How to Build Next Level Customer Personas

By Tinuiti Team

If you are still using your data in silos, you’re probably not targeting the right customers and lack a complete picture of your audience.

“Today’s most successful ecommerce and digital marketers thrive because of their ability to gather, analyze, and act on their data. Too many marketers struggle with incomplete, dirty, or poorly organized customer data, hindering their ability to build an accurate and effective growth plan.”

– Lakshmi Ramesh, Senior Director of Data Services at Tinuiti



What Are Customer Personas and Why Are They Important?

A customer persona (also known as a buyer persona) represents the key traits of a large segment of your audience, based on the data you’ve collected from user research and web analytics.

Brands can gain valuable insight by understanding the different buyer personas within their customer base. Understanding how customers interact with your brand in real-time allows you to tailor their experiences to improve engagement, brand loyalty and retention.

In order to build customer personas, you need to know:

To achieve these goals, we leverage:

Segmentation / Audience Clustering – Segmentation / Audience Clustering focuses on finding similarities between customers and grouping them based on their behaviors, interactions, and preferences. This allows brands to understand high-level characteristics of each customer bucket and tailor their customer experience accordingly.

Lookalike Audiences – Lookalike audience building allows brands to scale their marketing efforts based on customer persona insights. Brands can also leverage lookalike audiences to strategically drive acquisition and create audiences from target segments. The characteristics of the target segments can be enriched with additional attributes and analyzed for patterns of similarity with a larger audience. This allows for better targeted engagement, creative, etc.

How to Build Next Level Customer Personas

At Tinuiti, we know it’s important to get your data foundation right as early as possible because you don’t want to waste your time with “dirty” or incomplete data. The longer you use inaccurate data, the harder it is to retroactively clean it up.

Building Customer Personas: Crawl, Walk, Run

Crawl to Walk:

To build customer personas, it’s essential to capture, clean, and unify all first-party data. This includes data and touchpoints from the customer perspective including the number of transactions, frequency of purchase, recency, money spent, products purchased and more. To assist in the gathering of this data we typically use a CRM or Customer Data Platform (CDP) and stitch together all touchpoints into a unified customer database.

As we mentioned earlier, dirty data isn’t actionable data. We utilize our audit process and follow best practices to prevent any holes or mismatches in the data. The key is to gather an accurate picture of the user and their behaviors from all sources.

Walk to Run:

Next, we process the data and run a machine analysis. This allows us to understand patterns in the data and group customers who look like each other based on demographics, psychographics (interests, favorite stores), etc. This is also referred to as audience clustering.

Then we analyze each segment or “cluster”, and build personas to better understand them. What factors make these audiences similar? For example, do we have a group where we see low income vs. high income households? Or Gen Z versus Gen X? Our goal is to dig deep into the data (and utilize third party data) to truly understand the audience/customer. By analyzing each bucket or cluster of audiences, we can build lookalike audiences using trusted data to confidently market to new audiences with similar personas.

Understand Every Touchpoint with Our Data Technology

Earlier this week we introduced Mobius, Tinuiti’s proprietary suite of marketing intelligence and media activation technology that empowers businesses and marketers to truly understand every data touchpoint—and what comes next.

At Tinuiti, we don’t just look at a few facts and figures and hope for the best. Interpreting results based on poor data is bad for business—and your marketing dollars deserve better.

That’s why Mobius unites every single data touchpoint in one place, with three distinct products that help unify, optimize, and activate your performance marketing data unlike any other platform on the market:




No matter the size of your company, the industry you’re in, or the products you sell, the Mobius Suite provides exactly what you need to understand and act on your brand’s data so you’ll always know your next best move—and the one after that, too.

Want to learn more? Check out our recent announcement for Mobius here.

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