JUMPSTART 2018 STEP 2: B2B Target Market Personas
Step Back and Ask Yourself: Who Am I Really Trying to Reach?
In the B2B world, it can be tricky to nail down exactly who makes up your target audience. Sure, it’s easy enough to list off your dream client companies or the industries they’re in, but who specifically is going to make the decision to hire you? Defining your target audience is not just about a list of companies; instead, you need to be specific about who the decision-makers are. By creating detailed B2B target market personas, you’ll allow yourself to speak directly to the needs and wants of those in charge.
So, what exactly is a target market persona, and why is it especially important in B2B marketing?
Basically, a persona is a representation of a typical person within your target market or audience. It’s a detailed description of an example contact’s background, job responsibilities, likes, goals, challenges and more that makes them who they are and factors into how they make decisions.
Looking at these specifics can really help you understand your potential customers’ needs and enable you to speak to how you can solve their problems. For B2C companies, this is often pretty simple – you have a product that this specific person needs or wants. But as a B2B business, you’re not selling to one person – you’re selling to an entire company. Obviously, the entire company isn’t making the decision to hire you. Instead, one person or a small group of people within that larger company will be pulling the trigger. That’s who you need to tailor your messaging to, but it can be difficult to get started.
How do you begin to develop B2B target market personas, then?
We recently went through this exercise again (it’s important to constantly look at your personas to refine them and make edits as your business changes), and we found the best way to start is by using your current customers for the initial framework.
(By the way, it can really help to have someone outside your own business facilitate this process. If you’d like us to help guide you through, reach out!)
Think about your clients, and pick a few that are pretty different from each other. Maybe they differ based on size, structure or even who your main point of contact is. The key here is to develop a solid group of three to four individuals who are generally representative of your client base.
From there, it’s time to build your personas. Here’s an easy-to-use downloadable template you can use as a worksheet to develop your personas.
These are the main areas we covered and questions to answer about each persona:
1. Background: title, industry, experience level, team reports to
2. Sources for Info: favorite publications, social networks and associations, and how they like to receive info
3. Job role: responsibilities, tools/resources needed, sources of pain/frustration, and how their success is measured
It’s important to be very specific, but if you’re working from a real person, you should also think about additional characteristics to add that may apply to someone similar to them. Work with a few people on your team to develop these personas to make sure you’ve got a well-rounded picture. It can be helpful to give your personas catchy names that describe them, so you’ll have something easy to refer to when developing your marketing strategy and messaging.
Of course, it’s still important to look at the bigger picture, too. Don’t throw out that list of dream client companies – just dig into it a little deeper. You should still develop marketing messaging and content that speaks specifically to target markets – the type of companies you want to hire you or buy your product or service, whether based on industry, location, size, etc. The key here is to use that as a starting place and let the insights gained from developing your target personas help further define and hone your message.
If you do, you’ll be able to start marketing from a solid base – a great foundation to JumpStart your marketing!
Did you miss Part 1 of JumpStart 2018? Read now to get help developing your marketing goals. And keep an eye out for Part 3, all about analyzing your current marketing performance, coming soon.
JUMPSTART 2018 STEP 1: Defining and Prioritizing Annual 2018 Marketing Goals
So, What Are You Actually Looking to Accomplish This Year?
Welcome to JUMPSTART 2018! JUMPSTART 2018 is your marketing roadmap created by the experts at Pomerantz Marketing to help you kick your marketing into high gear in 2018. For more information about this series, visit https://pomagency.com/jumpstart/. And read on for Step 1: Defining And Prioritizing Annual 2018 Marketing Goals…
With a new year comes the opportunity for new goals. Now’s your chance to really figure out what you need to focus on to make your marketing the best its ever been.
But defining and prioritizing your annual 2018 marketing goals can seem daunting – after all, there are so many channels to focus on, tons of tools available, countless people to answer to and things are constantly changing. Where do you start? How do you ensure your goals are helping you and not just making your job harder?
The experts at Pomerantz know how to help you answer those questions and create a plan for defining and prioritizing your marketing goals – it’s what we do! Here are some valuable tips to help you get your head around your goals. (pssst…don’t want to try it on your own? Reach out to our team now for help. Just fill out the form on the bottom of that page, and we’ll be in touch ASAP!)
It’s not enough to just say, “I want MORE” or “I want BETTER.” Sure, that may capture the general idea of what you want, but it’s not an achievable target. Isn’t half the fun of goals crossing them off your list once they’ve been reached? So put a number to it. Instead of just wanting MORE leads and sales or BETTER Google rankings and social media presence, define it.
Look to the Past
One of the best ways to start when it comes to defining goals is to look to your past performance. If you’ve been getting two leads a month for the past year, it’s not super realistic to think you can immediately jump to 100 a month. Back that number down a bit. What number seems realistic?
Think about what you’ve had to do in the past to get to where you are now. Are you willing and ready to contribute that amount of work and money multiple times over to achieve that goal?
