You know your audience—they’ve always been there. You’ve been selling to them since before your intern graduated to eating solid foods. You know their ages and their buying behavior—and some of them by name. In other words, you can market to them in your sleep. Maybe you are.

While you’ve been coasting, they’ve been growing, and their needs are changing. Their roles have evolved and their budgets have devolved. Funny, as you dig into the numbers, so have your sales. Correlation? Well, maybe you don’t know your customers as well as you think you do. That’s okay. According to a Yesmail and Gleanster study, 80% of businesses don’t.

While their titles have stayed the same, your ITDMs have taken on more responsibility: customer service, BYOD watchdogs, appeasers of the masses. You name it.

At BuzzBee, we’ve been advising our clients that it’s time to make your audience part of the story you’re telling them. What you hear from them can be compiled into customer profiles. But to get to those you need to ask the right questions.

Interview your customers and subject matter experts like you’re on a first date. Don’t assume anything. Let them tell their stories. Ask questions that get them to open up and share what bothers them most and what looming issues they keep hiding from. What’s relevant and meaningful to them? Get them talking. Listen. Write it down.

With what you learn, you’ll see trends appear in the form of higher-resolution portraits of your customers that can be used to cater directly to them. And while not everyone is sold on personas, Forrester reports that redesigned brand experiences to leverage personas increased their KPI scores up to 4x over those that don’t. We trust Forrester. Content and experiences that are closely targeted are more meaningful to customers. And they’re meaningful to your bottom line.

Your customers are always evolving and so are their needs, so revisit your personas from time to time to make sure you still know them.

In the age of digital everything, marketers can’t be content to keep the status quo. As tempting as it might be to coast off of those 15-year-old personas, people change. (After all, what were you like in 2002?) So do you know your customers? Like, your 2017 customers? Yeah…you might want to check again.