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Lesson 2 | Expert insights and FAQ's

Here are some common challenges to creating personas and strategies that have helped Stanford Embark members overcome them.

"I'm just not sure how to get started."

Review all your interview data and then try to paint the picture of a person in your head. Describe them based on their aspirations and goals, not based on dry statistical attributes such as age, gender, or income. You are describing a person, not a statistic.

Don't worry about making educated guesses. Use your hunches to define your personas.

"How many personas should I develop?"


This is an iterative process. Start with two and review what you came up with. Do the personas feel distinct and specific? Make changes and refer back to your initial observations. Keep iterating until you describe a persona that excites you.

When you can say, "This is the person I want to help!" you are in a good place.


"Which details are important to include?"

Does your persona read like a novel from Charles Dickens with a backstory that goes on and on? If so, you are likely forgetting that the idea here is to keep focused on defining WHO the customer is and WHAT they care about. Zero in on the pain point in the persona and the behaviors and attitudes of the target customer. This will help you stay focused as you work out your value proposition.

Liz Grace of Grace Portraits shares the rationale behind landing upon her customer persona, and surprises she discovered along the way.

Richard Scudellari walks through how they found commonalities across their diverse target demographic.

Monisha Perkash of Lumo Bodytech explains the value of identifying a target persona and avoiding the pitfall of being "all things to all people."

TJ Duane talks through his early struggles with narrowing the focus of customer needs.

This Weeks PodiumX

Reflect on this

Here is a question to consider:

  • What do you consider as the most important value of customer personas?

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