broken down into passions and obstacles.”

For Heinen, the advantages are obvious: “With personas, companies can put themselves in customers’ shoes with empathy. They can identify customer needs and thereby improve their product or the marketing of that product, and make them more user-centric,” says Heinen.

The Zukunftsinstitut (Future Institute) has now published five personas that are intended to help companies understand the target groups of the future – in particular with a view to their attitudes to sustainable and digital transformation.

Statistics for developing personas

In developing personas, there’s no place for thinking or feeling. The model customers are based on data and facts. (Photo: Ruthson Zimmerman, Unsplash)

Persona 1: The Game Worker

Adim Salah is a 28-year-old nano-propulsion specialist at SpaceX. Alongside his day-to-day job, he has also started a business in the field of water production. As someone who loves innovation, he sees technology as the answer to a number of pressing issues. He has a proclivity for all things digital and enjoys consumer culture.

In future, companies are most likely to reach him through digital innovations and virtual experiences. The challenge for the interiors industry is to find out how they can attract customers like Adim with online purchases of furniture. Approaches such as digital furniture stores in the metaverse could appeal to this persona and activate their enjoyment of consumer culture for the industry.

Persona 2: The Eco-Hedonist

For 46-year-old Marlene Gutleut, ecology and indulgence are no longer mutually exclusive – in the true spirit of the neo-ecology megatrend . She dreams of a healthy environment and an environmentally conscious world. Marlene is convinced that the economy can and must reorient itself to this vision. Health and social engagement also play a central role for this persona, and she strives towards this in her life with her two children.

In the context of the market, you will reach this persona through an honest and comprehensive sustainability strategy. You can activate the eco-hedonist for your company by creating spaces of engagement and stand up with her for social and sustainable topics.

Hand holding up a light bulb.

Always a good idea: “In-depth interviews with the target group are the best way to develop valuable, high-quality personas because that allows real needs to be recorded and consolidated,” says Judith Heinen, Creative Director at the Plan.Net digital agency in Cologne. (Photo: Diego PH, Unsplash)

Persona 3: The Family Woman

39-year-old Hannah Sorte stands knee-deep in family life – and she couldn’t be happier. Hannah’s priorities are her family’s well-being and finding the right balance between work and family life. But the freelancer also has strong convictions away from domestic settings. Alongside the topic of New Work, which gives her a small piece of much-cherished freedom, she is also particularly engaged with the gender shift.

Help this persona create a home to enjoy life in. To activate this persona’s purchasing power, the focus should be on satisfying individual family needs.

Persona 4: The Slow Transformer

At 56, Lisa Huber is the oldest of the group. Her main priority, both in her leisure time and in the small craft business she runs with her husband, is security. She has built a secure livelihood and she likes stability. Lisa’s motto as she goes through life is: “Change is fine, but not too quickly.”

Companies that target this persona should take care not to overwhelm them with technical innovations. Take the time to explain changes slowly.

Persona 5: The Business Achiever

Last but not least, we have Basti Aldringen. The 48-year-old is the head of the strategy department at an energy supplier, and he is focused on performance and success. His motto is: “The future has to be worthwhile for everyone.” He is not interested in the outdated working conditions of the past – New Work and knowledge culture are the key trends Basti follows. Creating performance motivators and working successfully are the goals that drive him. However, despite this passion for his work, he never loses sight of his family or of his desire for personal growth.

Companies are most likely to reach this persona by presenting a professional public image. Value his work. And if you have a product or service that will enable him to do something new, this persona will most likely view you favourably.

Ready for the future?

Personas are an invaluable aid for businesses. They make it possible to experience and understand a model customer. The five future personas by the Zukunftsinstitut offer a guide for navigating the major consumer groups of the next few years – so they may be a little too vague for your company. Businesses seeking a detailed understanding of their own customer groups should have their own personas developed. That’s where experts like Judith Heinen come in.

And those keen to gain a better understanding of the interiors industry should not miss imm cologne Spring Edition from 4 to 7 June 2023 – register now !!