The Modern Marketer Skill-Set : Part 1 - Targeting the Buyer Persona
In our introductory post we looked at the concept of the modern marketer, highlighting the factors that have led to a transformation of the marketing function and the competencies that the modern marketer needs to master in order to be efficient and effective in this new role. In this first installment of our 5 part series we take a closer look at how the modern marketer implements targeting to achieve business results.
The concept of targeting is not new to marketers, however, the levels to which a modern marketer targets and how they tailor content to specific segments is what sets them apart. With inbound marketing software, such as HubSpot, integrated with CRM systems, modern marketers are able to hone in on very specific audiences based on multiple criteria.
A fundamental credo of inbound marketing is that it delivers highly personalised marketing for the prospect. In the B2B context, content is designed to specifically answer questions about business obstacles they face. This can only be achieved with a deep understanding of the target audience’s challenges, questions, concerns and objections. In order to address this, the first step in the targeting process is to build buyer personas.
What is a Buyer Persona?
In a nutshell, a buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. The objective is to have an in-depth profile of your target audience to ensure that the content you create resonates with them and provides them with the answers they seek. The buyer persona profile will cover aspects such as the role the person plays in the business, where they spend their time online, what business challenges they face, what they like to do outside of office hours, their marital status and life stage, their level of education and the influence they have on purchasing decisions, to name just a few. It’s worthwhile to mention that most B2B organisations will have several buyer personas and each should be outlined.
What Information is Included in a Buyer Persona Profile?
In order to build an accurate, comprehensive profile, you are going to need to use several information gathering tactics, including data mining of your existing customer base, interviews and surveys with current, previous and potential clients. Crowdsourcing via Google Consumer Surveys, Quora and the like has also become a popular option.
We’ve highlighted a few of the fundamental sections you would be looking to complete, but feel free to include any other information that you feel is relevant and that would help you to identify, attract and delight prospects.
Demographic information and marketing go hand in hand when it comes to the foundation of segmentation and this is also true for your buyer persona development. Typical questions to answer here include:
- Are they male or female?
- How old are they?
- Are they single or married?
- Do they have children?
- Where do they live?
Tip: Including a photo that depicts each of your buyer personas forming part of the documented profile helps ‘humanise’ the persona.
An important element of the buyer persona profile is their position in the business. Details to complete in this section include:
- What is their role and level? Are they management or director?
- Do they directly or indirectly influence buying decisions?
- What are their business and career objectives, needs and concerns?
Behaviours and Preferences
Understanding their behaviours and preferences in terms of research, networking and information consumption will ensure that you are available in the right places and establishing credibility in the right communities. Look at aspects such as:
- What channels do they use to research and learn?
- Are they active on social networks? If so, which ones?
- Which sources do they consider to be trustworthy and influential?
Expectations and Objections
Being cognitive of your prospect’s expectations of the procurement process and solution delivery, as well as the objections they will have along the way, will assist you (and your sales team) in pre-empting potential hurdles and being proactive about addressing their concerns. Consider:
- What features and benefits they anticipate from your product or service?
- What they expect during the sales process? Do they prefer to conclude business electronically or face-to-face?
- Whether this is a first time procurement of your type of product or service, or are they looking to change suppliers?
- What would cause them to be reluctant to purchase from you?
The depth and complexity of your profiles will depend on your industry and buyers. The most important aspect is that at the end of the exercise you will have a complete overview that directly informs marketing strategy, communication and content creation.
Using Dynamic Profiling for Progressive Marketing
Advances in marketing software technology have accelerated the ability to use dynamic profiling for targeting purposes, most especially with regards to present content most revelant to the viewer, based on their profiles.
HubSpot, leading marketing software, for example, allows you to gradually build a profile of your lead based on site interactions as well as providing you with the ability to request new information at certain touch points. Consider a new visitor to your site, viewing a landing page pertaining to a certain topic, who then completes a basic form requesting name, email and contact number in return for an eBook. As soon as the form is completed and the lead’s details are stored in the contacts database, HubSpot populates information about their viewing history prior to submitting the form. HubSpot’s Smart Fields for forms enables data gathering over repeat visits. The next time your lead is required to complete a form for a new content piece, for example, HubSpot will identify that you already have this person’s basic information and will automatically request the additional information you have stipulated in your form set up. The idea here is to continually gather data that helps you to assess the interests, intentions and quality. Through HubSpot’s Smart Content you are also able to present different content to different users based on this profiling.
Insightful targeting together with dynamic profiling empowers the modern marketer to deliver richer, highly-personalised marketing experiences to receptive audiences.
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