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People not Personas

 Marketing in the age of data and personalization

For the majority of the twentieth century, and well into the first decade of the new millennium, marketers have relied heavily on the practice of persona-based marketing to reach, influence, and persuade potential customers to buy their products or services. And, within that timeframe, it was the best approach to take as it was the most focused approach available.

The concept was simplistic: create a persona of a “person” who was most likely to be interested in the product or service, develop go-to-market strategies, ads and offers that spoke to that persona, and then by default let natural selection take its course. However, in the last few years the idea that all potential targets have the same habits, wants, likes, and so on, has become borderline ridiculous. Why? Simply put, data has now changed the game entirely.

Gone are the days of guesstimating who would be interested in what type of products and services, to now having the ability to know exactly what each individual actually wants. This is a turning point, not an evolutionary one—but a revolutionary one.

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