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.