organic and tangent personas

If we know the radius of a circle, we can calculate its circumference.  Personas can give us the radius by which we square to get the diameter or breadth of your audience.  The circumference forms the basis for designing touch points and scenarios that address the needs of your inner circle of key purchasers and influencers.  This inner circle is where the primary focus should lie.  The long tale kicks in with people outside of the inner circle.        

A tangent touches the circle but does not penetrate it. When we apply this to the realm of personas, we find that a similar tangent metaphor exists with personas constructed out of thin air with no underlying ethnographic research to back up the collective assumptions that form the basis for opinions about how a person might interact with your product or service in the real world.  

Organically developed personas also polarize people.  It’s better to use a persona to get it right for at least 50% of the circle, as opposed to shooting blindly and addressing the needs of only a tenth of the inner circle.  When it’s impractical to touch every single person, you resort to statistical methodology and select a statistically significant sample of the population for your laddering exercises.  This will let you craft more natural and organic personas.