Do broadband Colts Fans have & personas

ClickZ recently reported on a research study which claims to reveal five unique personalities of broadband users. Ninety-percent of visitors to Colts use broadband connections, so let’s look into it…

Here are the top-level descriptions of the five groups (from Media Screen)

The content king looks to the Web for entertainment. .

Social clickers use the Internet as a means of communication.

The online insider consumes content across the broader Web. Eighty-six percent contribute to Internet content or information each month, including posting to blogs, community sites, and chat rooms.

Fast trackers typically use the Internet to seek out news and information. Content categories include news, sports, and weather. Fast trackers remain loyal to sources with frequent updates and real-time information.

The everyday pro is characterized by personal productivity and efficiency and looks to the Internet to fulfill those needs.

These handy little descriptors are examples of what designers call “personas”. Personas are fictitious characters that are created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are given characteristics and are assumed to be in particular environments based on known users’ requirements so that these elements can be taken into consideration when creating scenarios for conceptualizing a site.

In the context of software requirements gathering, a user persona is a representation of a real audience group. A persona description includes a user’s context, goals, pain points, and major questions that need answers. Personas are a common tool in Interaction Design (WikiPedia).

A book called “the Inmates are running the asylum,” by Alan Cooper, touched of a rise in popularity of this persona concept. I have not read this yet, but it looks like a good one.

Can we uncover the personas of Colts fans on-line?

I can’t draw any conclusions based on the brief thumbnail descriptions above, but I’m intrigued. I think the persona might hold some rich opportunity for us as we continue digging into the data.

Approximately 1 million people visit every month. Who are these people? What drives them? How are they different from other Colts fans who do not visit our Web site? Which of these fans are most likely to join My Colts Network and why?

These are just some of the questions that prompted me to craft the survey I’ve been writing about lately. Yet as I pour over the data I find myself wondering “what the heck does all this mean?” After all, I am not a trained researcher. I’m simply following my nose and asking questions that occur to me to ask. I feel like there must be some defining characteristics about our on-line fans that makes them not only distinct from other fans, but will reveal their potential value to the team as well as our sponsors.

I was reminded of the concept of personas recently and it occurred to me that this may be just what I’m looking for. If I can focus on finding the personas it will help us design our new site(s) with specific end users in mind. These personas might also inform our strategies for marketing to these fans in the future.

There are three main reasons why all this data matters (to me anyway).

First, the Website is already a key communications channel for teams and season ticket holders. Anything we can do to improve our service to our core customers is going to increase loyalty and hence profitability.

Second, the Website reaches a huge audience of avid fans, and these fans are most likely to buy team merchandise.

Third, these same avid fans are the best prospects for sponsors looking to leverage team affinity to sell goods and services. Many of our sponsors have already discovered that their best customers are “multi-channel”.

Multi-channel customers are most profitable

It has been widely reported that “multi-channel” customers are the most valuable to retailers.
A study in the United States by the National Retail Federation found that multichannel customers purchase more often and spend more than single-channel customers. Customers who visit a retailer’s Web site and then buy from a retail store spend 33 percent more than the retailer’s typical store customers.

I wonder if the same is true for sports fans?

Is there anything about fans who visit the Website frequently that sets them apart from “off-line” fans? And surely not all on-line fans are alike. There are probably various personas we could uncover which would help us understand what drives the on-line Colts (sports) fans. Are these people the centers of influence who determine which products their friends will buy?

I have already reached out to some friends in the research community to see if I can get some help. I would like to add some scientific discipline to this endeavor so that our results might carry more weight. If you know anyone who can help, please send them my way.