Now that we’re well into 2019, many of your marketing plans hopefully are underway and getting the expected results. However, if you haven’t updated your buyer personas yet, it’s time to make that a priority. Here are six ways to make them as up-to-date and relevant as possible this year.
1. Add Psychographics
Most buyer personas have some kind of demographics, such as age and income level. Those details are important, but you should also include some psychographic material in your personas this year. Psychographics address the way a person does things and why. If you fail to incorporate psychographics, you might overlook some emotional factors that your company could tap into to make a person feel more at ease.
Research from Gartner found that 44 percent of customers worry they’ve missed a better option whenever they make a purchase. Using psychographics could help your brand tap into that unease and work to alleviate it before buyers get to the point of confirming their purchases.
Some examples of psychographics you might include in an updated buyer persona include beliefs, interests and the perceived barriers that could cause a person not to buy a product. By fleshing out your personas with those, you’ll have a more in-depth picture of the buyer, and that’s crucial whether you’re in the business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) market.
2. Create Groups of Personas That Represent People Moving Through the Buyer Journey
Many marketers create personas as if the fictional people highlighted in them are static. But, in real life, you probably already know that changes happen as a person moves through their buyer journey. So, if your buyer personas don’t change as well, they’re not realistic.
That’s why you should make them better by incorporating buyer journey mapping into your personas. Instead of only coming up with one persona for each type of buyer, make several for one kind of buyer, and ensure that each one accurately shows the buyer journey movement that makes sense for that purchaser. Then, keep those personas in groups.
When using this approach, the persona of a single, college-educated father in his 40s might have a few sub-personas that follow that person as they make buying decisions. Put all of them into a group.
It’s especially important to do that in the B2B sector since various decision makers within an organization may ultimately play a role in deciding to become new clients of a brand. After you create a persona, investigate what differences may occur as the character gets more informed about what the company offers.
3. Relate the Persona to What Your Company Sells
It’s also important that your personas have a direct connection to whatever your company offers customers. When you update your persona make it include information that differentiates the customers who buy from those who don’t. And, try to get as specific as possible.
For example, if you work for a car company, the buyer persona might include that the person wants a vehicle with excellent fuel economy because they commute nearly 100 miles to and from work each day. Or, it could mention that the person has an infant, plays a sport that requires bulky equipment or likes to go camping most weekends. All of those things would likely mean the person appreciates a car with ample trunk space.
4. Don’t Overlook the Negative Persona
So far, we’ve looked at the personas for fictional potential buyers. But, building out a negative persona can be just as valuable. It’s a profile of the person you don’t want buying your products. It’s especially useful to make a negative persona if you realize that your current marketing strategies attract people who are not in your target audience.
Also, once you take a deep dive into what constitutes your non-ideal customer, it should be much easier to sharpen the personas for the kinds of people you do want to attract with your marketing methods.
5. Rely on the Most Current Data When Building or Tweaking Personas
A substantial part of making an effective and accurate persona involves gathering data from your audience. You can do that through social media monitoring, in-person interviews, focus groups and more. As you assess how to make your personas the best they can be this year, work with the latest data.
Some of the information used may come from your in-house marketing tools. A study done through a partnership between Bain & Company and Google found that the people who were leading the way in data-driven marketing were 1.7 times more likely than the marketing “laggards” to refresh their most critical dashboards and marketing metrics at least once a week.
6. Think About Whether Company-Specific Changes May Warrant Persona Updates
One of the most common and important reasons to update your persona is if your company identifies changes in the needs of your target market. However, you should also consider if internal shifts happened in your company that may require persona updates. For example, if your company recently went through a merger or a rebranding, those two events might require revisiting your personas.
Updated Personas Are More Likely to Get the Results You Want
These six tips will get you off to a strong start with your persona updates. Then, the likelihood goes up that the personas will help your overall marketing efforts pay off.