The Marketing Strategist:
Five Keys to Buyer Persona-Based Campaigns
The value of buyer personas is only as good as the messaging, content, and sales engagement that they spawn. Gaining full value from your personas, assuming they are well developed and actionable to begin with, requires a well-organized approach to create and execute on persona-based content strategy and campaigns.
The problem is that most organizations do the research to develop buyer personas and never take the next steps. Good intentions are foiled by inexperience and organizational hurdles.
A new ITSMA Update, Turning Persona Insights into Content and Campaigns, Part Three in our series on Leveraging Buyer Personas, explains the work that marketers must complete to ensure effective campaigns in the field. This excerpt outlines the five key steps:
- Map the buyer’s journey. Mapping the buyer’s journey for each persona with insights from conversations with actual buyers will help you identify the information buyers need as they move through the decision process and the information sources they trust.
- Develop your content strategy. The reality is that buyers don’t care about most of our internal concerns. Content strategy finds the sweet spot for each persona: the intersection between what the company wants to say about its solution and what the buyer wants to hear. Marketers use buyer personas to shift from an inside-out to an outside-in thinking approach.
- Create core messages. Once the content strategy is in place, marketers need to develop a set of core messages or solution value propositions for each persona. The goal here is to zoom in on the most important, compelling, and differentiating aspects of the solution based on buyers’ concerns.
- Produce content, tools, and training. The new content strategy and core messages provide guidance for content production, but it’s important to provide a complete enough package to make it easy for field marketers and sales teams to adopt. Typically, this means producing not only the customer-facing content to use with inbound and outbound campaigns, but a range of internal education and support tools, as well.
- Integrate personas with marketing automation… gradually. Marketers want to tag everyone in their database with specific personas so they know exactly what content to send and which nurture streams to use. Unfortunately, the most effective buyer personas may not be based on easily identifiable demographic variables. Marketers can certainly tag contacts with different personas, but it must be done gradually by following their breadcrumbs and understanding the content they consume and the activities in which they engage.
With all five of these steps, collaboration is essential, both across the broader marketing organization and with sales. Shifting to a persona-based approach is typically a multi-year process and stakeholder buy-in is critical to success.
Finally, don’t skimp on the execution! Take the time and leverage expert resources every step of the way. Starting small and learning as you go makes sense. Over time, though, you’ll want to make sure to invest as much in supporting tools, processes, and training as in the customer-facing parts of the campaigns themselves.
For a more detailed review of the five steps, check out the new full Update, Turning Persona Insights into Content and Campaigns: Leveraging Buyer Personas—Part Three. For more on the persona development process, see also the first two Updates in the series: Crafting Buyer Personas, Not Profiles, and Moving Personas Off the Shelf. These Updates are available at no charge to ITSMA members (password required) and for sale to everyone else.