Buyer personas have long played a key role in marketing that works, but ready access to rich data is transforming how it’s done. No longer reliant on basic demographic information, marketers can now gather insights into attitudes, behaviors and perceptions to get a complete understanding of their consumers and determine when, where and how they should be engaging with different types of customers.

For this reason, in-depth consumer data is fast becoming one of the most important components of every business today. Using data-driven personas in conjunction with predictive tools means brands can create more personalized experiences and ultimately reap a greater ROI from the sales process. But how can these personas make a difference when it comes to campaigns and reaching your target audience and actual customers?

Adopt an omnichannel approach.

Today’s consumers are ‘always on’, constantly connected and in control of when and where they choose to engage with brands, so the balance of power has shifted. With the emergence of multiple platforms, channels and devices, companies need to offer a consistent experience at all times, regardless of the touchpoint in question.

Failing to take an omnichannel approach means you run the risk of producing irrelevant content and wasting budget.

This is where personas can help, developed with the help of revealing data. These are essential to forging a marketing plan that will help you reach your audience across the entire customer journey. Aligning this data with your brand and product will not only result in more targeted personas for your organization, it will give rise to outputs that can be easily actioned.

Harness needs-based targeting.

Understanding the needs of your personas in as much depth as possible is key when it comes to cutting through the noise and creating a message that resonates.

Combining demographic, behavioral, attitudinal and needs-based insights is what allows brands and marketers to do this, as we move from targeted to personalized.

While there are plenty of powerful examples of great marketing that infuse this kind of needs-based targeting, one example is Activia’s latest “It Starts Inside” campaign. Taking more of an emotional approach to their branding using in-depth insights gathered from GlobalWebIndex, this campaign was developed with personas in mind from start to finish. Appealing to their female customer base with a message of empowerment, this is an ideal example of a brand using data in an inspiring way to reach out to potential customers, at the right time, with the right message.

Find clusters of like-minded audiences.

Knowing what, when, why and how is essential intelligence for any marketer, and the data available today holds the answers. This enables brands to build data-driven personas around consumer perceptions, interests, location, devices and favored social media platforms.

Not only does this offer marketers and creatives more visibility into where their audience is likely to be at any given time – it enables them to target other like-minded people who could also be receptive to the brand’s core messaging.

This means brands can scale their targeting and marketing efforts while ensuring their messaging is as relevant as possible to the right target customers.

Keep optimization in mind.

Buyer personas can vary hugely from one brand to another. This truth, along with the growing complexity of the purchase journey, has made the last-click attribution model no longer useful for assessing a campaign’s return on investment. This method fails to recognize the contribution made by the myriad of campaign elements, all the way from awareness and consideration to final purchase.

To get an accurate picture of what media has had the greatest impact, including how and where, marketers need to continuously assess the responses generated throughout the customer journey.

The ability to tweak and fine-tune detailed buyer personas and optimize campaigns in real-time is transforming how marketing works. Using analytics data from tools such as Google Analytics, marketers can look at individual event-level data and see which platforms, publishers, creative executions or tactics are working best for conversions and lead generation.

Combining this marketing strategy, and putting the contextual and behavioral insights behind your ideal customer, is the most effective way to boost campaign success and guide prospective customers along the path to purchase.

Nurture customer loyalty.

Data also plays an integral role in understanding and nurturing customer loyalty. Knowing where consumers drop off the sales funnel and their pain points gives a brand’s marketing team the opportunity to pre-empt churn with the targeting of timely content and a personalized marketing messages.

This way, activity can focus more on increasing loyalty from current customers rather than focusing on acquisition of new customers alone.

According to Gartner Group, 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of its existing customers, so getting these insights to improve retention is essential for any business.

To be most effective, personas need to be continuously updated and evaluated, but ensuring they’re steeped in data means content can be as timely, relevant and tailored to your audience as possible, while spend is allocated to what really reaps the most return. In short, it’s about improving strategy with insights that count.

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