In recent years, marketing started establishing ‘personas’ that should help understand the consumer’s point of view (POV). Although this is done out of good intentions, it often seems that creating a persona is an art and goal in itself. The actual insights derived from these personas are skewed, and we end up with a nicely-designed one-pager with an overload of variables and (non-relevant) information.
Instead, I have assembled a consumer POV map (link here) to replace these traditional personas and, in my opinion, highlight the core insights required to understand your consumer better. It’s easy to draft and contains the pure minimum to better understand your consumer’s frustrations, needs, and motives. Below are the guidelines to help you use this tool.
1. The POV statement
When . . . (context), . . . (target audience) want to . . . (goal), because . . . (motivation).
Example: When going to an amusement park, busy families want to skip the line to make sure they can try out all the attractions.
- Consolidate all your insights in as many POV statements as required, and group these if there’s a noticeable difference between customer segments.
- Try to place your target audience in a specific context (When . . .) to narrow your insights.
- State a goal using a verb. It prevents you from formulating insights as solutions and drives better ideation (he wants a ladder vs. he wants to fix the roof).
- Motivations drive human behavior and are the most important to understand. They can be functional, emotional, or social.
2. The evaluation criteria
As a next step, it’s important to understand and define how your target audience evaluates success. What’s the customer’s KPI and what’s an ideal outcome?
Example: Time spent queueing or amount of attractions done in one day.
3. The existing solutions
Try to understand how your target audience is fulfilling the goal and what solutions or alternative approaches are adopted. It helps understand the competitive domain. Also, it further helps define the importance of the goal when people are willing to spend a lot of money to achieve their goal.
Example: Buying an expensive ‘pass the queue’ or ‘VIP pass‘.
4. The likes & dislikes
Try to understand what your target audience likes and dislikes about their current solutions or alternatives. It enriches your discovery and helps you pinpoint what will and will not work.
Example: The VIP pass is digital and easy to use via a mobile device. On the other hand, it’s expensive and overused by others.
5. Goal prioritization
Some goals are more critical than others. This depends on the context as well as the frequency of the need or problem. Try to understand what’s highly important for your target audience and why.
Example: Skipping a waiting line can be more important for families who never go to an amusement park vs. families who do this often. For the latter, finding cheap foods and drinks could be more important.
Minimizing the Number of Customer Segments
It’s understandable that several POVs are relevant for only one type of consumer. This is when it’s smart to make a split. However, don’t overdo this. Having 2-3 different types is often enough. Ask yourself if making additional splits truly add value. Is each segment so unique that you are willing to divide your time, money, and resources to create a separate solution?
Consumer discovery is messy and chaotic. Don’t force the process by making it linear and structured. Connecting the dots takes time. Remember, structuring your insights helps. Use a simple POV statement to communicate your findings, and feel free to supplement with another template. After all, it’s just a tool.