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BLOGDerived Personas and Lead Profiles

by Randall CraigFiled in: Make It Happen Tipsheet, Blog, Business Development, CRM, MarketingTagged as: , ,

Many organizations use personas to segment and target their marketing efforts. But how do you know you’ve actually got it right?

Derived Personas and Lead Profiles

That your personas are accurate? And that you are focussing your efforts (and budget) on the priority personas? Up to a few short years ago, you couldn’t. You could guess, you could do some market research, but you couldn’t actually know. But today, there is a way to tell. Enter derived personas.

In the olden days, personas were decided by gut, and then supported (or not) by market research. Pages would be written about their demographic, psychographic (and other) attributes; Personas would be named.

Derived personas are fundamentally different. Consider that most organizations are collecting significant data on every interaction with every prospect and client. Some of it is external (web, mobile locations, social media, email clicks, real-world interactions), some of it is internal (CRM, ERP, etc.), and some of it comes from third parties (data brokers, government statistics, partners, etc.). While few organizations have fully integrated all of the data from all of the sources, many have begun the process.

As this happens, the organization grows an ever more robust data profile on every individual that has interacted with them. While this profile is invaluable for those in sales and business development, the aggregate profiles are invaluable for marketers. Here’s how: using machine learning and sophisticated analytics, organizations can derive what the personas SHOULD BE, based on the actual behavioral data. and then “back out” the lead profiles (and engagement journeys) for each of these derived personas. And this opens the door to more effective and efficient marketing.

At the end of the day, are derived personas better than “gut” ones? Maybe not… but maybe there is something here. The one thing we know for sure is that if we base our “gut” decisions on data, we’ll make better decisions in the end.


The better the data, the more likely that any derived personas will have a greater impact. This week, focus on data integration. And once this is done… start your learning about machine learning.

Related post: Targeting: From Gut to Segmentation to Individual TargetingEleven Key Marketing Automation Sequences

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