“Buyer persona is a profile that captures critical information about how the buyer reaches a conclusion or arrives at a decision.” Gartner
Buyer personas are collections of data that provide insights into potential buyers’ preferences, motivations, and tendencies.
This information includes buyer priorities, success factors, perceived barriers, the buying journey, decision criteria, individual responsibilities, performance evaluation insight, and trusted information sources.
Understanding buyer personas is essential for reaching target markets and making successful sales.
The future of data-driven persona research
In the past, marketers would gather together to think of names for their target customers. They would then try out their ideas and look at the data to see how it worked. But sometimes the data was not always correct, making it harder for marketers to know what worked best.
This is where data-driven personas come in. Instead of relying on guesswork and gut instinct, marketers can now use powerful tools to collect and analyze customer data. This enables them to create accurate customer profiles that reflect who their target customers are and their needs.
“If a rich data pool has helped you develop well-defined personas, you can use them to lean more into consumers’ implicit needs. This allows you to create more meaningful personalized communication, tapping into needs people might not have directly communicated.” Think with Google
With the allure of third-party data on the decline, companies are now focusing more on first-party data (LINK To ‘The Ultimate Guide to Implementing a First-Party Data Strategy’ asset). This is information that customers willingly give to companies they trust. It helps companies understand their customers better and make better decisions about how to serve them.
First-party data is the future of research into people’s needs and wants, which will help companies provide better services and products for their customers.
The value of first-party data in persona creation
Personas are semi-fictional representations of customers, crafted based on real data about customers. They help marketers understand their target audience and serve as a reference when making decisions.
“92% of leading marketers believe using first-party data to continuously build an understanding of what people want is critical to growth.” Think with Google
When creating enhanced buyer personas, the more detailed and realistic the data is, the better. First-party data ensures that your customer profiles are accurate, relevant, and useful for marketing purposes. With this data, you can build up specific attributes such as age range, marital status, occupation and hobbies to give accurate pictures of your target customer base.
Ultimately, when creating buyer personas, using first-party data leads to more informed decision-making – resulting in higher ROI from campaigns and improved customer interactions.
5 ways to collect first-party data
As first-party data collection comes directly from your customers’ interactions with your brand, you can gather it from multiple sources:
1. Collect data through your website
Your website is an invaluable source for collecting first-party data. By monitoring user activities on your site, such as the amount of time spent on each page, the links they click, and their purchasing habits, you can gain valuable insights that can inform and improve your marketing strategies.
2. Poll customers directly
Asking questions directly is one of the most effective ways to get the answers that you need. You can employ personal questioning through emails or surveys to ask customers about their experience with your brand.
3. Incorporate social media platforms
Social media platforms are an effective way of collecting actionable data from your target audience. For example, you can set up polls and surveys to gain insights into customer opinions and preferences. Additionally, keeping track of your posts’ shares, likes, and comments can give you further information about how people interact with your content.
4. Utilize customer loyalty programs
Customer loyalty programs are an effective way to collect first-party data. You can analyze the buying patterns of your customers and further tailor promotions to incentivize them into returning. Additionally, you can ask for feedback or surveys from loyalty program members in order to gain insights about their experience with your brand.
5. Implement progressive profiling techniques
Progressive profiling works by collecting information from your customers during each session or interaction with them. This can be done through surveys, sign-up forms, quizzes, or even chatbots. The idea is to gradually build up an individual profile of each customer that contains valuable information about their preferences, needs, and interests.
Tools and techniques for analyzing first-party data
Analyzing your first-party data is key to understanding customers and building buyer personas. There are many tools and techniques for accomplishing this goal:
This approach allows companies to break their customer base into smaller subsets based on common characteristics or behaviors. By doing so, businesses can gain insight into the needs of each segment and tailor their products or services to meet those needs.
Web analytics tools provide companies with a wealth of data about customer behavior, such as which pages are visited most often, how long customers stay on particular pages, and what actions they take after viewing certain content. This data can be used to understand user patterns and make changes to improve customer engagement and conversions.
Data mining is another tool that can be employed in order to gain deeper insight into customer behavior. This technique involves analyzing large datasets in order to uncover patterns or trends. Companies can use these insights to create more targeted campaigns or better understand their target audience.
Key tips and guidelines for leveraging first-party data effectively
Here are some of the ways brands can leverage first-party data to succeed in a privacy-first digital world:
- Identify the sources of data
Take an inventory of the types and sources of first-party data you have. This may include website traffic, customer service interactions, market research surveys, product usage data, and more.
- Consider what you’re missing
Consider what other kinds of information would be helpful in understanding your customers better or providing them with a better experience.
- Use technology to collect relevant data points
Leverage powerful analytics tools like web trackers or CRM software to capture as much consumer behavior data as possible while still respecting privacy laws. Consent management platforms are also valuable here.
- Use automation where appropriate
Automate processes such as segmentation and analysis to maximize efficiency gains and ensure all data is treated consistently.
- Make sure data is accurate
Regularly check your data for accuracy and completeness, addressing any errors or omissions as needed.
- Leverage predictive analytics
Use machine learning algorithms to identify patterns in customer behavior and predict future interactions with customers.
Convert findings into meaningful strategies that can be implemented across different departments. This may include launching targeted marketing campaigns, creating personalized experiences for customers, or optimizing pricing and promotions based on customer feedback.
Track the success of your efforts by measuring key performance indicators such as website traffic, conversion rate, customer retention, etc. Adjust tactics accordingly to maximize return on investment.