How Often Should You Update and Review Your Buyer Personas?

As a marketer, you determined your company’s buyers when you created your marketing strategy—you researched their priorities and pain points and crafted content that will resonate with their professional needs. But nothing stays the same; business models change, companies merge and search for a new direction. And the personas that once were your marketing strategy’s main focus are now outdated.

Buyer personas are only effective if they are accurate. Updating them should be a routine part of your marketing strategy, to ensure your content is effectively reaching those who need it most. Let’s look at key indicators that you should revisit your personas to determine whether they are still the right fit or if you need to create new personas.

Buyout or Merger

When companies combine, it’s likely they are bringing together two different sets of strategies and even different ideas for implementing similar strategies. Expanding business services will open the doors to buyers who may not have been relevant to one company or the other.

For a successful merger to happen, it’s smart to revisit who each company originally targeted and determine the still-relevant personas and the personas that no longer work with the merger. Such a drastic shift in business will impact where the newly blended company focuses future efforts.

In this case, it may help for representatives from both companies to work through this together. A discussion about why each persona is important can help determine whether it will continue to be relevant to future marketing campaigns.

Shift in Business Strategy

Perhaps your company is changing its direction. Similar to companies merging, it’s important to re-evaluate whether the current personas are still relevant to the future path your company will take.

Start by discussing with those directly involved about 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, you will need to update your personas.

Keep in mind it is common for business strategies to change, and change often. Because of the nature of change in the business world, consider whether the change is so extreme that you need to create new personas from scratch or can rework the current personas.

Products or Services Change

If your company is introducing a new product line, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right personas. Expanding your offerings increases the number of buyers to target. For example, perhaps your products previously only targeted women and you’re adding offerings for men.

This is a clear prompt to create a new persona (or more than one, depending on the product). You will need to conduct buyer research on your new audience, which 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. In the above example, men and women make very different purchasing decisions, which means it’s important to incorporate those factors into your personas for future content.

Or perhaps your company once offered many product lines but has decided to focus on fewer products. You will need to revisit your original personas and consider narrowing down, combining or eliminating some of them to align with the fewer products.

Other Triggers

If there are no major events in your company’s immediate future, it’s important to revisit your original personas at least yearly so you can keep up on the latest trends that affect them, and incorporate new information you learned while shaping your marketing strategy for them throughout the year. You could uncover new research about your personas or unearth information that makes a once-relevant persona obsolete.

This may also happen when attending a trade show, conference or other industry event with thought leaders sharing their ideas that could shape the future of your personas. Keep this in the back of your mind when listening to others speak about your industry and think about how they tie back to your personas. Is there a big change coming? Could it wipe out or add a persona?

A good time to do this is at the end of the fiscal year when you’re wrapping up the current year and looking at the year ahead in many other areas of the business. When developing your goals for the upcoming year, review your personas to establish whether these goals will help meet the needs of your prospective buyers as represented by your personas.

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.

Author: Lara Nour Eddine

How Often Should You Update and Review Your Buyer Personas? Read more at http://www.business2community.com/marketing/often-update-review-buyer-personas-01714238#WHHe0tL1qsOhmx8A.99

From Insight to Action: How Data-Driven Marketing Is Supporting Big Decisions

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Data analytics can work wonders. Highly data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report significant improvement in decision-making, according to PwC research.(1)Yet, 62% of executives still rely more on experience and advice than data to make decisions.(2)

Why? We all like to believe in our own instincts, but while that may be natural, it's not sensible. Today's true leaders in marketing and data analytics are ignoring hunches and using advanced technology and machine learning to increase speed to insight—and to action. And those organizations that have committed to turning data into action are transforming their businesses.

Progressive, the 79-year-old insurance company known for its fictional spokesperson "Flo," is one company where data doesn't just talk, it drives action. "Data is really the bread and butter for us," said Pawan Divakarla, data and business analytics leader at Progressive. "It's not a person or a thing; it's virtual bits and bytes. But we have a reverence for data and when you think of it that way, you treat it with respect."

Harness the right data

Critically, that reverence for data must begin at the very top. At Progressive and elsewhere, executive support is an essential component for selling the value of data analytics throughout an organization. In a recent McKinsey Global Survey(3), participants ranked senior-management involvement as the factor contributing the most to their effectiveness with data and analytics.

But welcoming a deluge of data and getting support from the top still isn't enough. If it's not the right information, it won't support big decisions. Companies must harness the right data to uncover insights. Only then can business decisions made previously on instinct be guided by data.

"Traditionally, we have relied on experts to gather these insights from data," said Sagnik Nandy, distinguished engineer at Google. "A data-driven organization wants this to happen automatically." And now it can.

