In B2B marketing, creating a buyer persona is key to understanding your audience. Really using that persona can help your B2B company realize its full potential and speak to the needs and goals of your prospects. Going beyond general demographics to fully identify with the persona as an individual will allow you to personalize your message, focus on a niche and match goals.
Soccer moms. NASCAR dads. Security seniors. Pet lovers. Weekend jocks. Computer nerds. People use personas to identify themselves or groups where they maintain connections. For instance, I’m a football mom, a Jane Six-Pack (more diet ginger ale than pints of ale) and a latte-sipping bookstore lounger. Although these personas don’t describe all my activities, they do touch on some of my affinities and proclivities, and thus some motivations that trigger my buying impulses.
According to David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, “Successful online marketing and PR efforts work because they start by identifying one or more buyer personas to target…” As B2B marketers, it’s critical that we understand our business buyers’ mindsets and motivations to ensure our messages reach their inner needs and desires.
The most recent experiment on Which Test Won involved B2C marketing but, as is often the case, the findings are equally useful in B2B. The experiment tested two separate application installer pages to determine which one was more effective at keeping visitors on a designated site long enough to download an accompanying app. The page that came out on top had a more marketing-style design, but also featured another key difference that I think may have been it’s greatest advantage: It told visitors upfront that there would be a four-step download process. Telling people outright what they can expect in terms of download time allows them to decide whether or not they’re interested, which, in turn, can affect their behavior.
Last week I wrote about The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), a scientific theory that can be useful in guiding B2B marketing strategies and developing successful campaigns. TPB posits that the personal and social attitudes regarding a behavior can affect whether or not someone performs that behavior, as well as their perceived ability to perform it. Today I’d like to elaborate on the idea of perceived ability by discussing the determinants that may affect it, as well as tips on how to influence that perception.
As a B2B marketing agency, we’re always learning about ways to motivate buying behavior for our clients. And though much of that learning may occur on the job, there are also social and behavioral scientific theories we use to guide our strategies and help us develop successful campaigns. One is the Theory of Planned Behavior, which was developed as an extension of The Theory of Reasoned Action.
In B2B marketing, slow and steady tortoise-like activity may achieve results in social media, but a business marketer must be quick to respond to trends and market fluctuations resulting from online research. At our B2B marketing agency, we often hear from our clients and prospects, ”Our audience is not online; they’re in the field,” or ”Our customer base could care less about search, so we don’t need to be there.” In reality, according to Google, search queries from B2B buyers are increasing at a greater rate than those consumers seeking real estate information. In fact, the volume of B2B research queries is on par with travel and auto searches. More than 80% of B2B buyers research the Internet for answers about products and services. Even out in the field, decision makers and influencers now have access to the same information on their mobile phones or tablets.*
During the recent Photoshop World in Orlando, I was selected to be part of a small focus group of alumni members for a discussion about their membership publication, Photoshop User.
I was first asked about this a few weeks after I registered for the event. I received an email inquiring about my interest, along with a short questionnaire. I sent back my responses and, in a few days, was notified that I had been selected for the focus group.
The meeting was lead by the magazines managing editor, Chris Main, and associate publisher, Mike Mackenzie both from Kelby Media Group, Inc. We all enjoyed lunch and exchanged some great ideas on what was useful and not so great about the current publication. Everyone was passionate and took it seriously. We even ran over the allotted time, and most people would have stayed longer if they could.
I frequent a very interesting site called Which Test Won, which experiments with various ways to present messages in online marketing. The sites test this week contained an interesting finding, and though it was a B2C scenario, it demonstrated an important B2B marketing lesson from which I think we can all benefit.
I feel like a constant dilemma in B2B marketing is determining how to structure the message. Specifically, should the main argument or top unique selling proposition (USP) go at the beginning of the copy or the end? If it’s at the beginning, we know it will be seen; but will people instead scan to the end, expecting an argument to be built up and lead to a strong conclusion? Scientists studying the art of persuasion have researched this issue, and their results can be useful in helping us motivate the buying behavior of our target audience.
When developing B2B marketing campaigns, one of the first questions we always ask our clients is if they have any testimonials regarding their product or service. Sometimes it can be difficult to choose between focusing on one case study or a statistical summary of consistent results. Unfortunately, scientific findings on this subject have been mixed, so conclusive answers are not available. However, these results can still offer us some direction, and are thus worthy of commentary.