Then It’s Time to Focus on the Complete View
Companies are jumping on the content marketing bandwagon. In theory, that means that more people than ever are consuming content to educate themselves. The problem is that the content is homogenized, and rarely adapted based on the audience. Many companies are still talking to all their audience the same way rather than based on their personas.
But in order to fully understand who the audience is, you need to know what kind of personas make up the audience. It’s not just tombstone data, either (name, address, business, etc.). It’s about the problem they’re trying to solve, their role in the organization, and what they expect and need from your product or service.
For the small segment of content marketers who actually do take into account their audiences’ Buyer Personas, it usually stops right there. But as a veteran in the B2B marketing space, I’ve come to realize you need more than half of the equation, which Buyer Personas offer. You also need to look at the context of each persona as it relates to the Buyer Journey.
Most B2B buyers go through some type of journey when they are choosing which products or services to purchase—or companies to partner with. Whether its exploration, then information, engagement, and ultimately, a sale, or some completely different path, there is no question that most B2B buyers are already far down the sales funnel by the time they sit down with a sales rep to make a deal.
The Buyer Persona has to change based on their stop in the Buyer Journey. If a company only looks at one of these two components (a 180 degree view), their audience may miss the perspective of the overarching message. This is what we call Buyer 360: the intersection between Buyer Persona (who you’re selling to and what is important to them) and where they are in the sales funnel (shallow search or deep dive).
I recently read an interesting article from Business2Community about the need for content marketers to shift their thinking when it comes to Buyer Personas. Its argument is similar to mine: a lot of content B2B companies are producing is purely self-serving, and that has to change. Give it a read here for an additional perspective.