Meet Caitlyn, the User Persona Behind Campaigns in Kentico EMS

By Lucie Ostrcilova in Marketing
·9 min read

As Kentico redesigns its tools for online marketers, let’s look what is behind the scenes of one of the user personas we design the tools for.

What Is a User Persona?

In the context of marketing, a persona describes a typical customer of a product or service. The user persona is a similar concept, but it is applied in product design to depict the person that uses it. The art of creating a good user persona is thinking ahead.  In case you’re curious why, read more in How Do I Create a Persona and Where Should I Start?

How We Approach User Personas

Here at Kentico, we started using personas several years ago. The design team mapped all the roles that use Kentico at different points of time. Every single role contributing to website development and online marketing got its persona. Each persona then had a short description—age, hobbies, job responsibilities, and years in the field.

Identifying how many different roles used the system was useful. The personas were not. There were too many of them, and their differences were not clear. They also stayed on the surface, while we needed a deeper understanding of the users to be able to design a professional tool.

For a design team that needed to prove its value, this was a tough lesson. The designers sat down and spent more time on defining what the information they actually need was. The crucial insight that allows a designer to design a good tool confidently.

They also needed to tailor the persona design process to Kentico as a company at that time—the pace of starting a new project was crazy. Kentico switched to Agile development and introduced designers into the teams. Processes were fresh, people were learning how to cope with their new responsibilities, and projects happened without much preparation time. Rigorous up-front user research that went deep and wide was a utopia.

A solution to this was a two-step process. Step one meant gathering all data we were able to get. While collecting information, we focused on four main areas that we identified as being necessary. These were: what the users do, their workflow, their pains, and the tools they work with.

As a second step, we ideated the needs and wants of the user. We included other product development roles into this ideation step. There were two benefits to doing so. It allowed us to start transferring our knowledge. And we also gathered the further insights that the developers, product owners, and support specialists had in their heads.

In the end, we had a list of the needs of the persona, which was prioritized and validated by product management. In the meantime, designers were able to start creating quick concepts of features that would most likely be developed.

Caitlyn, the Campaign Manager

Caitlyn was created as a tool for redesigning the Campaigns application. Kentico wanted to increase the adoption of the advanced online marketing tools. To do so, we needed to improve the marketers' experience in Kentico. And to improve the experience, we needed to understand properly whom we were designing for.

We were suspicious about the differences between various marketing teams. Marketing a B2B service could have meant you needed a completely different tool from a fellow marketer that marketed a B2C line of products. We aimed to answer this question in our research. At the same time, we needed to understand the exact workflow of how people run and evaluate campaigns. Based on the research, we later defined a persona for our marketing features.

Meet Caitlyn:

Caitlyn, the Campaign Manager

Her job

What’s on her business card Her responsibilities
marketing specialist, marketing manager, marketing coordinator, or creative director

marketing campaigns and website content updates (she’s usually responsible for a specific part of a site)

preparing a detailed campaign plan in collaboration with other specialists— typically an event manager or product marketer or owner

organizes the production of campaign components and prepares the simpler ones on her own

responsible for the campaign launch, running and meeting the goal of the campaign

gathering data for reports that go to c-level management

when site content needs to be updated, she does it on her own or with the help of a content editor (the reason is that the content editor is responsible for the proper layout and display of the site content)

discusses ideas and next steps with other people involved in the campaign or another campaign manager

Her team (regardless of whether they promote B2B, B2C…)

Size Organization, physical arrangement Tools, equipment

8–16 people

In-house

there are 2–3 campaign managers in the team

might be internally arranged into a "marketing team" (campaign managers, event manager, product marketers) and a "marketing services" team (graphic designers, copywriters, front-end devs)

if team members are not working remotely, they are co-located in an open space

team members can have both Macs or PCs

just some team members have access to Kentico

they all use a task management or project management tool (Asana, Flow, Jira)

usually they have a website running on Kentico, but use multiple different tools for marketing:

 

- sending emails: Campaign manager, Ubiquity

- social posts: native tools

- PPC: Google AdWords + its desktop application

- tracking campaigns: Pardot, Campaign Manager, Hubspot

- deeper analysis: Google Analytics, usage of a heat map tool is rare

 

Her workflow, pains, and needs for managing campaigns

Workflow steps High-level workflow Needs (a subset of all needs we identified) Inputs Outputs

Tactical marketing plan

Senior team members meet and discuss yearly business targets and ways to target them.

