Exploratory Research :

User typologies, segmentation, pen portraits, personas

In order to make informed marketing decisions, it is important to understand your target audience. The more you know about your customers, the more targeted you can develop products or services and engage with them. To do this, you first need to get an accurate, detailed and holistic picture of your customers.

Typologies and segmentation

The main objective of a typology or segmentation is to get to know the market better, to identify the main target groups and to create the basis for targeted marketing and communication strategies. With the help of a typology or segmentation, we can identify the psychographic characteristics and lifestyles of consumers, such as their motivations, attitudes, behaviours, routines, beliefs, etc.

For example, we found that cat owners are more introverted, empathetic and culturally interested, while dog owners are more active, sociable and communicative, and we were able to identify the key audiences in both groups and the differences between them.

Pen Portraits

A pen portrait is a written description of a person or specific type of customer that includes a detailed profile with key characteristics, behaviours, preferences, demographics, psychographics and other relevant details.

For example, a user profile could describe a typical user of a product in terms of age, occupation, hobbies, purchasing habits, online behaviour, problems, goals, etc. 

Pen portraits can be based in whole or in part on actual data and research and are often an important part of a user or customer persona.


The term 'persona' has two meanings. One refers to what is distinctive, unique and individual about a person. The other refers to what a person represents in a particular role, in a particular collective. The use of the term moves between the description of an individual and that of a role, between the individual and the function in a collective. 

In market research, 'persona' is used as a synonym for 'type/archetype/prototypical character/exemplary representative of a genus' to describe people with certain characteristics or to assign them to certain groups. The term thus helps to differentiate target groups on the basis of relevant criteria and to identify similarities and differences between consumers, what drives them and how best to communicate with them.

At Séissmo, for example, we use personas for B2B studies to help a client in the construction industry improve the customer experience and customer journey of their customers, develop targeted marketing materials and integrate a persona perspective into future product development.

However, a focus on specific personas runs the risk of ignoring other relevant audiences and therefore potentially missing important insights.

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