You already know it. Powered by the interactive technologies, the buying process has completely changed and the power has shifted toward the buyer. The marketer-centric, one-way marketing tactics that focus on pushing out mute marketing messages in the face of the potential customers are increasingly becoming ineffective and more expensive.
The rules have changed. Those of us, who are still confused about the path ahead, it’s time to bid adieu to the “four P’s” of our traditional marketing education and unlearn what marketing tactics used to work a decade or two ago. The modern marketing and sales gyrate only around your Buyer. He’s the hero of the story. No brainer there!
Buyer persona is therefore the key to transform your vague marketing into valuable marketing.
Love this tweet by:
Buyer personas form an indispensable part of the inbound marketing strategy. Without the complete understanding of your buyer persona, marketing team can never create remarkable and tailored content for the buyers in the different stages of the buying process. Basically, the non-existence or buyer personas or the use of an incorrect persona (if at all it’s there) leads to a plothole (as rightly mentioned in the tweet above). And with such a plothole, it’s hard to imagine favorable marketing outcomes.
How no or incorrect buyer personas equal doomed marketing?
- No/Wrong Buyer personas = Failed Content Strategy
Marketing isn’t art but science. Its success is more rooted in logic than luck. By now, most organizations are convinced about the power of content in marketing today but it still is a top challenge for many marketers. In dearth of documented buyer personas or incorrect buyer personas in place, creating useful and engaging content can be daunting.
These correct personas (entailing the demographics, goals, behavior patterns, motivations, challenges, etc.) and buyer’s journey both are critical tools to ensure that the content produced is relevant to them in their roles and considering the stage of the buying process they’re in. This indeed is a great reason to invest time, resources and effort into researching, identifying patterns and creating compelling personal stories.
One important thing to note here is that if not enough time in invested into creating the buyer persons, this can wreak havoc in the form of incorrect or incomplete profile stories (that are not based on actual data but incorrect assumptions) that can lead to a faulty content strategy.
As per The Changing Face of B2B Marketing study published by Google and Millward Brown Digital in 2015, almost half of all B2B researchers are millennials. Hence, it becomes imperative to give them the content to this young brigade of online researchers where and only when they need it. And, not at the convenience of the marketers. This can only happen when the content developers and marketers have a thorough understanding of their buyer personas.
After spending a decade in the marketing industry and interacting with fellow marketers working at other companies, I find that not many organizations are enthusiastic or are investing in this extremely important exercise. Even after having a full-fledged content team, many companies are still juggling to produce relevant content for their target audience.
Only product-centric collaterals and approach to help sales teams in selling the product at the first few customer interactions are the recipes to disaster. Such marketing is bound to get doomed. Isn’t it?
- No/Incorrect Buyer personas = Marketing & Sales Teams Disharmony
One of the most common myths is that creating and consuming buyer personas holds significance only for the marketing team. Only creating buyer persona won’t suffice for the marketing success. Using it across the complete funnel strategy and getting the sales team onboard for using it as soon as you have created can work wonders for your business goals.
Many businesses still face the age old challenge of their marketing and sales teams not getting along, and hence fail to drive meaningful results. In such a scenario, something that can truly drive a successful relationship between the two departments is the buyer persona. The marketing team should be completely aware to whom they’re marketing and the sales department must know to whom they’re selling their products. Only when the two teams are on the same page on this crucial component of the business strategy, can the two teams collaborate meaningfully to drive results that matter.
However, not many organizations take this methodical approach and dive straight into executing the marketing campaigns (focusing on spray and pray approach – email blasts, buying databases, etc.) to support sales teams in their crazy, deals-closing spree. Hence we often get to hear about the huge volumes of irrelevant leads getting passed on to the sales teams by the marketing team. As a result, very often, friction surfaces between the two teams, and there begins the blame game, which is not good for the business as a whole.
- No/Incorrect Buyer personas = Poor Targeting
Poor targeting is one of the marketing’s deadly sins.
Segmenting your database is critical to sending tailored messages to your contacts. Though it seems like a tough exercise that involves taking into account too many variables, this is one area that buyer personas can easily simplify. These detailed profile stories offer cues as to what, when and how the messages should be sent to the database. Each persona has a different behavior pattern, the language they use and varied goals and challenges. Hence, each communication should be dealt differently.
If you don’t have that buyer personas developed or have an incorrect one, you fall prey to sending everyone the same thing. Thousands of marketers today do these repeated email blasts, hoping the message would resonate with at least some of them and that they would buy the product. And, the amount of time, resources and effort you put into this interruptive marketing can be counterproductive with your contacts getting annoyed and taking a decision never to engage with your brand.
It’s time to bring it all together with the Buyer Personas
Let’s aspire to be good marketers – marketers who understand their customers and needs. Let’s avoid the hard-sell approach and be helpful to them. Let’s take all the time it needs to build great personas and regularly update as these can change our marketing game – redefine our content and email strategy, the educational topics we can write on and solve their challenges through our remarkable content. If done right, it’s a win-win for everyone within the organization.