Learn to build data-driven, effective personas based on research

Online course:
Building data-driven personas

By Stefania Mereu, PhD,

Sr. Director User Experience @ HID Global

English subtitles Certificate included

Some of the companies that train their teams at CXL:


Customer personas can really drive your business forward

If you base them on data, not fluff and subjective ideation.

This course will teach you to combine qualitative research with quantitative methods to build truly representative personas in a research-based method that is both fast and rigorous.

In just 8 sessions, you’ll be able to…

  • Build truly representative and effective personas based on research.
  • Quantitatively segment your customer or user base.
  • Conduct successful interviews to integrate qualitative data into your personas.

Before this course, I always thought personas were based on qualitative research. The instructor not only provided the framework to understand what personas are about, but also used examples to teach us how to design one. The skills I’ve picked up help me to persuade my boss/clients that our data is worth even more than just traffic reports.

Cher Chang, Digital Marketing Strategist

Great course. The examples were very useful [along with] the constant repeating of the main aspects

Katrin Vogelgsang, Web Analyst @ Ippen Digital GmbH & Co. KG

Learn how to build strong personas and actually put them to use

In this course you’ll learn to identify elements of good personas, and provide you with actionable ways to incorporate them in your organization.

The course will also outline the difference between two different approaches in building personas—data-driven vs. hypothesis-driven. You will learn the advantages and disadvantages of each approach and understand which circumstances make one method more appropriate than the other. You’ll also learn to optimally combine qualitative research with quantitative data.

Lastly, you will learn how to package and market your personas in your organization.

Skills you will master

User segmentationBuyer personasQualitative user researchQuantitative methodsPersona building

I learned how to work with R a few years ago, but haven’t used it much since I started working. It was really nice to see a practical example of how to use R for one of the toughest marketing challenges – creating actionable personas.

Natalie Jamieson, Growth Hacker @ RockBoost

This course is right for you if…

  • You’re involved in any customer or user centric effort in a medium to large organization.
  • You own a startup of any kind, with or without existing customer or user base.
  • You’re a UX designer or UX researcher looking to step up their strategy game.

This course is probably not for you if…

  • You’re the user of your product (hint: this is an extremely rare circumstance).
  • You already have your bullet-proof method to create personas.
  • Your company’s monetization strategy exclusively depends on technology advancement.

Skills you should have before taking this course

  • Domain expertise on your specific industry (e.g., Marketing, UX Design, etc.)
  • Basic knowledge on how to use an electronic spreadsheet (i.e., data handling and graphs).
  • Basic statistics understanding (probability, descriptive statistics such as mean and mode, data summary and visualization)is ideal, but not completely necessary.

Stefania Mereu, PhD

Sr. Director User Experience @ HID Global

Stefania is a UX Data Scientist, Strategist & Evangelist. She is the director of user experience at HID Global. Before then, she was Sr. Quantitative UX Researcher at Express Scripts and Vice President of Research at Vast, a medium size startup that raised $14 million last year.

Your full course curriculum

Building data-driven personas

1 Personas

This introductory lecture will guide the user through some general, but important considerations about the use of personas in an organization, and will present a few real world use cases. What are they? How do you build them? And why? Class 1 slides (d

2 Elements of good user personas

The lecture will explain what elements need to be included in personas, how to make personas actionable, and how to maximize personas effectiveness by adapting their elements to the context in which they’ll be used. Resources Class slides Assignment Be

3 Hypothesis-driven vs data-driven personas

The third lecture will present two approaches in the creation of user personas, and will rationalize advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Assignment Before Class 3 – Think about elements of personas that could help you answer the questions yo

4 Quantitative, data driven user segmentation

This lecture will introduce you to the data-driven, quantitative method of creating personas. Assignment Before class 5: Create an example of data you’ve collected in the past, such as interview data, customer calls, training session notes, focus group

5 Qualitative validation of user segments

This lecture will introduce you to the process of creating personas through qualitative techniques. Resources Slides Assignment Before Class 5: Submit an example of data you’ve collected in the past, such as interview data, customer calls, training ses

6 Examples of personas for different industries

This lecture will follow up on Class 2, by presenting realistic use cases of personas for different industries. The lecture will explain which elements and data point are most useful for three different types of personas: customer personas, user person

7 Put it together and sell it

The process of packaging the persona is important to ensure that personas will be used in the organization. I’ll show how to package the personas to ensure effectiveness in the evangelization process. Resources Slides Assignment Before Class 7: Identif

8 Practical examples and wrap-up

We’ll examine several examples of student submitted data, and try to imagine what kind of personas the data could generate. Resources Slides

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Learn how to build personas: FAQ 

Who is this course for?

This course is right for you if…

  • You’re involved in any customer or user centric effort in a medium to large organization.
  • You own a startup of any kind, with or without existing customer or user base.
  • You’re a UX designer or UX researcher looking to step up their strategy game.

Some careers that will especially benefit from this course are UX manager, product manager, brand manager, digital marketing manager, and ecommerce manager. 

What will you learn?

After taking this course, you will:

  • Build truly representative and effective personas based on research.
  • Quantitatively segment your customer or user base.
  • Conduct successful interviews to integrate qualitative data into your personas.

What does the course include?

Our Data-driven Personas training includes 8 lessons, 8h 00min of video material, several assignments, and a final exam.

Are subtitles available for the lessons?

Lessons have English subtitles and transcriptions available.

Will I receive a certificate of completion?

After taking this course, you will receive the Data-driven Personas Certification from CXL, with credentials that you can add to your LinkedIn profile.

What is the refund policy?

All plans come with a 7-day refund period .

How long will it take for me to finish it?

This is entirely up to you – it’s how many study hours per week you can put in. This course is 8h 00min long.