Iterative Marketing Podcast Episode 14: How To Wrangle Your Buyer Personas With a Matrix

We marketers love personas. But how do we know when one persona ends, and another begins? And how many should we have? The Persona Matrix helps us answer these questions.

Episode Show Notes

Introduction to the Persona Matrix 

(0:00 – 2:08) Introduction to the Iterative Marketing Podcast: Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast, where, each week, hosts Steve Robinson and Elizabeth Earin provide marketers and entrepreneurs with actionable ideas, techniques, and examples to improve marketing results. The topic of this episode is creating and managing personas using a matrix to improve marketing results.

The resources discussed on the show can be found at, which includes a blog and a LinkedIn group for community interaction.

(2:08- 4:09) Definition of Persona Matrix: The persona matrix is used to address three common questions faced by organizations when dealing with personas. The matrix is a simple table that can help determine the number of personas needed, clarify the distinctions between personas, and relate the personas back to existing audience segmentation. The persona matrix serves as an invaluable tool during the persona development process and remains useful even after the personas are established, as it helps keep track of their relationships and characteristics across multiple industries.

Simplifying The Persona Development Process with The  Persona Matrix

(4:09 – 5:21)  Simplifying Audience Segmentation: The persona matrix is a simple table that helps organize audience segmentation. The matrix consists of one set of segments along the top row and another set along the left side, reflecting existing segmentation strategies used in CRM or marketing automation systems. The persona matrix is not meant to reinvent the wheel but to clarify and streamline the process of understanding how personas fit together. For businesses with more than two segmentation strategies, it’s essential to identify the most relevant segments to focus on when using the persona matrix.

(5:21 – 8:56) Persona Matrix for B2B and B2C: For B2B organizations, the matrix typically consists of job titles or roles and industries, while B2C matrices may focus on other criteria, such as income level and life stage. By assigning persona names to the intersections of these segments, marketers can identify similarities and differences among personas, which helps with customer journey mapping, content creation, and channel alignment.

(8:56 – 9:40) Keeping the Persona Matrix Simple and Effective: The key to an effective persona matrix is choosing the most relevant segmentation strategies and avoiding over-complication. It is important to use fewer columns and rows to ensure the process remains helpful and manageable. By keeping the matrix simple and focused, marketers can maintain a positive trajectory in persona development and improve their marketing efforts.

Charity Outreach

(9:40 – 10:34) Charity Break: PTSD Foundation of America

Using the Persona Matrix to Address Common Persona Questions

(10:34 – 12:38) Determining the Number of Personas: The number of personas needed for a company varies based on factors like the target audience and decision-makers. In some cases, a single persona might suffice, while other businesses may require multiple personas across industries and roles. When developing a marketing strategy, it is essential to distinguish between primary personas, secondary personas, and influencers. Assigning names to personas can help acknowledge their existence and roles, but it does not necessarily mean that a full profile and research process must be conducted for each one. The goal is to have as few personas as possible while still producing targeted materials and media strategies.

(12:38 – 14:41) Identifying Commonalities and Combining Personas: To determine whether personas should be combined or split, consider whether the messages or media used to reach them would differ. When developing personas, identify their key aspirations, goals, and frustrations to recognize any significant differences. If the personas resonate with the same messages and share similar habits, they can likely be combined. 

To streamline persona discovery meetings, prepare a list of names beforehand to avoid potential confusion or delays. Keep extra names on hand and avoid using names of high-profile customers or participants’ spouses to ensure effective persona development.

(14:41 – 15:57) Where Does One End and One Begin? The persona matrix’s visual grid format helps address the question of where one persona ends and another begins. Typically, if a persona is reused, it will be across a column or a row, as the same persona within a given role, job title, or industry is more likely to share similarities. Identifying the edges becomes easier as the changes in the message or targeting methods become more apparent. Be prepared for these changes, splits, or combinations to occur during either the persona discovery meeting or the later stages of persona research.

(15:57 – 17:19) Connecting Personas to Segmentation: The persona matrix helps draw a connection between existing segmentation strategies and a persona-first marketing mindset, enabling marketers to adopt a more focused and effective approach. By aligning products and media with specific personas, businesses can ensure their marketing efforts resonate with their target audience, ultimately enhancing their overall strategy.

Additional Benefits of The Persona Matrix 

(17:19 – 18:23) Prioritizing Marketing Efforts: The persona matrix not only helps establish a persona-centric mindset but also provides additional benefits, such as prioritizing which personas to focus on. By giving context to a list of names, the matrix allows sales and marketing teams to visually identify key personas and allocate their efforts accordingly. This targeted approach ensures resources are used effectively to generate new business.

(18:23 – 19:18) Aligning Marketing and Sales: The persona matrix helps ensure all bases are covered and identifies primary, secondary, and influencer personas. By plotting segments on the matrix, marketing and sales teams can agree on target personas and their roles, eliminating past disconnects. This streamlined approach aids in documenting everyone you’re communicating with and ensures both marketing and sales teams are aligned in their efforts.

(19:18 – 20:19) Enhancing Communication: A refined persona matrix not only ensures better alignment between marketing and sales but also serves as a valuable reference for the entire organization. By distributing the matrix to different teams, everyone can better understand the personas being targeted, leading to a smoother adoption of the persona-first mindset. However, before sharing the matrix, it is crucial to review and optimize it by combining or separating personas as needed to avoid confusion and extra work later on.

Join Us Next Time

(20:19 – 21:33Conclusion: This concludes this week’s episode on the Persona Matrix. Join us next week where we’ll discuss what’s wrong with the traditional marketing campaign.

Have a great week and we’ll see you next time. This concludes this week’s episode. For notes and links to resources discussed on the show, sign up to the Brilliant Metrics newsletter.

Iterative Marketing is a part of the Brilliant Metrics organization. If you would like more information on the marketing services provided by the expert team at Brilliant Metrics, reach out today for a free discovery call.

The Iterative Marketing Podcast,  a production of Brilliant Metrics, ran from February 2016 to September 2017. Music by SeaStock Audio.

Learn more about Iterative Marketing and listen to other episodes on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

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