January 9, 2024 | 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm ET 


MSI Webinar: The Pitfalls of Marketing Personas when Analyzing Customer Data

Segmentation, the process of dividing up a heterogeneous consumer base into smaller, more homogeneous, segments, is an essential part of marketing strategy. After segmenting the consumer base, marketing managers often try to make segments “come to life” by assigning descriptive names (e.g., “Minivan Moms,” “Urban Millenials”) and by writing personas (detailed, fictional representations describing a typical consumer in the segment).


While common wisdom has claimed multiple benefits of these sense-making efforts (e.g., increasing customer centricity, unlocking a better understanding of consumers’ desires…), little is known about how segment-naming and persona-writing influence people’s perceptions of consumer segments. In this webinar, we will show that these practices can paradoxically make people worse at predicting consumers’ characteristics and preferences: They lead us to amplify the true differences that exist between segments, and to compress the heterogeneity that exist within each segment. We will also suggest potential remedies to mitigate these effects and increase the usefulness of marketing personas.


Download the Presentation

Watch the Recording

Read the Working Paper

Read the Research Recap


Quentin André

University of Colorado

Quentin André is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder. Quentin uses experiments to investigate how decision-makers of all kinds (consumers, managers, or even researchers themselves) process and use quantitative information. Some of the topics he has studied include how marketing managers make sense of consumer segments, how consumers assess the variability of prices across categories, how managers become overconfident in their understanding of the business world, and how researchers deal with statistical outliers. Quentin also researches (and advocates for) methods that can increase the efficiency, reliability, and transparency of marketing research. At Leeds, he is teaching the Marketing Strategy class in the MBA program, and the Data Analytics class in the Masters’ program.

By using MSI.org you agree to our use of cookies as identifiers and for other features of the site as described in our Privacy Policy.