Marketing has seen its share of trends in 2019, from voice search to live video and now even AI personalization — there’s just so many ways to reach your customer.
But how do we know what is really successful?
When it comes down to it, there is only one judge for a successful marketing campaign.
Because no matter how well researched, SEO optimized, or “data-driven” your content, unless your audience connects to it —it simply won’t perform. (At least, not for any consistent length of time.)
If you want your content to perform, it has to begin and end with your customer. And that’s especially true for B2B, where the number of decision makers involved in a single transaction is steadily rising from 5 to nearly 7 individuals.
Let’s talk about why it’s essential to kick off your B2B marketing strategy with a human-centric buyer persona.
Why is a Buyer Persona important to a B2B business?
In a B2C, it’s really simple. I’m selling black jeans—and I’m selling directly to a consumer. This consumer is the only person involved in this transaction.
However, a majority of B2B transactions don’t just have a single buyer.
In a B2B transaction, the person buying from you is just one link in a chain of individuals involved from a corporate ecosystem. Oftentimes the person interacting with you is merely a representative who then reports to a higher authority—the real decision makers!
For this reason, standard B2B content does an excellent job reaching the buyer but does a terrible job of reaching their manager, marketing director or the folks who influence the decision making.
So, how do you target them all?!
Instead, you use buyer personas to understand the whos, whats, and whys of your most ideal customers and only then develop tailored content.
A buyer persona, also known as customer persona, is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers. It is based on thorough research and actual primary data collected from your existing customers.
A typical B2B buyer persona includes common traits like firmographics, motivations, objections, and goals (among many other factors!).
Here is an example of an excellent B2B buyer persona:
Looks good but does it really help?
Well, for starters…
- 71% of companies that exceed revenue and lead targets use buyer personas
- 47% of companies that exceed sales and revenue targets consistently maintain their personas
- 37% of companies that merely meet sales and revenue targets have buyer personas
(which should come as no surprise as 89% of business buyers expect companies to understand their unique needs and 66% of consumers will happily switch brands if they feel like a number, not an individual.)
A recent study from Seismic reported that a majority of B2B businesses that have adopted content personalization—find its effectiveness resoundingly high:
Image: Neil Patel
This data clearly state one thing: Personalization works.
However, despite the overwhelming amount of statistics on the benefits of buyer personas, only 44% of B2B marketers are actually using them!
Because it’s complicated to ascertain an ROI from qualitative research, and this makes it harder to budget for a project that may seem tedious with an unknown payoff. And it does take time. Depending on the industry and depth market research, creating a single buyer persona can take a rough average of 20 hours.
Today’s consumers expect personalized marketing, and brand that tailors content to their interests are seeing real results!
Now that we’ve seen the statistics let’s talk about a few ways buyer personas can benefit a b2b businesses:
1. Better Understanding of Your Customer
Buyer personas are based on real data. This data is collected from your existing customers and helps you understand them beyond standard demographics. This is vital for a successful marketing strategy.
2. Increased conversion rate
Buyer personas enable your marketing to create compelling content tailored precisely to its target audience. This leads to higher engagement and ultimately a higher conversion rate!
3. Identify Negative Personas
Apart from your ideal target market, there will be businesses you don’t want to target (negative personas). Buyer personas help you identify them, and this increases the efficiency of your marketing and sales —win-win!
4. Improves efficiency
Buyer personas provide comprehensive data on the whos, whats, and whys of buyers. This saves marketing from having to frantically ideate the right marketing strategies and helps get to work much faster!
The effectiveness of personas is evident. Especially with the number of influencers involved in a complex B2B purchase. Sure, it’s going to take some effort but it’s going to be well worth it!
Has your organization used personalized content? Have you used buyer personas? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Mark Quadros specializes in writing long, detailed data-backed content for SaaS and Online business. His secret sauce is his friendly and conversational writing tone that turns any topic (no matter how dry) into fun and engaging copy. Learn more about Mark from his blog.