We have all encountered an experience where we happenstance upon a picture. Seeing an old picture in a new light. Perhaps it is a picture of your children. Or a photo of a relative in their later years and no longer with us. A momentous occasion, such as a family vacation, captured in a photo evoking fond memories.
When you happenstance upon such a picture, it can bring to mind the story behind the picture. It is typical to also marvel at how much has changed. Children grown, a new home, remembering a friend from the past, and appearances much different than before.
Buyer personas are archetypal representations of actual buyers that articulate insights into their goals. They help us to gain insights into how buyers pursue goals and the motivations behind these pursuits. They are based on qualitative ethnographic research over a period of time.
Your buyer personas are a picture in time of your buyers. The time element is now key given the COVID-19 pandemic. Where buyers have changed and are much different than before.
First, The Caveat
There is an important caveat to updating buyer insights and buyer personas. That is, to question whether you have buyer personas or buyer profiles. The term “buyer persona” has proliferated greatly since I first began advocating for their use in 2001. I hear plenty from B2B marketing and sales leaders the mention of “buyer personas.” Oftentimes though referring to buyer profiles hastily completed for specific content campaigns. Be wary of updating the bad to worse.
The Reasons Why To Update
Updating your buyer personas should be part of an overall reset of your buyer strategies. Where informing insights are once again gainfully sought. B2B leaders can look to market and buyer signals letting them know it is time to reset strategies, gain insights, and update their buyer personas. Here are a few reasons why you will want to update your buyer insights and buyer personas:
We are in the midst of the greatest global health crisis in the last 100 years. Affecting every facet of the human experience. There have been other global crises related to political and economic reasons. Each impacting human behavior and commerce. The COVID-19 pandemic provides no greater reason why it is time to update your knowledge and insights on your buyers.
Your and Your Buyer’s Businesses Have Evolved
An outcome of the pandemic is that many B2B organizations are having to evolve into new directions and strategies. As is the case for your own business. Which then begs the question: have your buyers’ businesses changed? If so, then it is time to update your understanding of new goals and situations buyers are facing. Leading to more opportunities to engage.
Who Your Buyers Are Have Changed
Who your buyers are can change as a result of new segments, changes in regulations, and evolving demographic patterns. For example, more millennials are reaching decision-making stages in their careers. Another example is new healthcare regulations have changed primary buyers in health networks. Each having different goals and behaviors you need to respond to.
New Competition and Technology
Competitors and new technology can go hand-in-hand as a reason to gather more insights and update buyer personas. Has the competitive landscape changed since you defined your buyer personas? Have competitors introduced new technology? What is the impact on buyer decisions as well as loyalty?
Analytics Send a Signal
Analytics on behaviors and activities can often point the way towards where more insights are needed. For example, if one segment appears to be engaging at a higher rate than another, can insights be gathered on why? Analytics are helpful in informing where updating is needed.
Interactions Have Changed
How buyers are interacting with business and commerce is undergoing a major transformation. No doubt accelerated by the pandemic. Staying updated on how interactions are evolving is important in providing ideal buying experiences. For example, the pandemic is shifting much of later-journey interactions to digital. Gaining buyer insights on how to solve this pressing design issue becomes imperative. A case previously expanded upon here: Buyer Interaction Design (BxD).
Good Leadership Adapts To Changing Market And Buyer Conditions
One of the important charters for B2B leadership is adapting to changes in the marketplace. Having the insights needed for understanding new market and buyer opportunities that arise. Steering the organization towards meeting the goals of buyers.
Good B2B leadership involves the practice of updating buyer insights and buyer personas that gets your team buyer focused. With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting buyers significantly, the timing is right.