Time For An Update – Are Your Personas Long Overdue?

Written by: Patrick Kilgore on 11/30/16 2:05 PM

BLOG PIC 11.30-01.pngPersonas have long been a go-to tool for helping marketers understand their audience better. In the era of data-driven marketing, they’ve taken on a new level of importance.

Now personas can help you understand your audience better not only at the moment you create marketing campaigns, but also as you track their interactions with your brand. You can see how businesses in one industry respond to your marketing campaigns differently than those in another. You can see the variety in how people in different roles at the same company move through the buyer’s journey.

With marketing personalization on the rise, the persona-specific data you have becomes the driver behind personalized campaigns. It’s only because you can recognize the different personas that you’re able to deliver up information customized to the needs and interests of each.

In short, personas are important – more important than many businesses treat them as being. For all the talk of personas in marketing, many companies create them once and act like the job is done. To truly harness their power, personas need to be updated semi-regularly to ensure they remain accurate and useful.

If your marketing team hasn’t made a habit out of revisiting and updating your personas, here are four situations that let you know it’s time. 

Too many of your leads never become SQLs.

A marketing department that generates lots of leads may feel it’s doing its job, but quantity of leads means less than quality.

One of the telltale signs that your personas aren’t as accurate as they should be is if the quality of your leads is suffering. If the percentage of your leads that become sales-qualified leads or customers has dropped, then it’s time to reconsider if your marketing is reaching the right people.

Your data provides you new, valuable information on your audience.

When your tools and teams are constantly collecting new data on prospect behavior, you’re always learning new lessons. Every month or quarter should bring with it new insights into how your prospects interact with your marketing and what they respond best to.

In addition to giving you fuel to regularly update your marketing planning for better results; your data gives you valuable knowledge to improve your personas. Maybe your data shows you that a particular persona interacts with your content on mobile more than you expected, or that one persona responds better to webinars while another prefers eBooks. Any insights your data provides should be incorporated into the personas you have.

You’re considering a new product or marketing approach.

If your product changes or your company is considering launching a new one, then you should develop new or updated personas based on the new product or features you’re pursuing. The same thing goes if you decide to pursue a thorough redesign or develop a new version of a product for a new audience.

Taking a new marketing approach could be a good cause for updated personas as well. If your organization has decided to pursue account-based marketing, for example, your personas should be updated to ensure maximum effect. If you’re thinking about doing more with marketing personalization, then your personas need to be sophisticated enough to make the effort worthwhile.

It’s been over a year.

The three reasons above should all be strong catalysts to get moving on updating your personas, but you don’t always need a specific reason. Trends in buyer behavior are changing all the time. If you don’t make a point of checking in on a regular basis, your personas will grow outdated even if everything about your company and products stays the same.

If you haven’t reviewed and analyzed the accuracy of your personas in the last year, take some time to do so now. Maybe you won’t need to make any serious changes, but maybe you’ll realize they’re outdated in important ways. It’s better to be sure than stay comfortable in the assumption that they’re doing their job when they’re really not. 

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Topics: Hive9, Marketing Personalization, Personas