(not investigated)

Business strategy (presentation)

Marketing plan (document or spreadsheet)

High-level campaign brief

During the same series of follow-up meetings, they prepare a rough plan of the most important campaigns.

Needs to be clear about strategy and have a tactical marketing plan

Needs to have access to various past data sources

Needs to understand what a realistic budget and KPI are

Marketing plan (document or spreadsheet)

Rough campaign plan (Word, Excel, a sketch; it can be one document for more campaigns)

Detailed campaign brief

When it’s time, the campaign manager starts to prepare a detailed campaign brief. She meets relevant people as needed.

Needs to be sure everybody involved in the campaign creation knows what to deliver and the restrictions they have

Needs everybody to understand the bigger picture, not just their part

Rough campaign plan, former data

Campaign brief (document, project in PM software)

(1) Content and design production

Campaign manager organizes the delivery of the content. If needed, she meets the people to clarify the details. Where an extra person is not needed, she prepares the campaign assets on her own.

Needs to be able to make adjustments according to feedback and resources

Needs to be able to reuse existing content and graphics

Needs to be able to review all content

Campaign brief (document, project in PM software)

Campaign content (documents, graphics, files, video)

(2) Campaign production

Campaign manager sews all the content together. Sometimes she gets the help of a content editor, usually because of CMS access rights. She sets up tracking, and channels and checks each part once its ready, and not all at once at the end.

Needs to be able to create a promotional email

Needs to be able to set up a mailout of promotional emails

Needs to be able to create social messages

Campaign content, lists of contacts

Landing page, email, PPC campaigns, scheduled social posts, print items, ads, banners, Google Analytics setup

(3) Campaign check

Campaign manager checks the visitor experience. Uses her devices and asks her colleagues to check it on theirs.

Needs to be helped with a content check—working links, working file downloads

Needs to be helped with a rough check of browsers, devices, and clients

 

 

(4) Content distribution and launch

Campaign manager sends catalogs, brochures, etc., where they are needed. She informs everybody involved about what they need to do, should not do, and the schedule.

Needs to be able to schedule the campaign from one place

 

 

(5) Monitoring and adjusting campaign

Campaign manager briefly checks main data on a daily basis and does tweaks after a week or more. She reports about the campaign at a team/management sync meeting.

Needs to be able to evaluate a campaign after launch

Needs to be notified if the campaign has some issues

Campaign brief, campaign data, email data, social data, PPC data, ads data… (HTML, spreadsheet)

Spreadsheet with contacts or data to compare

(6) Campaign evaluation

Campaign manager hands over data for reports. This data is the same throughout the whole year. Sometimes, she shares more insights for a case study or writes one.

Needs to be able to get a campaign report

Needs to be able to share a case study or report with other people involved

Needs to be able to share raw data

Campaign brief, campaign data, email data, social data, PPC data, ads data… (HTML, spreadsheet)

Reports (document, spreadsheet, or presentation)

What Works Better Now?

Today, we aim to (re)design experiences only for one or two personas at the same time. This, together with the two-step process, allowed us to adapt to the pace of the company and go deep enough. Our user personas give us the insight we need when designing a tool for specialists.

We ideate new features together with other roles and create early concepts. A side effect of this is that we get more accurate feedback on our ideas. Suddenly, they are not just words, but something tangible.

The new personas also turned out to be fairly reusable. We recycle them when extending the features we already have. When the product should perform a whole new job for the user, we still need extensive research. However, having a persona already, we just dig deeper into her specific activity or job.

What Are the Two Key Takeaways?

Number one: Create personas once you need them. It saves you a lot of time, and the personas will be way more useful when made for a specific purpose. And the other one: Make sure you go deep enough and look behind the curtain. Demographic information and a plain list of job responsibilities won't help you much with product design.

How closely does Caitlyn, the campaign manager describe you or your marketing team? And what lessons have you learned when designing personas?

By Lucie Ostrcilova in Marketing
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