By Chris Pinkerton
Senior Account Director, Mediative
MarketingSherpa recently released research indicating that 41% of B2B firms have established buyer persona’s, while 47% of organizations do not. This is not a shock. I have found that in the digital space most marketers are so concerned with moving fast, just to keep up, that they lose sight of whom they are actually trying to engage.
The practice of persona creation is not new, although the behaviours and ways your audience engages with your brand are. This is a dynamic shift in the way that you understand an influencer, or buyer of your products. Today, the consumer is in the driver’s seat, so in order to be considered for purchase you must first be found and then be relevant.
Facilitate Your Audience’s Natural Behaviour
It is important to realize that technology does not change people’s behaviour, it enables it. For example, word of mouth is still a major influencer in a purchase decision, but this does not just happen at the water cooler or dinner table anymore. Today, platforms like Bazaar Voice and Twitter have changed the way WOM inserts itself into a buying decision. Remember the last time you where looking at a new TV or tablet on BestBuy.com, and the rating of someone you have never met actually made you think twice about the brand you where thinking about purchasing – or it in fact validated your original thoughts which made you feel like you were making the right decision.
As a modern marketer or sales executive, you need to first understand how people buy, then ask yourself if you are actually helping to facilitate what your audience is naturally trying to do. Or, are you missing key online pieces that make it harder to buy from you? Perhaps a new competitor is doing a better job than you are.
Breaking News: Marketing Takes Sales For Lunch
MarketingSherpa’s study also showed what resources companies are using to gain insight when building a digital persona. As you can see, the people who have the most touch points with end users and buyers are the most valuable sources of information. There is also a blend of qualitative and quantitative analysis that helps validate the information. Marketing and sales are no longer separate disciplines – there is interplay between both much deeper into a sales cycle than ever before.
Digital Hand Holding
In going through the cathartic process of understanding how your audience buys and the role online plays in this process, it is important to also understand how your audience deals with digital. In a recent book by Gord Hotchkiss his research team looked into how business buys from business in a digital marketplace. Part of this process was identifying the differences between a Digital Immigrant (someone over 30, who had to adapt to digital) verses a Digital Native (someone under 30 who grew up in a digital world). Mapping your audience’s behaviours, digital preferences, and buying process will enable you to start building your own modern digital personae – Making it easier for your audience to buy from you.
About the Author
Chris has extensive experience and insight into lead generation, buying cycles, targeted marketing tactics, and B2B digital marketing. At Mediative, he works with key accounts including Allstate, 3M, American Red Cross, Yellow Pages Group, and Deustche Telekom (T-mobile) to build strategies that drive measurable conversion actions. He leverages Mediative’s knowledge of search behaviour and thought leadership to present both concepts and solutions that will drive the on-line marketing efforts forward.
Chris is a contributor to the book The BuyerSphere Project – How Business Buys From Business in a Digital Marketplace. He is also a speaker with the Google Engage project, various industry and client events, and is a guest lecturer at the University of British Columbia.
See Chris Live!
Chris and his colleague Ian Everdell will be sharing more internet marketing strategies at Conversion Conference 2012 on June 25th and 26th in Chicago. Join him in his session on “Persona > Intent > Content > Action: The B2B Success Framework.” See the full agenda and read more about this session. You can also follow Chris on Twitter for some pre-conference networking.
Want to save on your Conversion Conference pass? Save as much as $600 when you register with Chris’ discount code CH12316 and our Early Bird Rates. Hurry, Early Bird promo expires on May 11th.