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Martin Wallace
Martin Wallace 18 May 2016

Data driven buyer personas – 5 essential tips to remember

I wanted to share a few standout points from our recent Morning Brief event that we ran in partnership with IIH Nordic.

The subject of the event was Data Driven Buyer Personas. Presentations from both IIH and Innometrics focused on creating and using personas based on the wealth of available customer data that constantly flows across your brand touch points.

When approaching the buyer persona concept, such an all-encompassing term initially seems to suggest ‘silver bullet’: “Yes, tell me what this buyer persona is, I need to know, I need to identify all those people who buy from me right now.” In reality, though, it is nowhere near as simple as all that.

Here are some great pointers that I took away from the event…

Align your persona development to your business goals

Sounds obvious, right? Though you might be surprised at how many brands fall down at this point. Just because data is available, doesn’t automatically make it relevant and doesn’t mean that it is sat there ready to be monetised.

Consider your brand, product and industry and determine the data that is most relevant. Not only will this result in a more targeted persona, it will also be easier to cultivate because it will align to your brand’s core values.

89% of marketing leaders expect customer experience to be their primary competitive differentiator by 2017. (Gartner)

Your brand exists for a reason. Find that reason and align your personas to it.

“Right place and right time” helps customers say “yes”

With the emergence of more and more devices, platforms and channels, multichannel marketing has taken primary focus for most marketers. From this has emerged omnichannel marketing, surrendering to the idea that, if consumers are “always on” and interacting how and when they choose, brands must reciprocate and provide a consistent experience, 24/7 across every channel.

Failure to execute an omnichannel strategy properly can mean that data ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, thereby hampering the customer experience. Personas can help you to determine where and when you should be engaging with each customer.

Focus on what and why, not just who

It’s tempting to think that persona development stops when you have gathered enough data to build your picture, or journey, or profile. You have the “who”, but unless you have something meaningful to say and a good reason to say it, the exercise is pointless.

In fact, you could say that the “what” and the “why” are more significant. Failing to consider either of these will ensure that your persona fails to deliver value, either to your customer or your brand!

Make sure you can measure performance

Another obvious sounding one, but how do you know if your persona represents an accurate view of your customers?

In his presentation at the Morning Brief, James from IIH discussed the various metrics that you can track at each stage of the customer journey. The insights you will gain will then allow you to tweak the various stages, to optimise the overall experience for your customers.

Make your personas actionable

So you have all the data, you have worked out the most relevant customer data that you wish to leverage, and you have collected and organised it to give a single view of your customer. Now what?

Following on from the previous point, personas are great but useless if you can’t do anything with them. Whichever technologies you are using to collect data and communicate with your customers need to be able to access this picture and act on it at the right time, otherwise we’re back at point #2, above!

The various intricacies of each brand, together with customer behavioural idiosyncrasies, mean that real buyer personas – from anonymous abandoners through to high LTV repeat customers – can look very different for any given brand.

The Morning Brief marked IIH’s first briefing in its fabulous new offices in Copenhagen. It attracted industry leaders from across the city and proved to be a truly insightful and educational couple of hours.

If you would like to know about future Innometrics events, sign up here.

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