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Understanding personas for healthcare

In this article, Head of Insight Martine Leroy tackles the persona. Here, she breaks down for us what a persona is in the context of customer-centric design, and addresses some frequently asked questions about these and other tools used for improving customer engagement.
In recent years, there has been a big shift in how pharma and healthcare companies approach the design and development of patient services. Something we’ve talked about a lot at Blue Latitude Health is the move toward customer-centricity and what that actually means in the healthcare and pharma context. Out of those conversations has emerged a need for more clarity around some of the tools used in the customer-centric design process.

In this article, Head of Insight Martine Leroy tackles one of those tools: the persona. Here, she breaks down for us what a persona is in the context of customer-centric design, and addresses some frequently asked questions about these and other tools used for improving customer engagement.
 


What is a persona, and how does it differ from a pen portrait or a segment?

First, let’s remember that personas, pen portraits and segments are all tools designed for a specific objective and that they need to be fit for that purpose. Additionally, the three tools are developed from the bottom up, which means they are grounded in customer-centric data and information.  

Simply put, a persona is an individual representation of a group of customers and their behaviours, attitudes, and context. It’s a tool that gives life to the customer by illustrating their everyday activities, frustrations, pain points, and motivations. Driven by quantitative and qualitative data about actual customers, the persona is a valuable tool and point of reference used to keep the customer at the centre of the design process.


Pen portraits and customer segments are also tools that are used in the design process to improve customer engagement, but they are generated differently from a persona. A pen portrait is one level above the persona – it is broader, and is considered an overview of who the customer might be and what they might do. The pen portrait focuses on general customer lifestyle or on their role, related needs, and actions.


A customer segment is designed to support targeted communications and marketing. We do customer segmentation to identify and summarise groups of potential (or existing) customers, focusing on what drives their behaviour. In pharma, we tend to develop physician segments based on their attitudes and prescribing behaviours, and also increasingly develop segments for other healthcare professionals (HCPs). In each of those segments might exist 2-3 different personas, HCPs who exhibit similar prescribing behaviour but who are driven by different motivations.



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29th April 2016

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