You create a buyer persona profile because you want to improve focus with your marketing and sales activities. Imagine you have created a buyer persona profile, then what? How long will your buyer persona last? Do you need to update the buyer persona? If so, how do you do that and how often? I see these questions pop up more and more.
Let’s start at the beginning: you invest time and resources in the creation of a buyer persona profile and buyer journey. You then spend time fine-tuning your content and your marketing activities, based on the challenges of that buyer. And finally, just when you’ve gotten into the routine, a year down the road, you read this article. Then what?
Look in the mirror and ask yourself if your challenges and concerns from two years ago are still the same. My guess is that the answer is no.
“Two years ago, I was still worried about finding staff, while currently, I am mostly concerned with implementing new technology.”
Or to outline a private situation: “I remember worrying about choosing the right nursery for my children, while a year later I had very different concerns.”
6 reasons why the shelf life of buyer personas is limited
Tony Zambito, one of the leading buyer persona experts, clearly explains why the shelf life of buyer personas is limited. He attributes it to 6 reasons that all have one thing in common: change is a constant.
1. The ecosystem is changing
The ecosystem is constantly evolving. New players, read “buyers” in this ecosystem, come and old players go. If you understand these changes, you also see how important it is for you as a company to take your own place in this ecosystem.
In short: only if you participate can you change new buying patterns.
2. Technology is constantly developing
It is safe to assume that the technology around us changes and that we will change with it. Technological developments also have a major impact on the way people buy, norms and values, relationships, and behaviour change. The introduction of new technology should trigger re-examining your buyer personas and their buying behaviour.
3. Social aspects change patterns of behaviour
The “social age” also changes behaviour patterns. New behaviours cause a change in relationships between companies and buyers, but also between internal stakeholders and buyers. To keep up with these changes, it is necessary to keep track of the impact of these relationships on buying behaviour.
4. External aspects change buying behaviour
We live in times of constant economic turmoil. This turmoil has an impact on the way we do business and on how we formulate business plans. The global economy and the changes associated with it are changing buying behaviour and processes. The only way to deal with this from your marketing and sales perspective is to continuously monitor buying behaviour, to update the personas.
5. Strategy is constantly being updated
The timeline for a strategic plan today is not five years, but rather five months. Organizations must continually review and adjust their strategic plans to keep up with economic growth. Keeping track of buyer personas is part of monitoring and adjusting product innovation and marketing, based on strategy.
6. Needs and use of channels are changing
In B2B, we talk about content marketing and its ‘inbound’ effect. But, for marketing and sales, it’s hard to keep track of what kind of information buyers prefer to receive, and through which channels. To find out, you’ll have to listen to your buyers all the time.
When should you really review your buyer personas?
What might be a sign to really take a moment to review your buyer personas? When you don’t know why buyers suddenly stop buying, or when you don’t know if you’re using the right communication message or content. Another reason could be that you don’t understand why your market share has dropped 5% in a year. All signs to pick up your research on buyer insights.
Also see our video (dutch): Hoe fit is jouw buyer persona?
Major or Minor Maintenance?
Every buyer persona requires periodic updating. To ensure that you’re targeting your marketing efforts accurately, it’s crucial to refresh your insights at least annually. How can you do this?
Revisiting respondents: Contact individuals who participated in your buyer persona research approximately 18 months ago. Interview them again and contrast their responses.
Learning from lost deals: Proactively initiate conversations with prospects who opted for a competitor over you. Collaborate with your sales team for this but note prospects are often more open to discussing their buying journey when approached by someone other than sales.
Engaging the new customer: Always make it a point to discuss the buying process with a customer you’ve recently acquired. If possible, have these conversations face-to-face, as they might set the foundation for a future testimonial.
Seeking deeper insights into your buyers and their purchasing journeys? Contact us. At SPOTONVISION, we’ve mastered the art of capturing the B2B buyer persona through comprehensive qualitative research. Our portfolio features buyer persona creation for esteemed clients such as Indeed, Losberger de Boer, Nedap, Schiphol Group, Verint, and others.
Buyer Personas in the Age of AI: A B2B Guide
Discover how buyer insights can transform & upgrade your marketing in the age of AI, download our new e-book!