Buyer personas (also called marketing personas) are created to help you target your ideal audience. These personas reflect your typical customer’s priorities and pain points and help you craft content and messaging that will resonate with them.
But all things change. Current events or issues may make your customer’s feel differently about the products they purchase. Maybe you’ve made a change in your business. As things change, the personas that were once your marketing strategy’s bread and butter are now outdated.
Buyer personas are only useful if they are accurate. Updating them on a yearly basis should be a routine part of your marketing strategy to ensure your content is effectively reaching those who need it most.
It’s also a good idea to revisit them after any big company changes to make sure they still align with your target customers’ needs.
4 Signs It's Time to Update Your Buyer Personas
Here are four signs it may be time to update your personas.
1. Your Customers Change
Think about your product or service from your customer’s standpoint and how they interact with it on their customer journey. Are you still serving the right people?
As we enter year three of a pandemic, customers are evolving and consuming content in different ways. "Pandemic-weary consumers are looking for brands that relate to them within the current world we are living in. They have gone through an incredible couple years full of constant uncertainty and doing less of what they love," Matt Kleinschmit, founder and CEO of Reach3 Insights, told Marketing Dive.
Think about the different ways your audience is consuming content. Do they prefer more interactive content-like quizzes? Are they heavy voice search users? Would they rather watch videos?
Consider the way your target audience prefers to consume your content to make sure you’re delivering it in the right way. If you’re not sure, survey them!
2. Merger or Acquisition
When companies merge, they bring together two different sets of marketing strategies and ideas — maybe even a new audience. Expanding business services will open the doors to buyers who weren’t previously relevant to one company or the other.
A successful merger needs a successful marketing pivot — revisit the type of consumer each company targeted and look to see whether the audiences have any similarities or differences. Ditch the ones who are no longer relevant because of the merger.
A drastic shift in business will impact where the newly blended company focuses its marketing efforts. It may help for representatives from both companies to work through this together, and a discussion about why each persona is important will help determine whether it will continue to be relevant to future marketing strategies.
3. There's a Shift in Business Strategy
Is your company going through a rebrand? Leadership overhaul? Regroup when the dust settles to re-evaluate whether the current personas are still relevant to the future path your company will take.
Gather any key stakeholders in your company and start by defining your company’s new direction. Learn more about which audience will be affected and who the company hopes to target with the new strategy. Compare this against your current personas and determine whether this is in alignment. If not, it’s time to update.
4. Products or Services Change
If your company is introducing a new product line, it’s highly likely it’ll include a new target audience — expanding your offerings to new buyers. For example, maybe your products previously only targeted children and now you’re adding offerings for teens.
To create a new persona, you will need to conduct buyer research, which usually has the biggest impact on marketing and sales. Your new audience has different needs, goals and pain points from your original audience. Once you’ve developed your new buyer personas, compare them against those already in place. Noting these differences when creating content will help you connect with your new audience.
On the flip side, maybe your company once offered many product lines but has decided to focus on fewer products. Revisit your original personas and consider narrowing down, combining or eliminating some of them to align with your new strategy.
Surveys and Live Events
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to revisit your personas at least yearly to keep up with the latest trends and incorporate new information you learned while shaping your marketing strategy throughout the year. You may have gathered info at a trade show or other industry event you can add. Maybe you surveyed your audience about something earlier in the year — add that new info too.
If you didn’t send out any type of survey last year, now may be a good time. That collection of data could also reveal information that contradicts what you previously thought of those buyers.
Get Started With Buyer Personas
Looking to get started with or totally revamp your personas? Start with a buyer persona template that can help you fill in all the gaps. Remember that personas should evolve with your business and the direction it’s going.
Reviewing them regularly will help you create content that is more likely to generate qualified leads and make readers feel you understand their needs.