To learn how top marketers like Progressive and Macy's overcame their biggest challenges with an insights-driven approach to decision-making, access the full white paper from MIT, "How Analytics and Machine Learning Help Organizations Reap Competitive Advantage."

Putting the focus on data can be daunting at a time when consumers have real-time expectations for companies, and brands need to be there in the moments people need to know, go, do, or buy. "It's challenging to be in control of your data universe because there's so much happening," Sagnik said. "There's application data, customer-survey information, attribution, advertising. There are millions of pieces of data floating around."

Mobile takes the lead

Mobile is just another source of data that can be integrated to provide a more holistic view of the customer journey. More Google searches are taking place on smartphones than on desktops and laptops—globally.(4) And across the millions of websites using Google Analytics, more than half of all web traffic is now coming from smartphones and tablets.(5)

But many companies struggle with exactly how to manage and integrate mobile data. "People are still thinking of mobile as something different," Sagnik said. "But we're at the point where mobile is the status quo."

At Progressive, data insights helped improve customers' experience with its mobile app. "When we launched our mobile application, it was just quote-only," Pawan said. But the team recognized its mobile users wanted to do more than simply get information. "We said, 'It looks like, from the data, people are attempting to buy, and so we should put buy-related software up there,'" Pawan explained. "It was a really big 'aha' moment."

To lead successful data-driven initiatives like Progressive, analytics executives must overcome challenges in three areas: accumulation, analysis, and action. Put another way, analytics leaders need to be able to easily integrate more data sources, harness advanced technology for faster and more sophisticated analyses, and extract insights that lead to improved business performance.

By using analytics solutions, including Google Analytics 360 Suite, to integrate data sources and machine learning to analyze the data trail that people constantly create, organizations like Progressive can gather more (and more valuable) insights and improve the customer experience—often without human intervention.

"People have very fundamental needs when it comes to analyzing information, and machine learning can help them focus on what really matters," Sagnik said. "Rather than just reporting information and telling you what's wrong, machine learning technology can help you fix it." And if things are going well? "Machine learning can help you do more of what's working—and do it automatically."

Businesses like Progressive and Macy's that successfully value data over intuition tend to focus on three A's: accumulation, analysis, and action. For more on all three, access the full white paper from MIT, "How Analytics and Machine Learning Help Organizations Reap Competitive Advantage."

Sources
1 PwC's Global Data and Analytics Survey, "Big Decisions™," Global, base: 1,135 senior executives, May 2016.
2 PwC's Global Data and Analytics Survey, "Big Decisions™," Global, base: 2,106 senior executives, May 2016.
3 McKinsey Global Survey, Global, base: 519 executives representing the full range of regions, industries, and company sizes, Sept. 2015.
4 Google Internal data, Global, Oct. 2015.
5 Google Analytics Data, U.S., Q1 2016.

 

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/data-driven-marketing-decision-making.html?utm_medium=email-d&utm_source=newsletter&utm_team=twg-us&utm_campaign=20160929-twg-us-think-monthly-edition-a1-OT-GM-CS&utm_content=Measurement-hero&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT1RNM09EbGpaalV6WXpFeiIsInQiOiI3Mk5hbFRnNkVxa2ZvcE1RcmJ0YThlOXBLRjl5T3AzenBMVEZUc0w3UTZtWVB3TVkxY1V2dWlLeTRITW5TTUErSU1sd0U2VEJyQ2lqTnFkXC9RSG9xQ29nTm9mczFEQzQxcElGazEwdFcyXC9jPSJ9

How Do Lookalike Audiences Help Your Advertising?

Business 2 Community

Reaching the right audience at the right time with display ads has long been a challenge for local businesses. Even if your ads are generating a lot of impressions, how can you make sure those impressions are from people who actually have an interest in your business? Using lookalike audiences is an effective way to ensure your ads are reaching the right types of prospects. What About Site Retargeting? Site retargeting is one effective advertising method that allows businesses to only target ads Read the full story

 

 

Shared from Apple News

Local Ads moving to Facebook... (Duh)

Small business marketers - PLEASE take a read below. A recent study from good friend and long time business associate, Gordon Borrell of Borrell Associates reveals what we all are finding to be true - what was once only really possible with Direct Mail we can now do with the massive Audience Network Facebook has assembled. Do yourself a favor and check us out athttp://www.clearfluence.com or call and ask for the Online Marketing & Data Department. Or Email me, CDO, Jim Bonfield at jimb@clearfluence.com.

The effectiveness is incredible but so are the data skills needed to do this well - please let us help.

We have served in this capacity as the region's premier direct mail and data company for years. This is what we do and we do it well.

 

http://www.poynter.org/2016/where-are-local-advertisers-going-facebook-new-research-suggests/429098/