Marketers have been saying it for years: create for your buyer persona. It’s a mantra they’ve lived with for a long time. Entire libraries (virtual or real) can be filled with the amount of information about how to create a buyer persona, use a buyer persona, name a buyer persona – everything you could possibly want to know about buyer personas has already been recorded.
Which isn’t to say that they’re not useful, but rather, perhaps it’s time to shift the focus slightly. Instead of simply trying to create the right message for the right person, how about creating the right message the right way for the right buyer? Getting the message out there in the appropriate way for today’s buyers will fill your B2B pipeline, increase conversions, and ultimately, turn into sales.
The adaptable and progressive marketing organization that recognizes this strategy and is able to shift their marketing strategy to do this are having success, while the ones that are sticking to the same, traditional methods are being left behind.
So, how can today’s marketers create their messages the right way for their audience?
Let your buyers lead: The B2B buying cycle is a long one, and so at any given time, your audience is somewhere along the cycle. By creating content for each stage of the cycle, they’ll be moving themselves along the cycle all by themselves. Each piece of content should create anticipation for the next one, and lead them towards it. The fact they need different content at different times should be driving the content marketers create. What do the buyers need to hear about at each stage? What questions are they asking? What content drives the most engagement from them?
Share your buyers with the entire organization: Buyers just aren’t for marketers and sales people. They’re also useful to your product development teams, your graphics department, your logistics and production teams – your entire organization, as a matter of fact. That’s because everything you do should be geared for your buyers. The language you use, the packaging for your products, even more simply, the products you develop in the first place, are all done because of your buyers. So don’t let the marketers hog the buyers! Share them with the entire organization and see how everything changes.
Welcome the changes marketing brings: Just as the B2C buying habits have changed, so have the B2B ones. Technology has opened the door to more research, more availability, and more options. And that means that marketing teams have to change as well. Marketing technology is getting more sophisticated and integrated with other facets of an organization, and it can be overwhelming. Marketers are learning to speak more “tech-ese”, which can seem threatening to some technology folks. What once was an isolated, very specific domain is now becoming more open and accessible. Organizations have to shift their culture to be more adaptable to the changes that are being seen because of this. Marketing and technology teams are learning how to work together for the good of the company overall.
The good of the company is, after all, the reason that everyone works together, right? Sure, there are other, personal (and monetary) reasons, but in the end, everyone pulls together to help grow the company and make it successful.
Learning how to adapt to the changing mindset of their buyers will help marketing teams create better content that’s more useful to buyers at the right time. Working together with their colleagues in other departments, marketing professionals can create the right messages the right way for the right buyer.
Flickr photo (Creative Commons) via user Andy Wilson