Customer segmentation and personas

Photo: Outi Kähkönen


In this lesson, you learn about ways to group customers into segments and how to step into your customer’s shoes with the help of a customer persona.

Task 1:

Study the segmentation of

1. Which kind of segmentation is it?
2. Compare each segment to your organization’s strategy and goals. Which segment/s seems to match your company’s goals and resources best?

Customer persona

Task 2: 

Create a customer persona representing the most important market segment of your company. You may use this customer persona template.

Remember that the persona is created on the basis of data acquired from various sources, ideally co-creating it together with the customers.
See also: Customer persona workshop instructions and tools  created by Haaga-Helia

Empathy map

To gain better customer understanding, an easy tool to use is empathy mapping. First, read the blog post on empathy mapping .

For example, in the PAN project we used the empathy map as follows:

To better understand the hiking and biking visitors in the national park, the workshop participants were each given an outdoor enthusiast profile (created by Metsähallitus, in Finnish). They went out hiking or biking, and recorded their reactions based on the empathy map questions. This exercise of stepping into the visitor’s shoes opened their ideas and gave them numerous ideas which will be further developed.

Task 3: Use either the Empathy map tool (pdf file)created in the PALMA project or the Empathy map (pdf file) that was used in the above-mentioned case. For example, pick a service situation that you want to analyse. Fill in the fields in the pdf file and save the document for yourself.

See also: Empathy mapping workhop instructions and tools created by Haaga-Helia

Sources and further reading

Aaltonen, A. & Ihalainen, N. (eds.) 2020. Yhdevertaisuutta luontomatkailuun. Esteettömien ja saavutettavien luontomatkailupalveluiden suunnitteluopas. . 

I Feel Slovenia 2016. Slovenian Tourism Target Group Personas.

Honkanen, A., Sammalkangas, J. & Satokangas, P. 2021. Kotimaanmatkailun nykytila ja potentiaali – selvitys kohderyhmistä ja kehittämistoimista. TEM julkaisuja 14/2021. Accessed 30 April 2021

Konu, H. & Kajala, L. 2012. Segmenting Protected Area Visitors Based on Their Motivations. Metsähallituksen luonnonsuojelujulkaisuja, Sarja A 194. Vantaa: Metsähallitus. Accessed 30 April 2021

Kähkönen, O. 2022. Customer Segmentation and Personas: Tools for Understanding the Customers. In M. Angeria, M. Hirvaskari & O. Kähkönen (Eds) Phenomena of Arctic Nature. Principles and Practices of Nature-based Tourism, 83-88.

Nylund, S. 2021. Retkeilijäprofiilit. Vantaa: Metsähallitus. 2015. Retkeilyreittien ja -matkailun suunnitteluopas.

Pesonen, J. 2013. Developing Market Segmentation in Tourism: Insights from a Finnish Rural Tourism Study. Dissertations in Social Sciences and Business Studies. University of Eastern Finland No 69.

Pesonen, J. & Tuohino, A. 2015. Activity-based Market Segmentation of Rural Well-being Tourists: Comparing Online Information Search. Journal of Vacation Marketing 23(2).

Tronvig Group 2019. A Helpful Starter Guide to Thinking Like Your Persona.

Visit Britain 2021. Understanding Our Customer Segments. Accessed 11 May 2021

Visit Finland 2018. Tunne asiakkaasi. Kohderyhmäopas matkailuyrityksille.

Visit Finland 2020. Traveller 2030 Scenarios. Longer version available in Finnish–skenaariot.pdf.