While segmentation is not a new concept in marketing, the growing complexities in B2B marketing has driven successful marketers to take more of a holistic look at the characteristics of their prospects beyond the basic, one-dimensional demographic profiles that have been used in the past. There are multiple characteristics that can be used to group a large database into personas, and there are several questions to ask yourself when creating these personas.
Who Are They?
Demographics are the traditional characteristics that are used to segment an audience. Sample categories of demographics used to create personas in B2B marketing include title, industry, stage in sales funnel and decision-making ability. There is an endless amount of categories that can be used, depending on the nature of your product or service.
While demographics are quantifiable characteristics, psychographics are more abstract categories that reflect the values, opinions and attitudes your audience holds. While psychographics are not as common in B2B marketing as they are in B2C marketing, it is important to remember that B2B buyers are still humans who vary in terms of their beliefs and values. Understanding these psychographic qualities and utilizing them to reach your audience can help to set your company apart from the competition.
In order to have a well-rounded picture of your persona, it is important to understand certain behavioral habits in addition to demographic and psychographic information. Specifically, what types of media do they typically consume and when do they consume it? This is essential to know in order to effectively reach them. If your audience primarily consumes information by web searches, for example, it would be a good idea to invest in SEO or pay-per-click marketing. Understanding when they use various media is also important, as an email sent at 8:30am on a Monday may not be as successful as one sent on Thursday at 3:00pm, depending on your audience.
What Do They Need?
By having an understanding of your persona’s key concerns or painpoints, you can better target your message to illustrate how your product or service addresses them. Addressing a prospective customer’s specific concern shows that you value them, because you have taken the time to understand their needs.
These concerns could be anything from their current solution not fully addressing their needs to not having the resources available internally to successfully complete a task. For the latter painpoint, if you are a service provider, you may position your company as a partner who can fill the shoes of an in-house team, only with better results and less investment required. For the former, you may want to illustrate the ways in which your solution would fully address their needs.
What Are They Doing Now?
The relationship that a persona currently has with your company is another characteristic that can be used to segment an audience. As an example, your tactics and messaging will vary when reaching a current customer versus someone who is not even aware of your company. In the latter case, you will need to educate the prospect on the benefits of your products or services, while you may need to guide current customers through an implementation process and offer continual support and updates. It is important to segment groups by their relationship with your company in order to effectively reach each of them without alienating the others.
By understanding the various characteristics for each of your personas, you can be more effective and efficient with your marketing campaigns. If you are working with a large content library, it is helpful to map your existing content to the personas that you uncover. This way, you can see any holes that you may have and will know exactly which piece of content to use in your next touch.
Unfortunately, only about 35% of B2B marketers are using personas to guide their content creation process. By keeping your personas in mind throughout a B2B marketing campaign’s development and execution, you can gain a leg up on your competition and reach a larger portion of your target audience more personally, leading to increased campaign success.