B2B marketing depends more than ever on making meaningful connections with customers and prospects. Marketers face major challenges, however, in determining how to prioritize what content should be created and ensuring that it resonates with the intended audience. The proliferation of offerings, industry sectors, and customer roles only add to the challenge. Even the most well-resourced marketing departments find themselves with more demands for content than they or their subject matter experts can meet.Enter personas. Initially created to support website designers and application developers, personas provide deep insight into customer needs, motivations, and preferences. They are designed to help answer fundamental questions about what will appeal to buyers and how they will engage with or react to what is presented to them.
Personas are detailed composite views, or archetypes, that represent the key characteristics that drive buying behavior for each major group of customers. They are created through in-depth research. Done properly, this research reveals the attributes that have much stronger (predictive) ties to what motivates buyers than the traditional segmentations we are familiar with in services marketing.
In this Update, ITSMA outlines what it takes to be successful with buyer personas, based on ITSMA survey research with 194 B2B services marketers, as well as qualitative interviews with ITSMA members.
- If you aren’t using personas now, chances are you will be soon: 44% of survey respondents are already using personas and a further 29% plan to within 12 months.
- Because personas encapsulate buyer needs, priorities, and drivers, they are fundamental to closing the gap between long-standing marketing and sales approaches and current buying behaviors.
- Personas have the potential not only to improve the impact of marketing’s efforts but also to demonstrate the value marketing brings to the rest of the business.
- Successful creation and application of personas requires marketing to develop new skills.