You talkin' to me?

June 13, 2014

It might be an obvious question, but do businesses really understand what makes their B2B target audiences tick? And I don’t mean just recognising their business challenges and pain points. I mean truly knowing what drives them professionally (their goals and motivations), insights into their work life and the obstacles they face as buyers.

Yes, I’m talking to you… about personas. By personas I mean pen portraits of people’s motivations, worries and behaviours within their business lives.

We all know that at the centre of B2B marketing is people. They are the ones making the decisions after all. As a result, audience or buyer personas are an integral part of any marketing strategy.

Before that, the persona itself needs to give you the insight required into your audience’s behaviour. Only then can you build it into your strategy.

So how do you ensure that your personas will give you the information you need? Well, there are lots of methodologies and different approaches out there, but like most things keeping it simple is often the best way. With that in mind, here are three straightforward rules to follow:

  1. Conduct interviews. Ideally, within and outside the organisation e.g. from sales agents and customers themselves.
  2. Ask relevant questions – it is not going to help your B2B strategy knowing whether the target audience owns a pet, but it is vital to know what is impeding or speeding their need to change.
  3. And repeat! They must be kept up to date. Business and people don’t stand still so neither should your personas. If you are basing your strategy on a persona that is a year old then you risk being irrelevant before you even start.

Personas built this way are instrumental in the development of marketing strategies and campaigns. They can drive everything from lead generation and content marketing to advertising and events.

It’s not rocket science and many organisations either have them already or are planning to commission personas. Great! But are they being utilised or even shared? If you are neatly filing away your personas never to see the light of day again, then why bother creating them in the first place. As marketers, we must pledge to end this terrible neglect and ensure that future generations of personas are treated with the respect that they deserve!

Got it? Just in case you haven’t:

  1. Get/create well-researched personas
  2. Use them to inform and develop your marketing strategy
  3. Do it all over again…

So there you have it, a simple strategy to ensure businesses always know who they are talking to.

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