Make it Challenging but Achievable
Still want to reach 100 leads a month? Think about how you can incrementally, realistically get there. Maybe state that you want to be getting 100 a month by the end of the year (and make sure you have the budget to back it up!) or by next year. Or if your company is growing and you have the budget to add to your support (internal or outsourced), hire the help you need.
Either way, make sure you’re thinking through how achievable your goals are. Goals need to challenge you and encourage you to work hard. But if they’re totally out of reach, you won’t put that much effort into it, knowing you’ll never reach them.
Start Big and Work Backward
Sticking with the 100 leads example, if you set that as your big goal for the year, create smaller goals that will contribute to its achievement. Perhaps you want to rank #1 for a few specific keywords that will drive potential leads to your site. Or maybe you want to provide three new, well-designed sales tools to your sales team to bring in leads.
Whatever your BIG GOAL for 2018 is, add a few supporting goals to help you get there. You’ll be making progress and have something to check off your list as the year passes.
Choose Goals that Get You Excited
Working toward a goal you don’t really care about won’t be nearly as successful as working on something in which you’re invested. Being authentic and true to your passions will lead to a much better result. Don’t just choose something because it sounds impressive to your bosses – they’re not the ones who’ll be working on it day in and day out. Find a way to align your passions to the ultimate business goals of your company.
Get the Team on Board
Finally, share that excitement! Get the team into the challenge and make sure you have their buy-in before you push a huge goal onto their plates. Being clear about your expectations of their involvement in achieving the goal will help them understand why they’re important to the process. You could even help them define their own goals in relation to your company’s larger goals.
On the flip side (and referenced above), you’ll also need to get your bosses, board or whomever you answer to invested in your goal. You’ll need their support (in finances, time or staffing) to meet your goal, and you want them to be just as excited about that target as you are.
Figure Out What Comes First
If you only set one big goal for the year and create smaller, supporting goals, prioritizing shouldn’t be too difficult. But if you have two, three or even four big goals (we don’t recommend having much more than that unless you have a whole lot of support), it can be challenging to know where to start.
Look at your whole list – does one jump out and scream, “Me first!” Maybe you recognize that it will give you the greatest return in the least amount of time, or maybe it’s the one your company is counting on the most. It could just be the one that gets your wheels turning – the one you immediately have the most ideas and excitement for.
You should also look at the day-to-day tasks you know need resources, and figure out which goal can fit in most easily to the resources you have available. Finally, you may just need to multitask and/or delegate. And if your goals are already overwhelming you, it’s time to go back to the beginning and refine that list. Or just hire more help!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of JUMPSTART 2018, where we’ll be talking all about target audiences!
To begin this blog post, I want to start with the fact that Nancy, our keyword research specialist, okay’ed me writing occasional blog posts that are random thoughts and not strategically optimized with keywords. According to her, “it’s okay not to always be keyword focused; putting out fresh content is always good.” So here we go…
A couple of weeks ago I had dinner with my stepson Sam and nephew Michael at University of South Carolina (at a really cool restaurant called Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe). We were with several other family members but I sat with them at the end of the table and we were able to get into deep conversation. We covered a lot of topics including college life, sports, travel, and what it takes to make it in today’s world.
As we delved into this topic, I told them that one of the soft skills that they should teach in college, for any major, is how to be responsive and on-the-ball in all dealings in the business world and in life. I told them that it’s one of the top things I look for when I am interviewing new employees, freelancers, vendors, etc. If someone isn’t responsive and can’t demonstrate that they have their act together, they strike out with me and my team very quickly. We have no patience and tolerance for bringing people into our fold who aren’t on-the-ball. I could see that when I expressed this point that their eyes were wide open and they were paying attention.
College students today are looking for a leg up in the business world in any way they can find it because it is tough out there and they know it. I told them that responsiveness has been one of the keys to my success in the business world. I believe this is absolutely true. It’s competitive out there in Marketing Land and my secret weapon has always been good (but not overdone) communication. I told them to think about a good customer service experience at a restaurant. The waiter anticipates your needs and is there to meet them just the right amount. They’re not coming over excessively so as to be annoying but they make your experience seamless and enjoyable. I also told them I waited A LOT of tables in my early twenties and it did me a lot of good in my career. Plus, the money was good.
So to bring this random thought (or wave of thoughts) full circle, as we head into Thanksgiving, I want to express my gratitude for the incredibly on-the-ball team at Pomerantz including our internal staff, freelancers and vendors. I am very lucky to work with such a focused, dedicated team of professionals.
Example #6: Graphic Design That Is a Part of Overall Brand Strategy and Identity
When you think about your company and how you present it to customers and potential customers, what stands out to you? If you’ve developed a good brand identity, this picture should develop clearly. Your brand should express what you provide to your customers, including their experience, your products or services, what makes your company unique and the values behind it. Now, think about the visual pieces you have to back this up – this is where graphic design strategy comes in. Do your presentations, your logo, your website and even your packaging fit in with that overall brand? For companies that really succeed with their branding, graphic design is an essential part of their overall strategy.
