I recently had the privilege of attending Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing World, where I was surrounded by thousands of talented marketers from across the country. Though we all came from different backgrounds and industries, we were gathered at the conference for a common goal: to learn more about how to reach the people we care about. Reaching people is step one. Once we have their attention, we open doors to new avenues and eventually, grow our business. And what is the most important method for reaching people? Understanding them.
Enter: personas. As discussed at the conference by fabulous businesswoman, speaker, and author Adele Revella, personas are too often undervalued. Or perhaps, it’s simply that many marketers go about them all wrong. While it’s nice to have a “profile” of the type of person you think is interested in your products or services – their age, profession, hair color and pet preference – what will actually help craft a useful marketing strategy is understanding how individuals in your target audiences make decisions. What impacts their choice to buy? What resources do they trust? Who will influence their decision? Do they even have decision-making power? These are the kinds of questions that will lead us to what we all want most: to make connections with the people we care about.
B2B buyers spend only 32% of their journey interacting with supplier-side content or sales people—that means vendors are privy to only one-third of the buyer’s journey! The problem is, any company’s marketing collateral can say their solution hits the obvious pain points, saving time and money―so how can the average person differentiate or trust one over the other? Some base this shift in purchase decisions on “the informed buyer.” More and more, people are relying on their peers, trusted third-party websites, or getting recommendations from analysts and influencers before deciding who to do business with. This simply makes more of a case for why marketers need to thoroughly understand what impacts their audiences’ buying decisions.
Revella proposes five important things marketers need to know about how people make buying decisions:
- Who triggers the search and why – this will help target messaging for demand generation campaigns
- Which new outcomes buyers expect – this will help understand which benefits to emphasize when positioning the solution as a great fit
- Why buyers don’t buy or choose us – this will help craft the right messages to use to overcome barriers to consideration or purchase
- Which capabilities buyers evaluate – this will help understand which details to provide that prove the vendor can deliver the needed benefits
- What buyers do as they weigh options – this will guide how and when to deliver the message, and to which audiences
But how? How do we get the answer to these wonderful, insightful questions? Just ask. Talk to buyers, and find out what happened the first day they started looking for a solution. This will open up invaluable insight to understand pain points, barriers, what buyers value most, and what makes their problems unique.
“There really is no limit to the number of ways in which you can use a set of well-crafted buyer personas,” according to Jeffrey Russo of HubSpot.
If done well, personas can not only help you learn how to talk to your audiences across all of their interactions with your brand (and deliver the right message at the right time) but can also, in essence, develop meaningful relationships that add value to your customers’ lives. And that, my friends, is a marketers’ dream!
Learn how Boundless’ creative experts help organizations match the right product with the right person to create what we call “Brand Love moments.”