Data-driven personas are way better nowadays
Your personas are outdated.
It’s not a bad thing. It’s quite the opposite. With the advent of customer data and artificial intelligence, we now have more ways to update our personas and remove bias from our business decisions.
When you first set up your business or launched your final product, you and your team likely used personas to gain more empathy for the customer you planned to serve. You considered their needs, budget, and what segments they belonged to. This information was important to your brand message, marketing strategy, and aligned values.
However, times have changed, and now your business generates thousands of transactions. Have you looked at your customer’s expectations against those initial persona assumptions? You can. With the advent of customer data and artificial intelligence, we now have more ways to update our personas and remove bias from our business decisions. In this article, we’ll discuss how to go about updating your personas and removing bias from your business decisions. Let’s get started!
What is a Data-Driven Customer Persona
Data-driven personas are a more accurate way of understanding your target audiences than traditional ones. They use data from web analytics, digital surveys, or social media insights to arrive at relevant marketing strategies that will reach out to potential clients with ads tailored toward them specifically while keeping other people who might not be interested bypassed altogether!
One of the most important things to keep in mind when updating your personas is that customer data should be forefront of your decision-making process. Customer data can come from various sources, including surveys, interviews, online reviews, and social media. This data can give you insights into who your customers are, what they want, and how they want it.
It lets us know more about the customers’ devices at each stage in their journey, which channels show them talking content online, and what information or research helps them buy products.
Another important thing to remember is that your persona update should be an ongoing process, not a one-time event; as your business grows and changes, so will your customer base. By continuously updating your personas, you can ensure that your decisions are always based on the most up-to-date information.
How traditional methods come short
The traditional way of personifying customers is good for some things, but it has its shortcomings. By building data-driven customer models on top of the input from a more generalized persona, we can create much better insights into who your ideal clients are and what they want in their purchase journey.
Sampling still introduces customer bias but is likely a major player in your digital marketing strategy. When you are creating personas and following their emotions, it is important to take customer opinion into account as well so that the persona truly represents how customers feel about what they do or see when browsing for products online ̶, especially if those feelings were based on past behavior patterns with similar content offerings from other companies. New offerings that address this kind of bias through random sampling and machine learning can address much of the risk related to sampling.
Some of the information from traditional personas might be more aspirational than reflecting the customers’ real needs. It is the discretion of the marketers on how to use its personas that may not be accurate. Thankfully, by adding additional data on top of it, you can get closer to your ideal customers.
These steps below are the same as in a science textbook, but the testing fundamentals are better. The more the data, the more chance to define unique and exclusive personas.
5 Steps to building a data-driven persona
1. State your goal and objectives
2. Gather customer data
3. Develop a Hypotheses
4. Test your hypotheses
5. Formulate a data-driven persona
Identifying your target audience is an essential part of marketing. It’s important to find out what they do, who they are, and why? To whom does this product or service appeal most importantly for them in the real world – not just online but also through social media channels like Facebook Fanpages, where you can get insights on trends with specific audiences by looking at their demographics! One way that I have found successful is to collect customer data points from all these sources for quantitative analysis and use them alongside the would-be using Qualitative Research, where surveys are emailed from list-building campaigns. This tactic gives you more chances to discover more factors that will get a customer to purchase.
Note on Data Sources
Some have asked me what data sources are needed for creating customer personas? I usually reply, “what do you have? “You want direct connections to your data sources to remove sampling and data handling errors which can cause negative bias that hurts your analytical models.
I have heard that marketing teams use as many as twenty-five different applications, so connecting all the data can be overwhelming. I can empathize. So here is a list of the key sources you should start.
Point-of-Sales: The software that collects and processes your sales is the Point-of-Sale (POS) platform. Many store operators use Shopify and Woocommerce to process online payments for eCommerce. Regardless of the system you use, or how many POSs you have, that data is very important and will give you valuable insights into a purchase and the history of purchases.
Sales CRMS: The CRM you use is another treasure trove of data that will tell your company how customers interact with the business. What plan do they have, what designation does this person have within their organization, and whether or not it’s seasonally adjusted to get an idea for future growth trends based on past performance can help set expectations when marketing campaigns go live.
Marketing Automation: You set up your emails and text out to your customers to ensure a more consistent customer experience. Applications such as Klaviyo and SendGrid are included in this group. You have set up your workflows and marketing campaigns. Bring in the data to see how campaign performance is performed by segment further and used to build and define unique personas. The analysis gives you ideas on how to personalize your content for those valuable segments further.
Web Analytics: The analytics on your website, either available through Google Analytics or one of the other tools you are using, can provide v.aluable information to understand what viewers find engaging about it. Simple factors like how long they stay and where their attention goes within each page will let marketers know more than ever before to create an effective strategy as we advance.
You’ve probably generated a lot of data on how your customers interact with your product. Now, you can use this data to update and improve your personas so they are even more accurate representations of who is buying from you. Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in recent years; it can now help identify patterns in customer behavior that would have been impossible to see before. This means that it’s time for you to revisit your personas and make sure they still reflect reality. If you want to learn more about persona development or need help incorporating AI into your decision-making process, book some time with our team. We’d be happy to get you started.