Capital One Engages Developers With Personas

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

 Five developer personas were created for Capital One.
Five developer personas were created for Capital One.

Targeted personas helped Capital One connect with developers to promote a new online financial technology portal.

Last year, Capital One introduced the Capital One DevExchange Developer Portal, a resource offering tools and APIs to enable developers to use the financial institution’s software building resources to create better customer experiences.

Personas played a big role in the marketing of the DevExchange Portal, said Kendall Morris, chief strategy officer, Authentic. The typical way to market to developers is to look at technology type, job function, how proficient they are at coding, company size, what they are building for and demographic attributes.

Authentic worked with Capital One, and found that it is more important to focus on what developers are trying to accomplish, and their professional motivations and needs. Marketers need to think about people beyond one narrowly defined stereotype, noted Morris at the recent Martech conference.

“Think about who your buyer is,” she said. “You may have one generic stereotype of ‘Susan the soccer mom’ but there are many other things in her journey. Different people need to be marketed to in different ways, based on their life phase.”

Different developers have different primary goals, Morris said. For example, when they were thinking about external developers, they might have just assumed they wanted to make as much money as possible.

“We would have missed two core segments if we just went with our instincts,” she said.

The bank looks at research from VisionMobile and found that while 39% are most interested in revenue, 23% are focused on growing their business, and 36% are most interested in self-improvement.

“If you live with a developer or hang out with them, you know this is true,” said Morris. “There’s a special culture built around developers that you need to embrace and respect—they have a quest for knowledge beyond just becoming the next Zuckerberg.”

The most important motivator for developers, according to VisionMobile, is personal fulfillment, followed by commercial success and community belonging. “This impacts the content you deliver to them and the way you support your efforts,” she said.

Using this information, Capital One created five developer personas: Sam, the self-improver; Bhushal, the business expander; Tina, the technology influencer; Rae, the revenue seeker; and Ed, the enterprise operator.

Like people, personas are dynamic, noted Morris.

“Developers are a challenging segment for marketers,” she said, noting that individuals in this area might shift roles as frequently as every six months. “Sam, the self improver, might be in marketing but is learning how to code. [His persona] changes as he’s on the job, and gains new skills.”

The use of the personas wasn’t restricted to marketing. The personas were used all the way back to the product development phase, and implemented in user testing.

Capital One also found that developers actually loved the idea of the personas. The bank took them to events and asked developers which of the five personas best represented them, giving out stickers so they could identify themselves as their chosen avatar.

“We weren’t sure if this would seem inauthentic, but it has created a great dialogue,” said Morris. “It helped us create a dialogue with customers by saying ‘this is who we want to connect with,’ and ask them if [the personas] represented them and where they wanted to go in the future.”

Personas are helpful in implementing personalization at scale said Jason Heller, global lead of digital marketing operations, McKinsey & Co. This means using customer and prospect triggers to optimize the timing, content, offer and design of every experience. Messaging can be tailored in real-time to each customer, depending on their attributes, context and behaviors throughout their omnichannel journey.

“Fundamentally, personalization at scale is data activation,” he said at Martech. “A customized data resource can stitch together a view of data to enhance targeting, optimize paid channels, enable personalization of owned channels and create a feedback loop for the whole thing.”

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