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Thursday, 29 May 2014 00:00

Creating Personas for an Awesome B2B Content Marketing Strategy

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Are you guessing or do you know how your prospects make buying decisions? If you don’t know, don’t guess. Why? Because when you make assumptions about how your target audience makes decisions, you give up the opportunity to develop a B2B marketing strategy that gives your business a competitive advantage.

You need to create buyer personas that describe your prospects’ buying cycle, the questions they ask and the reasons why they decide to buy. When you have a buyer persona, it’s like going to MapQuest®, typing the “to” and “from” addresses, and getting detailed instructions on how to get from “creating awareness” to “sales.” 

I’m not talking about personas conjured up out of the best of “internal thinking,” or what Adele Revella, founder of the Buyer Persona Institute, calls “making stuff up.” This route to personas leads you astray and is often the foundation for lackluster marketing. You need to talk with clients who have recently purchased your product or solution, as well as a few prospects that wandered over to the competition or decided not to buy at all.

What Should You Include in a Buyer Persona?

In a buyer persona, you need to answer the following questions.

  1. What Pushed the Business Leaders to Deal with the Problem?

    Business leaders working in lean corporate environments are juggling multiple priorities and have to sift through them to decide which to address first. You want to understand what triggers leaders to move from “living with the pain” to “dealing with the pain.” For example, perhaps their decision to invest in a new marketing automation solution resulted from losing market share to a competitor. Or maybe a lower return on investment at a trade show spurred marketing managers to hire a telemarketing company to build awareness of the company’s trade show attendance and set appointments with decision makers at the show.

  2. What Are Buyers Hoping to Accomplish?
  3. You need to understand what the prospect or buyer wants to achieve. In other words, how do they define a successful purchase? How will their business change for the better as a result of this purchase? In the case of the organization that invested in telemarketing, success would likely be a return of a specific percentage on their trade show investment.

  4. What Obstacles Stand in the Way of a Purchase?
  5. Many buying decisions do not go smoothly from initial awareness to the sale. Obstacles litter the path to purchase—internal politics, budget limitations, and poor messaging that causes confusion about product features and benefits. The more you know, the more you can empathize with the prospect’s challenges and help them through the process.

  6. What is the Buyer’s Journey?
  7. When you’re selling to other business people, it’s usually not one person who’s making the buying decision. There are usually several people who influence the final “yea” or “nay," and you need to know who they are, the roles they play, and the questions they ask along the way. You may discover that you need to develop a few personas based on the parts that people play. For example, an engineer may be all for a piece of equipment that will make his life easier, but the owner of his company likely will be more focused on the return on investment he can achieve. Each of these individuals needs to be approached differently in your marketing outreach.

  8. How Do Buyers Make the Final Decision?
  9. Last but not least you want to understand how your buyer makes the final buying decision. What features or attributes of your product, service or solution allowed it to float to the top or, on the other hand, pushed it out of consideration.

Creating Content Based on Buyer Personas

Once you understand your customers and every aspect of their buying decision, you can craft content that truly speaks to them, answers their questions and moves them step by step through the buying process. They are a core element of your B2B marketing strategy because fleshed out personas enable you to create content that resonates with prospects, setting your company apart from your competition.

For information about how 3D2B can help you with business to business content marketing, call +1 718 709 0900 or +39 06 978 446 60 (EMEA).