Defining your buyer personas is a key part of your marketing strategy, yet many people still don’t bother to do it. Instead they prefer to send out one blanket message to everyone and hope for the best. Is that decision based on limited time and resources, or something else?
Buyer personas go hand in hand with an audience segmentation strategy. That’s the part where you recognise that not all your customers (or prospects) are the same. They might have different needs, different motivations or just a different approach to the way they engage with you. The exercise of creating these personas makes you acknowledge the variation in your target audience and forces you to think about what they will respond to. Here’s some guidance on how you can use the information in a typical buyer persona to improve your marketing returns.
Most marketers can give you a list of the job titles they want to target with their campaigns. But all too often we find that the list of job titles is extremely long and varied – from C-level execs all the way down to hands-on practitioners. That doesn’t particularly help you to tailor your campaign mechanisms or your messaging in any meaningful way. What’s missing is an extra level of insight. Yes, you might have sold to a CTO in the past as well as a product manager, but what other differences were there in those deals? How big were the companies in question? What responsibilities did those individuals have? One CTO is not the same as every other. The picture is too limited when focusing on job title alone.
When you start to look at the role of your target audience, you get a better feel for what they are trying to achieve. Does your prospect have a single focus on the area of business you can help with, or do they have a broader remit? How much responsibility do they have within the company? What motivates them to succeed? By getting under their skin, you can start to create messaging that will resonate with their individual needs.
Your target audience may have several challenges in common – and that’s ok. After all, your product or solution addresses a specific need. But don’t just focus on how you can help them with that one thing. Recognise what else they are struggling with and see if it has an impact on how you pitch your message. If you can show that your offering helps them address more than one pain point in their company, they are much more likely to engage with you.
When it comes to promotional channels, one size does not fit all. Find out where your prospects go to gather information and meet them there. It’s not enough to simply say ‘we’ll promote through social media’. Which sites specifically?
This one is arguably a bit more fluffy but it helps to create a well-rounded view of who you are selling to. Whether we work in B2B or B2C marketing, we should never forget that we’re addressing an individual. Spend some time thinking about your target audience’s personal goals for their career, how they balance work and home life, what gets them out of bed in the morning and what would make a positive impact on their day. That level of insight can result in campaigns that are much more effective when properly targeted.
Creating personas isn’t tricky and certainly doesn’t cost anything, but it will take a bit of time and effort. But trust us, it’s a worthwhile exercise, if only to reflect on how your campaigns have performed in the past and find ways to improve.