Identifying optimal target markets is a key element of a successful B2B marketing strategy. Knowing and understanding your audience will provide essential information required for developing brand messaging, learning what types of content your audiences seek, and applying tactics that will lead to engagement and business relationships.
To create your target market, your marketing team must first segment the market and consider the firmographics, geographic location, needs and behaviors of your ideal buyers. Within each segment are focal points that contribute to your overall personas. Knowing where to direct your attention will assist in creating more effective content and marketing plans.
Firmographics are the shared qualities of your buyers organizations, including company size, years in business, annual revenue, industry classification, and more. Variations in these specific elements, among other firmographic data points that may apply to your specific industry, factor into key buyer decisions. When developing your marketing strategy and target audience, there are several ways that understanding firmographics can drive your efforts.
Know what industries your buyers are in and understand what strategies work best for each. Marketing content in the healthcare industry will look different than content in the media production industry. Consider the size of the company that your products are most popular with. Does it coincide more with mid-size companies or small startups? Knowing the employee number and company size you want to target can help determine messaging for content.
Determining these firmographic points align your teams and allow you to create personalized content that will be applicable to each appropriate audience. The firmographic summary or summaries of your target market(s), sometimes called an Ideal Client Profile, might look something like this: “Post-startup growth companies in North America with 50-200 employees, operating in healthcare, industrial, and manufacturing sectors, who are privately or publicly owned, and who can benefit from improved project management practices.”
As alluded to above, assessing the geographic location of your buyers relative to your company is also important when forming your target market. On both sides, there are different factors to consider. If you are a B2B organization that specializes in in-person services or require being physically present at a client’s location to implement your service, think about effective delivery range and relevant pricing and customer experience considerations. Price and product differences at geographic locations might determine how you market to the target market in that area.
If your company provides online services that don’t require face-to-face interaction or in-person training, think of what locations would benefit most from what you offer by understanding the regional and local preferences of buyers, as well as important hubs for your specific industry. Potential prospects at different geographic locations can value different aspects of products or services, depending on their needs, resources, and industry focus. Understanding variations in the buyers at geographic locations will assist in the creation of your target market and marketing plans.
Buyer Behaviors and Needs
The behaviors that a B2B buyer exhibits provide valuable insights to your company. Consider the buying behavior of current accounts or prospects. When thinking about your typical buying process, you might ask, who is involved and what are the different roles they play, such as decision maker, technical buyer, or influencer? What are the major touchpoints or key talking points that need to be involved? Taking note of such behaviors will provide valuable information for interactions with buyers.
After need identification, a buyer will connect with companies they have collaborated with before and/or research new companies. One thing to consider is whether certain buyers are loyal to companies. Does a prospect form long-term relationships with companies and find ways to use different offerings or do they tend to search around bouncing from one company to the next in fulfilling their needs? If this is important to your company in the buyers you want to purchase your product or who you want to work with, it will be worth including in your target market description.
You might generate something like this for the buyer behavior and needs aspect of your target market: “Sustained, long-term relationships demonstrated via purchase and renewal of multiple offerings to enable effective website management and aims generate leads through online engagement.
How Should My Target Market Look Now?
Given the current global health pandemic, your marketing plans most likely have shifted. Knowing how your target market, or target markets, have been impacted by COVID-19 will help guide your new marketing strategy. With an audience shift, buyer expectations will also change and knowing how to adapt to these will be beneficial for your company and its many strategies.
At a macro-level, some B2B companies are changing their production to assist pandemic efforts in any way possible. While these large companies may have more resources, a larger budget, and more bandwidth, it does not mean your company must do the same. Instead, think how you can help in a way that’s practical for your clients and your organization. For example, your content creation and social media posts can incorporate COVID-19 focused elements that include tips and resources for navigating the recent changes. Actions like these might seem minimal, but small steps can go a long way.
There is much uncertainty surrounding when the COVID-19 pandemic will end and what the new normal will look like. Despite this, here are a few things to consider when pinpointing your B2B target markets for a post-COVID-19 world:
- Have your typical target audiences undergone any drastic changes during the pandemic? If so, evaluate how you can re-establish relationships and understand new needs.
- What new content or products has your company created during COVID-19, if any? Moving forward might require expanding to target markets that align with your latest offerings and customer needs.
- What are your customers looking for now? Consumers are becoming more interested in online and digital solutions. Consider how to cater to online behaviors that many buyers are now preferring to use.