Personas continue to be a hot topic in our training classes and in the blogosphere. Kristin Zhivago fears we might be instead of getting to know actual customers.
Kristin is right as usual; nothing can replace the value of interviewing a real person. And you can see a lot more in an onsite interview than you can hear in a phone interview.
I'm frequently asked about surveys and phone calls and telemarketing and a dozen other methods for not visiting clients. Why is it so hard for product managers and marketers (not all of course, but many) to visit customers and non-customers?
Personas are a powerful tool to convey market information in context for marketing and development. But those who create personas must be grounded in the market. Interview some people before you begin.
Michael has some.