Consider Campbell Hausfeld. The Harrison, Ohio-based company has long supplied specialized tools and equipment to Home Depot, Lowe's and other major home-center and hardware retailers, relying on the chains to tell them what consumers would want.
But they concluded that they could do a better job of that themselves. Hilarie Meyer, director of marketing, and Jim Samocki, director of product development, came up with eight personas representing their end-customer segments, including a woman do-it-yourselfer and an elderly consumer.
The understanding they gained through the use of personas helped Campbell Hausfeld develop new features and products-such as a lighter-weight drill and one that includes a level for picture hanging-and sell the chains on their appeal. And their grasp of personas has especially helped Ms. Meyer and Mr. Samocki as Campbell Hausfeld has gotten even closer to consumers by putting its products into multi-level marketing channels.