Buyer personas continue to grow in popularity as the foundation for industrial marketers to build their campaigns, but do you understand why they’re so important to today's digital marketing? Do they seem pointless and a waste of time to you? Does developing personas feel like it takes time away from more valuable endeavors?
When properly created and effectively utilized, you might be surprised by how much buyer personas can impact your marketing effectiveness. And that’s the big problem, as the benefits inherent to them must be actively sought; just developing the personas alone won’t get you there. So let’s talk about what, exactly, they can do for you, and why industrial companies absolutely need them to successfully generate leads and grow sales.
Personalizing your approach has always been associated with success in marketing, especially in today's digital world. The more valuable an individual customer might be, the more you can afford to personalize. It’s a question of what you can reasonably afford to do. Buyer personas help you develop content and targeted materials that are one step more personal than you might otherwise achieve. Your marketing team can focus on specific personas, knowing that so long as they deliver the right materials to the right buyer at the right time, they’ll get the effect of a personalized, tailored approach at a fraction of the effort. This leads us directly to the next benefit of buyer personas…
Developing buyer personas can help marketers better understand the segments they’re targeting with relevant content, which in turn leads to attracting the right leads and closing more business. It can also help contextualize segments you’re already aware of, and make obvious unusual confluences of characteristics which might add up to a previously unknown segment. Identifying and acting upon the challenges, pain points and problems your customers encounter in their daily lives sits at the core of all good marketing, and buyer personas can help you identify each of those. With their challenges identified, you'll gain avenues of attack for each of your segments, ways to turn website visitors into leads, and leads into customers.
Spotting the Gaps
When you can point to marketing campaigns and see how they apply to different buyer personas, you’ll find it much easier to spot gaps in each. This depends on your ability to create high quality personas. You need to develop personas based on actual interviews, questionnaires and hard data (without assumptions and preconceptions) or the same gaps which currently exist in your marketing will also exist in your new personas.
Tightening up Content
When your content creators write a blog post, ebook or white paper, buyer personas help them focus that content on a specific buyer type (persona), rather than writing generic material that often appeals to everybody. Audiences respond better to a tailored experience that they identify with, and buyer personas allow you to convey to your marketers what they need to know to deliver that experience. It’s very difficult to tell a writer to blog for a market segment defined by raw data. Telling them to write for ‘Bob the CEO’ as outlined in your buyer persona is much easier for everyone to understand and effectively use.
Focus on Relationships
It can be difficult to keep focused on the importance of the buyer-customer relationship when you delve too deep into the scientific, data-driven side of marketing. As that side of marketing rises to prominence, buyer personas become increasingly important to help maintain focus on developing a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with your prospective customers. Otherwise, it can be entirely too easy for a marketing team to slip into bad habits which disregard the human element—movements which might make sense on paper, but will hinder your marketing effectiveness and growth in the long run.