Whether you are starting a new B2B marketing program or have been actively executing one for some time, it’s important to clearly identify your customer personas. You might be thinking, “But we already know our customers. We’ve been selling to them for 30 years.” True, but markets, attitudes, perceptions, challenges, companies and people change. To stay in tune with your current customers and win the mindshare of prospects, here are four things to keep in mind about personas:
1. Learn What Makes Them Tick
Customer personas are composite profiles of your buyers. We recommend creating one persona for each of your key markets. Personas include job-related information like demographics (title, education, location, age, income, etc.), responsibilities, behavior patterns, motivations, pain points/challenges, goals and purchase considerations. They provide a keen insight into the buyers and what is important to them. Ideally, you will also uncover switching incentives that would drive buyers away from your competitors and toward your company.
The goal is to identify the key loyalty drivers and expectations of your brand as compared to competitors. Why do customers buy from you? Why might you lose a sale? What makes you unique? What marketing channels do they use to get information and help them do their jobs better?
2. Market to People
Messaging in business-to-consumer marketing is directed right at the person who will eat, drink, drive, watch or use the product. But it’s really no different with B2B marketing. The ones making the purchasing decision (or influencing those who make the buying decision), are people trying to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Every B2B purchase decision comes down to a person who has a need and decides to trust one company over another. Even in B2B marketing, effective brands connect with people and build an emotional bond. B2B buyers want to know that you will make good on your promises and help them do their job better.
3. Obtain Customer Insights
Personas are created through research of customers and prospects and are used to correlate buyer behaviors by outlining what is typical or common. The best way to understand your customers is to contact them directly. Identify and reach out to customers in your key markets who would be interested in providing feedback about what makes them tick, purchase decisions, customer experience and perception of your company and products. Schedule a phone interview or send a survey by email that includes a section for them to write comments.
Internally, consult your sales, marketing managers and customer service reps about customer pain points, goals and behaviors. Also, take a look at the data you’ve collected in your customer relationship management (CRM) system for insightful comments, complements and critiques.
4. Understand the Customer Journey
Understanding your customers’ journey to find a product or solution gives you the best opportunity to make that process as easy as possible—and to steer them to your company.
Customer journey maps provide insight into what a persona is doing at every step of the sales cycle and what they are thinking and feeling—from awareness of your products, to consideration, to purchase. Armed with this insight, you can better control the interaction with customers and prospects and create deeper engagement with the messaging.
As you can see, accurately identifying customer personas is at the heart of B2B marketing. Personas help you to understand your target audience and build the most compelling messaging and effective tactics to engage them. If you want to learn more, download our eBook, How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business.
In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.
Lisa Goetz is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.