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So at my workplace, we create an hardware product which uses distributors to sell the product to their end-costumers (common distribution).

The question is, how can a persona be defined when the value of the product is understood by our distributors (it's them who buy the product) but those who use it is their end-costumers? And how can the persona be defined on these circumstances?

Side-note: it's a technical and complex piece of hardware we sell (robots) so distributors are the ones who sell the robot but they also install it and make it run based on the end-costumer needs

  • You can have both as personas and both can influence the design of the product. However, it's important that the product works best for the people who are going to use it most and may recommend it to their peers. – Andrew Martin Jul 24 '17 at 10:15
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Both.

If you're redesigning a website for an online retailer, you don't design it with that retailer in mind, you do it for the people who will browse and buy the products.

That said, in the scenario above, you shouldn't be ignorant of the needs of other users, you should create a persona for them too, so you can cater for what they need.

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  • It's not so linear as having an online retailer website and sell products. Those retailers are only interested if the product solves a need in the market and if can provide good margins. The problem here is a bit more complex: we sell a technical and complex piece of hardware (robots) so distributors are the ones who sell the robot but they also install it and make it run based on the end-costumer needs (think like how PC's were installed in the 80/90's, they needed technical people) – Joao Carvalho Jul 25 '17 at 13:31
  • That's why I qualified it in the second paragraph. – DarrylGodden Jul 25 '17 at 13:32
  • @JoaoCarvalho For instance, the robot "obviously" needs to be capable of doing the things end-users want to make it do, but adding "demonstration mode code" that resellers can invoke to "wow" potential users may be worth it. – TripeHound Jul 26 '17 at 9:40
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Creating a persona is only useful if you want to understand and communicate for who you are designing.

As far as I understand your product is not used by the distributors and so it doesn't make sense to create persona's of distributors while they don't represent the user. The design decisions for the product should be based on what you know about it's users.

On the other hand, if you need a marketing strategy you could also create persona's that represent distributors so it's possible to understand and communicate better how to sell the product to them.

Based on your doubts in the comment I can tell that you need a marketing strategy and train distributors to think as users of the product. As that will be the way for them to sell a product that is designed for real users and not just for them. It should also help them to sell it easier as the product should be better understood by customers and thus more desirable.

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  • Although it's not used by distributors, they need to understand the product and how to use it. In the end, the same way it need to solve their end-costumer's necessity, they also need to understand the value proposition of the product. So, based on this, I have doubts about this part of your answer: "so it doesn't make sense to create persona's of distributors while they don't represent the user." – Joao Carvalho Jul 25 '17 at 13:25
  • A "distributor persona" is valid: as I commented above, it may be valid to add features to the product "just" to help distributors demonstrate it to potential users. – TripeHound Jul 26 '17 at 9:44
  • @TripeHound, Yes if special features are added for distributors, they become users and it is valid to create distributor persona's for the product too. But since this was not mentioned in the question, I made the assumption this is not the case. – jazZRo Jul 26 '17 at 9:54
  • I saw "can/how a distributor be a persona" as at least an implicit part of the question, especially in the light of Andrew Martin's comment to the question, but accept it's not explicitly stated. – TripeHound Jul 26 '17 at 10:06
  • That's indeed a way to read the question, I thought it is just about how to define a persona and not when to define a persona for distributors. Based on this part: "...how can a persona be defined when the value of the product is understood by our distributors..." it's not very clear to me why the product needs modifications for distributors when they already know it's value. – jazZRo Jul 26 '17 at 10:21

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