For Successful B2B Marketing, You Must Have Well Defined B2B Personas!
Quality Buyer Persona Development is a vital step toward building efficient and effective B2B marketing strategies, tactics and assets. But why buyer personas? If you don’t have agreement on and insights into who your best potential customers are, how can you organize your marketing?
We’ve seen a wide range of completed Personas and Persona Templates, from Personas used by the IT Majors down to templates offered by smaller agencies. Frankly, all of the ones that we’ve seen fall short in some key areas. That’s why we at AMPED have spent endless nights and wee hours researching, studying, thinking about and improving our Buyer Persona Workshop and associated processes and templates.
What is a Persona Anyway?
HubSpot has a great definition here:
“Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.”
How Can Your Personas Be Improved?
As you are looking at the template that you are using for your Buyer Persona exercise, one thing to keep in mind is how B2B marketing has changed over just the last few years. You will have so many elements of your B2B marketing that are, or should be, interrelated. From your Brand Image representation and Brand Voice, to Full-Funnel Content Deployment, to Social Promotion and Paid Content Amplification strategies everything needs to work together. A well crafted Persona needs to cover a lot of ground these days to get everyone on the same page!
Where do We Start?
Below are a few of the elements of our current Persona templates that we feel are critical and would like you to think about. Conveniently, they form our ‘5 Essential 'graphics' of BtoB Buyer Personas’.
The 5 Essential 'graphics' of Complete B2B Buyer Personas are:
and of course
Cool. Let’s talk a little about each one!
Most Persona templates that we’ve seen offer up Demographics as one element. We agree that this is essential to think about. Even though you might think of Demographics as a B2C indicator, there are lots of good reasons to understand your B2B Persona Demographics. For instance, while we advocate for Brands having one consistent voice across their communications, we do believe that it’s ok to explore different voices at the campaign level. So if your target market is heavy on Millennials, it’s ok to query a few of them about saying ‘Be a SaaS Customer Success Rockstar’ and if this might be cool for a Millennial Persona directed campaign.
There are lots of other reasons to have your Demographics as well defined as possible. For instance, below is a Demographic outline for a Persona we call ‘SaaS Simon’:
Gender Split: 85%M, 15%F
Education: MSCS, BSEE, MIS and MIS, Programming Languages: Ruby on Rails, .NET etc.
Neighborhoods: Urban, trendy loft
Developer, Software Engineer, Systems Engineer, CTO, Integrator, Project Leader, Product Architect
Each of these elements can assist with Content Development, Keyword Strategies, Programmatic Targeting, potentially guide Voice and Language such as Jargon and Slang, or speak to Brand Look and Feel among other things.
Demographics is a good place to open your internal conversations as it’s a very easy topic to define and understand but it can definitely lead to some interesting conversations as we uncover who we all assume our ideal customer is!
This is one area that we see alluded to but more often than not it's missed. Understanding Psychographics will help us to do things like establish Relevant Positioning of our solutions, Pace and Time our Communications and understand how this may be related to Lead Scoring Algorithms. We’ll also get insights to Focus Key Messages. as well as Target or Retarget Prospects based upon Behavior, Personal Interests and Psychographic profile.
A Persona that we see frequently is ‘CEO Joe’.
CEO Joe, who can be an important Decision-Maker Persona and definitely tends to have a Personality Type.
CEO Joe Psychographics
Typically a driven change-agent with an extremely high degree of urgency. To the point, confident, sometimes seemingly illogical to those around them because they are synthesizing widely disparate information that most peole don’t see. Focused on strategic business decisions, so you need to be positioned well to approach this Persona. Brand of business and personal brands are often intertwined, business failure is a personal failure, and business success is a personal success. Your positioning and appeal to CEO Joe may be in part driven by how he / she will look for having engaged with you as well as the business results that you can drive.