As an element of your branding, graphic design is the visual representation. Choices of colors and fonts can convey a playful image or a more serious one. A great logo can communicate so much about what you do and how you do it in an instant. Companies that appreciate this take it seriously and hire the right professionals to help produce the right designs.
An excellent graphic designer can take your brand identity and values into account and develop a visual representation that helps convey that message. You should be able to put into words what makes your company special – and a graphic designer can put that into imagery. The key distinction here? You’re not the designer, and the designer is not you. You must work together to understand each other’s knowledge base and skillset to come up with the ideal graphic design for your brand.
A professional designer who is part of your marketing team (whether in-house or part of an agency) that truly understands your brand is key to success. Hiring a freelancer for a one-off design may work in the short-term, but it’s not the best strategy for building and maintaining your brand identity. Here are a few of the main benefits of working with a great designer who understands your company:
- The right amount of push back = future brand success. In this situation, the designer is comfortable enough with who you are to tell you you’re getting it wrong and to ask the right questions in order to get it right. They make sure they’re not just giving you what you want but that their designs fit in with your overall messaging.
- Long-term cost savings. By hitting the design nail on the head early on, you won’t waste time or money on designs that don’t pay off or fit into your brand strategy.
- Consistency. By working to develop the right graphic design for your brand from the beginning, you’ll have brand consistency well into the future. Of course individual designs will evolve, but with a strong base, your graphics will always represent who you are.
So instead of just hiring someone to fire off a new graphic for your company quick and dirty, think bigger. Think about how that design fits into your brand, and find the right marketing team and team members to execute that.
Don’t Let Your Company’s Marketing Suck.
Example #6: Barely Keeping Your Brand Afloat by Refusing to Hire Graphic Design Experts
Successful business people often think – correctly – that they know their business best. This sometimes translates into the assumption that they can thus do everything for their business better than outsiders. Guess what? Those people are wrong. Especially when it comes to marketing specialties like graphic design, which is an essential part of brand positioning, you really need to lose the ego and hire graphic design experts.
Here’s an example – I recently met with a company that is, by all accounts, very successful in their industry. But in order for them to really compete at the highest level for their business, their brand, particularly their graphic design, needed an overhaul. Their website, collateral, logo and more all looked out-of-date. They smartly decided they needed to hire a marketing team to help them move forward.
Then, they not-so-smartly ignored much of what we said and proceeded to share their own logo mockups and branding ideas. Their team members, none of whom have a background in marketing, let alone design, had sketched up some rough ideas. While there is, of course, value in hearing from the team, their mistake was in thinking they could do better than marketing and design professionals.
The takeaway? Just because you know your business well does not mean you can think like a marketer and create beautiful brand imagery like professional graphic design experts.
This team is still trying to make the badly needed updates to their brand, but because they’ve refused the help of marketing pros, they are behind on their deadline and still stuck where they were. So while they may be able to keep their brand afloat on their own, they’re definitely not going to make any waves in their industry.
Don’t Let Your Company’s Marketing Suck.
Example #5: Tracking and Proving That Your B2B Marketing Plan Works
It takes a lot of time and effort to set up a successful B2B marketing plan, so once you’ve got those building blocks in place, track that success and prove that your strategy is solid. The most successful marketers are able to show what their strategy has achieved for their companies, and even more importantly, fix and improve on what could be better. Despite this, less than half of B2B marketers use analytics effectively.
With the tools available today, from Google Analytics to marketing automation software to call tracking, there are countless ways to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. It’s easy to get busy with the day-to-day implementation and planning, but tracking is important. Make sure that your team formalizes what it measures, and set up metrics for both overall performance, such as YTD numbers, as well as metrics for individual program or specific campaign performance.
Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of metrics that you could be (should be) giving your attention. You can track everything from form fill-outs on your website, content downloads, demo requests and event sign-ups to calls via tracking numbers, which emails work better (try A/B testing a couple of different versions) and which banner ads or remarketing campaigns are succeeding. Successful marketers stay aware of the metrics that matter to their businesses, and they use the tools available to them to analyze and shift their strategies.
That leads to the second, and most important, part of this message: once you know what is and isn’t working, tweak and change your B2B marketing strategy and plans based on the data gathered. What’s the point in learning something isn’t working if you don’t make it better?
Constant improvement should be a key component of your B2B marketing plan. By measuring and paying attention to the metrics, you’ll see where you have gaps in your strategy or where a campaign has missed the mark. You can also show what is working, and apply the strategy behind those wins to other areas. This will allow you to align your strategy with industry benchmarks and meet the demands of marketplace.
This also means that you’ll spend your money wisely, refocusing resources where you know you’ll succeed. Your budget will thank you, and so will your CEO! Proving the value of your work also proves the value of you and your entire marketing team. Sounds like a win!