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How to reevaluate your buyer personas for 2016

Posted by Lauren Ruckheim on February 4, 2016

With the new year come numerous changes. From New Year’s resolutions to new goals, this time of year makes it more evident than ever how much people change. Buyer personas, like people, are constantly evolving with consumers’ varying wants, needs, interests and goals. Therefore, creating buyer personas is not a one-time deal but an ongoing process.

Unfortunately, one of the most common misconceptions about buyer personas is that a business can create them once and call the job done. With this mindset, many businesses create buyer personas, but fail to reassess them as they learn more about their customer market. This can lead to an outdated target audience, which will result in poorly performing marketing campaigns. The Demand Gen Report’s Lead Nurturing Benchmarking Study shows that 66% of B2B marketers are challenged with developing targeted content.

The best practice for buyer personas is to constantly change and evolve them with regard to customer data and trends. With that said, companies have to stay up to date with the changing priorities of their consumers, and this means re-evaluating buyer personas at least once a year.

Below are questions to ask yourself to ensure your buyer personas are as accurate as possible:

Do you need to re-identify customer needs?


The needs of the customer are constantly evolving. With that in mind, it is essential to re-identify and evaluate how those needs have changed from one year to the next.

One of the most effective ways to understand customers’ needs is to analyze the path that prospects take on their journey to become customers. It is important to look at what is triggering consumers to seek out a product or service by evaluating their needs and looking at how they have changed.

Businesses can evaluate personas needs by asking several important questions:

1. What are the biggest problems they are trying to solve?

2. What do they need most?

3. What information are they typically searching for?

4. What trends are influencing their business or personal success?

5. What do buyers’ journeys look like?

6. What objectives do they have to a purchase?

Do you have too many personas?


When re-evaluating buyer personas, it is important to ask yourself if you have created too many personas. Once you start building buyer personas, it can be very tempting to create more and more. In doing so, you may think you are simplifying marketing activities, but creating too many personas can be very harmful because it can convolute marketing activities and make it harder to target content at a specific audience.

The goal of buyer personas is to guide marketing activities by clarifying the audience. Therefore, if you create too many personas, you may start to target several different audiences all at once. In doing this, marketing activities fail to successfully communicate to any one audience.

When you are re-evaluating personas, keep the following steps in mind:

Step 1: Always start with one core buyer persona and build up from there.

Step 2: Analyze the data of your most successful customers to help clarify the individual characteristics of each persona.

Step 3: Ensure that there is a clear differentiation between each persona. If personas are starting to have overlapping characteristics, this may be a sign that you have too many buyer personas.

Step 4: Be hard on the buyer personas. If you do not have enough information on a certain persona or if a persona no longer aligns with customer data, then throw them out.

Are you forgetting negative personas

There will be certain people you do not want to target. For instance, maybe they do not have the budget for your product, such as students with limited income. It is important to understand the people you do not want to target just as it is essential to understand those you do.

Therefore, you should create negative buyer personas in addition to your regular personas to fully understand the characteristics of the consumers you are not targeting. This will ensure that you do not waste time marketing to a group that lacks interest or even the capability to purchase your product.

Negative buyer personas generally fit into one of the following two criteria:

1. Prospects that will probably never buy from you (due to their budget constraints or other reasons).

2. Prospects that require you to expend unreasonable levels of resources to acquire.

Re-evaluating buyer personas is essential in creating content that effectively reaches the target audience.

Topics: Best Practices

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