I visited a company years ago for a marketing class field trip. I can't remember the name of the company, but I never forgot Bubba. Imagine a morning meeting and all they did was talk about Bubba. This company lived for Bubba.
Bubba was "that guy" that left work at the end of the day, in fact was dying to leave work at the end of the day so he could go play. Bubba worked hard so he could afford to play. Bubba liked to fish. Bubba liked to hunt. Bubba like to go 4-wheeling. Bubba had a boat. Bubba had a snow machine, a 4-wheeler, a jeep, a pickup and a wife who liked to do all those things too.
The company who had those morning meetings even had a few people like Bubba working there. The company was an outfitter store like maybe an early LLBean type of place. I'm guessing by now, you have in your head someone you could characterize as Bubba. I'm also guessing you could imagine the type of store that Bubba likes to go to.
Bubba was a figment of this company's imagination, a persona of their customer. But everybody in the company knew Bubba. And everything the company did, they did for Bubba. Bubba loved this company.
I never forgot the lesson. The customer persona is taught in marketing classes and forgotten in the real world. What you'll see instead is that companies get caught up in their own language, their own geek speak. I have the same problem. In a recent meeting with a client I was discussing how we could help... "Well, we have to SEO the site..." I had a client ask me...what's an esseeoh?
There are two people in a room, one a customer and one an internet marketing genius. One of them says "esseeoh". Who's the idiot? Clue: It ain't the customer.