Day in the Life
Busy, attention is scattered across a wide range of issues and opportunities. May not have control over their day due to demands of crisis, meetings, outside customers. Wants to drive vision, mission and milestone goals. Focused on outcomes, under intense pressure to maintain financial performance and to drive real business change and shorten business and process cycles.
The CXO Decision-Maker Persona can shape much of your B2B Marketing, from how you WireFrame your HomePage to what Sales Enablement tools you provide.
For some fun, let's look at some personality snapshots of visitors to AMPEDPipeline.com using 3rd Party Data sets to evaluate our traffic. Many of our customers want to speak to ‘Change Agent’ Personas. These are the people who can foster change in their organizations. Retargeting and adding and testing Personality Dimensions such as "Openness to Change" and "Driven" can help to assess uptake of your content and shape your net-new targeting far more precisely than simply Title or Role or the not-so-effective in B2B marketing Form Abandonment technique.
And you all are drinkers! You may want to see someone about that. Oh well, I suppose it’s us sales and marketing personalities right?
Firmographics is probably the most important attribute that we have tended to focus on in B2B marketing. In the old days, this is in part why we focused on Trade Publication Advertising. Remember those days? Before Inbound Marketing? It was so hard! You can think of this as Industries and Verticals or organization type as well as size which is useful in establishing how broadly or narrowly you need to target.
Tip: One of the pain points of Persona development can be the perceived number of Personas that you think might be necessary to get the job done. Some companies face the daunting challenge of addressing the needs of many roles across many verticals. To make it possible to move your marketing forward, we recommend that you outline a Persona Matrix and then ask questions such as ‘What are Their "Pains 'n Gains"' (what Pain do we take away, what Gains do we deliver) or ‘What Are Their Goals’ when working with us or our solutions. This will help you to identify if one Persona can actually cover across verticals and even roles or hierarchy.
Including ‘Other Company Attributes’ like below can drive discussions that can lead to Persona consolidation. Many different types of companies across verticals and sizes want to “Accelerate Time to Market” or “Achieve Thought Leadership Position”.
For Firmographics we recommend that you be able to define:
Target Company Size:
Target Company Verticals:
Other Company Attributes:
This one is becoming a favorite! Our new friends @ Profound Networks (www.profound.net) can provide us with all sorts of neat information about what is running under the hood of over 235M websites around the world. Want to target and knock off competitors in eCommerce or Marketing Software by placing conquest content directly in front of CMO’s or VP’s of Sales? Or how about target .gov, .edu or .mil addresses correlated with users that are running Procurement Software? Their data and our platform enables super-affordable hyper-targeting of content in ways that weren’t possibly even a year ago. If we sound stoked, it’s because we are!
Understanding Mobile user behavior is becoming ever more important to B2B nurturing. Is your audience likely Droid or IoS? Are they likely using their own laptop in a BYOD environment or on a locked down past gen corporate Windows box? This can all shape how you make your content approach.
Many tools can help you to geo-target if there's a natural market segmentation by geo strategy, or your content strategy may demand local targeting as a part of your SEO strategy. It’s also important to think about for localization purposes of brand or content. At AMPED we use negative personas, one aspect of which is geos that we wouldn’t serve well. Negative Personas or Persona Attributes can contribute to improving your sales efficiency by playing into your Lead Scoring algorithms.
You can think in terms of Country, Region or State but you also might take advantage of DMA (Designated Marketing Areas, remember the old days of TV and Radio ads? How these buys were made). We’ve found DMA’s can be really useful for things like supporting Channel Partner marketing as they tend to overlap with common areas of conducting local business.
So there you go! This is by all means not a complete B2B Buyer Persona but we thought this might be enough to think about for one day. We hope that you’ve found this thought provoking and useful!
We here @ AMPED are awfully proud of the Persona Strategy work and Workshops that we do and are always happy to share more. If you’d like an AMPED B2B Buyer Persona Template deck for your own use, reach out using the Call To Action below! We feel like it will be of most benefit if we walk you through our thinking and a few relevant examples and then it’s yours to use for free!