In a recent blog post, we covered the three main customer types that B2B marketers should be aware of when creating, targeting and sending their brand messages. But, in reality, these buyer types are just a start. To improve results, a clear understanding of customer personas is essential.
A customer (or buyer) persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on real data that you’ve tracked and analyzed about your existing customers—along with research data. Persona criteria can include demographics, behavior patterns, purchase motivations and end goals. The more detailed marketers can get in developing their personas the better, even to the point of creating an actual visual representation of the ideal customer, complete with a name, history and story behind their motivations.
Before crafting any campaigns or messaging, B2B marketers will benefit from going through the exercise of researching and knowing their own specific buyer personas. Doing this can bring quantifiable results:
These results seem intuitive in this age of highly focused marketing messages (e.g. “marketing to one”), where “mass marketing” is passé, and a missed message—one that doesn’t address the buyer’s points of pain—will produce little results (or even backfire).
It can’t be emphasized enough that for personas to be truly useful, they must be based on insight gathered directly from the buyers themselves, along with salespeople and other customer-facing employees. Beyond demographics, what should be included in your research? Here are a few ideas:
Understanding customer personas helps marketers visualize who is receiving their message, understand their motivations (and how their solutions solve problems) and ask better questions. What’s more, it puts the marketer in the customers’ shoes, setting the stage for better, more targeted messages that pave the way to improved customer retention and acquisition.
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