Naming our Data: Bringing Data to Life through Characterization

It often began with the question, “Have you heard about IPM?”

You yourself may be wondering, What is IPM?

For the past year, we worked under a CalRecycle grant to promote Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to the City of Thousand Oaks and the neighboring cities of Camarillo and Moorpark. We got to work and surveyed a number of local residents to gauge their understanding of IPM, where they struggle in the IPM process, and to assess their willingness to try IPM practices.

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A few months ago, we mentioned that data on its own doesn’t mean a whole lot. Often times, due to an overwhelming amount of data collected, not much is done with that data. We decided to take the extra step with our findings, and identified how our data might prove useful for the City of Thousand Oaks in improving its strategy.

Meet Diane, Wendy, Frank, and Oscar:

Don’t be fooled, these aren’t actually real people—they’re personas. Using our data, we constructed these personas to help us create an effective outreach strategy for Thousand Oaks.

Just as we did in the case of Downtown Long Beach, we segmented our collective of data and transformed our findings into an actionable strategy for IPM outreach. By transforming data into character profiles, we were able to see how it applied to different segments of the community’s population.

With Diane, Wendy, Frank, and Oscar as our guides, SGA and the City of Thousand Oaks were able to create strategies and decisions based upon which persona our audience was most comparable to:

For the Wendy Willings, we focused on simply asking them to try IPM.

For the Diane Do-Gooders, we created a way for them to share their positive experiences. We gave these Dianes the opportunity to be champions of IPM amongst their neighbors.

For the Franks On-the-Fence, we recruited the Wendy Willings and the Diane Do-Gooders to influence Frank to give IPM a try.

For the Oscar the Outsourcers, we made them aware that toxic pesticides can cause serious harm to the community’s water resources and health, and encouraged them to pursue less toxic pest control services.

Thanks to these characters, we were able to use our data to simplify our target community in a simple, concrete, and memorable way.

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