Crafting Dynamic Customer Personas: A Lemonade Stand’s Journey with HubSpot and ChatGPT

Navid Rezaei
6 min readNov 6, 2023
Generated by DALL-E 3

As part of the AWS Build Accelerator, I encountered this free and nice tool from HubSpot to organize my thoughts about a customer persona for a business. I thought of combining it with ChatGPT (GPT-4) to reach a more detailed first version of the customer persona.

A customer persona, also known as a buyer persona, is a semi-fictional archetype that represents the key traits of a large segment of your audience, based on the data you’ve collected from user research and web analytics. It is detailed and includes demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed a persona is, the better it can guide your decisions regarding product development, customer service, content creation, and marketing strategies.

In recent publications, the power of large language models (LLMs) have been iterated to do market research [1]. Based on the analysis of [1], LLMs’ responses were consistent with economic behaviors, such as declined price sensitivity with increased income or willingness to pay (WTP). However, the LLMs are sensitive to prompts and can also generate inaccurate information if not grounded on real data.

In this example, our goal is to build a customer persona for a lemonade stand. We start with a customer persona visualizer by HubSpot and try to iterate on our initial persona using ChatGPT to achieve an improved first version.

NOTE: Please note that achieving a customer persona is better done with domain expertise and iterative customer interviews. However, this method can work as a start.

Let’s start with this free HubSpot tool to fill out the details of the customer persona for a lemonade stand, based on our understanding. After answering the questions, such as name of persona and their education, we have the following. We assumed the main customers are parents of children, which may be a wrong first assumption, but we will iterate.

Great! The first version is our try to describe a parent persona, who probably lives in the neighborhood.

As ChatGPT can process images, we upload a screenshot of this to ChatGPT and ask it to do an updated version. Here is the prompt:

Pretend you are a seasoned product manager great at writing customer personas. I am giving you a customer/buyer persona for a lemonade stand business. Assuming a parent from the neighborhood is the target customer, please criticize it first and then update it based on your knowledge and criticism step-by-step. Feel free to add modules to the persona that were missing

The main criticisms by ChatGPT are:

  1. Lack of Specificity: The persona is too generic. “Parent” is a broad category, and the characteristics need to be more specific to the target customer of a lemonade stand.
  2. Relevance to Product: It’s unclear how some of the details, like “reports to child” and job responsibilities like “earning income”, directly relate to their interaction with a lemonade stand.
  3. Missing Financial Information: There’s no mention of budget or spending habits, which are crucial for a product like lemonade that is an impulse buy.
  4. Lack of Psychographics: The persona should include psychographics like values, attitudes, and lifestyle which are highly relevant to how a parent might view a neighborhood lemonade stand.
  5. Purchasing Power and Habits: There’s no information on purchasing power or habits, like how often they would buy lemonade or what might trigger a purchase.
  6. Missing Emotional Drivers: For a lemonade stand, the emotional drivers could be supporting local businesses or teaching their kids about commerce. These should be included.
  7. Community Engagement: Since it mentions helping their community, it should also specify how this parent engages with their community and how that could be relevant to a lemonade stand.

The model also suggests updates to demographics, financial information, add psychographics, purchasing power and habits, emotional drivers, and community engagement. It also suggests adding new modules, such as purchase triggers, preferred flavors and options, health and dietary restrictions, and brand interaction. For example for purchase triggers, it prompts us to think about what scenarios trigger them to buy lemonade, e.g. heatwave, after-school treat, or weekend family walks.

Given all the details, we ask the model to generate a new customer persona. Here is the updated HubSpot persona:

Given the customer persona and our feedback of the missing items in the persona, we can now ask the model to give us a details what products we can offer to resonate with this customer persona. Here are the results:

Product Offerings:

1. Classic Lemonade with a Healthy Twist:
— Offer a traditional lemonade made with organic lemons and a choice of natural sweeteners such as honey or agave.
— Provide options to add fresh fruit infusions like strawberries or blueberries, appealing to both health-conscious parents and children looking for a fun, tasty drink.

2. Specialty Lemonade Options:
— Introduce a line of specialty lemonades that change weekly, such as cucumber mint or peach ginger, to keep the offerings exciting and encourage repeat visits.
— Use these specialty options as a way to engage with customers on social media, asking for flavor suggestions and feedback.

3. Eco-Friendly and Educational Packaging:
— Use biodegradable or reusable cups to resonate with environmentally conscious parents.
— Include fun facts about lemonade, entrepreneurship, or the importance of supporting local businesses on the packaging to educate and entertain children.

4. Social Media Engagement:
— Since Julie and similar customers use Instagram and Facebook, maintain an active social media presence showcasing your lemonade, special offers, and community involvement.
Share customer photos and testimonials, especially those involving community events and family moments, to build a strong, relatable brand image.

5. Community Collaborations:
Partner with local schools and community centers to serve at events, with a portion of the proceeds going back to community programs.
Host “lemonade stand days” where children can learn about running a business, encouraging family participation and education.

6. Family-Friendly Stand Environment:
— Ensure the stand is welcoming for families with seating areas and possibly activities for children, like a small coloring station.
— Have a clean, well-organized, and visually appealing setup that makes it a pleasant stop for families during their neighborhood outings.

7. Influencer Partnerships:
Connect with local parent influencers on social media who can authentically promote the stand to their followers.
— Offer special discounts or promotions for customers who learn about the stand through these influencers.

8. Loyalty Program:
— Implement a loyalty card system where a purchase leads to points that can be redeemed for a free lemonade or other treats.
— Make the loyalty cards fun and engaging for kids, possibly with a collectible aspect to encourage repeat business.

9. Feedback Loop:
Encourage customers to give feedback through social media or a suggestion box at the stand, demonstrating that you value their opinions.
Use this feedback to continuously improve the product offerings and customer experience.

As a bonus, let’s ask ChatGPT to pretend to be Julie Thompson and we conduct interview with her! Here is a snapshot of the conversation with the fictional Julie Thompson:

In case you wonder, this is Julie! It was great talking with you Julie, thanks for the insights! :-)

Julie Thompson: Generate by DALL-E 3 and based on the given customer persona.

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