Before you can sell anything to anyone, you need to understand who it is you're selling to. Who is actually buying your products or using your services? Who are your current clients? And, what kind of clients do you wish were buying from you? Before you’re able to build an effective marketing strategy, or come up with a content marketing plan built for success, it’s important to define who these people are, and what makes them tick.
Most people would agree that the sales pitch you give to the man overseeing a busy warehouse, is not the same sales pitch you would give to the woman developing a more effective standardized testing system. These are two extremely different target audiences. Their products are different, their goals are different, and therefore, they simply will not respond to the same language or messaging points.
If you do not have a thorough understanding of your buyer persona written down and internalized before you begin your marketing plan, you may find that your strategies don’t hit the mark and that potential customers won’t respond.
Because if you don’t understand who they are and what they need, how can you ever produce targeted, authentic marketing that resonates with them?
What keeps your target audience up at night? What pain points are you able to target that will create 5-alarm urgency? How can you make their palms sweaty or their heart race in anticipation of your help? Understanding the challenges faced by your target customer, is perhaps the keystone of understanding how to effectively market your product or service to them specifically.
Effective marketing often takes the form of problem solving. If your customers are facing a particular challenge, you have the opportunity to present yourself as a solution. By offering expertise that will help guide them across rocky terrain, you’re offering value beyond the product. You’re offering them an answer to a question they spend precious time worrying about and even better, giving them a road-map forward to the solution.
Are you targeting individuals, or entire companies? Is your product or service best put to use in the home, or at the office? When cold calling the company, who would you most like to talk to – the receptionist, the vice president, the IT director, or the CFO? These are all questions that must be answered before you can effectively market to your target audience.
This may go without saying, but the difference between a pharmacy technician and the pharmacist, a copywriter and the editor, or a police officer and the commissioner is as profound as the difference between imitation crab meat and big, juicy Alaskan King Crab Legs (sorry, all this writing makes me kinda hungry) The products and services that appeal to one demographic may come off as completely irrelevant to another. When formulating a buyer persona, it’s imperative that you understand the background, position, and career trajectory of the people you intend to target.
Is your product or service best suited for people who are utterly stressed out and looking for an easier solution – or is your company more about fine-tuning a product that is already working as well as expected? Are you offering people a chance to catch up, or to move forward? Understanding the emotional state of the people you hope to target is a huge part of formulating an effective buyer persona.
On paper, buying patterns may seem like a logical decision. But actually, buying has as much to do with emotion as it does with logic. Having a good grasp of the way your clients currently feel provides opportunities for how to best position yourself and leverage the value you provide. If you’re a luxury retailer, you don’t want to target people who are currently frustrated with their financial situation. Likewise, if you’re a software company offering a more user-friendly interface, targeting people who feel uncomfortable with technology might be a great starting point.
Challenges, problems, needs, hopes, dreams – these are all the critical factors that drive emotions behind your prospects’ and customers’ buying decisions. Last week we wrote about emotional vs. logical reasons people make buying decisions. But without developing proper buyer personas, how do you really know their buying behavior? With so much data available, usually at the click of a mouse or just a phone call away (never ever underestimate the power of interviewing your current customers to better understand your persona!), you have mountains of information that you can use to build rock-solid buyer personas.
Before you can develop a lead generation or content marketing strategy, it’s important you accurately identify, internalize and interpret your buyer personas. Heading out into the marketplace armed with this vital information will help you pinpoint their pain points and needs. The more direct and focused your marketing is, the more satisfying and lucrative your results can be. Have more questions about your buyer personas? Schedule a quick chat with me and I’d be happy to help you get started!
In life I crave relationships and honest connections with people – I use this unwavering need for human interaction to make Stratus Interactive a strong, growing and culture-focused agency. When I see an opportunity to educate, guide or solve, my strategic wheels start turning- challenge accepted.
New business development and account strategy are my two areas of focus and I’ll go to my grave undecided on which I love more! The feeling of helping a prospect understand how we can solve their pain and problems and make them successful is beyond-fulfilling, but then again, the feeling of collaborating on a strategic plan and seeing it produce measurable results is a thrill all its own. I’m so grateful to work for an agency like Stratus that allows my individual and professional strengths to thrive instead of having to choose between these two great loves!
Besides my Stratus life, I have one husband, one dog, one toddler and one bun in the oven (due 2016!). I’m a wine enthusiast (as in I love drinking wine), not-so-mildly-obsessive photo-taker and photo-album maker, and I get abnormally excited about grey, cloudy days.
I hope I have a chance to build a relationship with you sometime soon – feel free to call, social or email me anytime! See all Lisa McDermott's posts.