In today’s highly competitive, buyer-driven world, building a buyer-centric marketing strategy comprised of buyer personas, journey maps, brand identity, and messaging is a must for all B2B marketers. The work you put into uncovering deep insights into your buyers, defining your brand identity, and collaboratively honing your messaging will accelerate your marketing effectiveness across the board. From content creation and sales enablement to CTAs and social engagement, your strategy will guide and influence every aspect of your marketing efforts. For a glimpse into this, here are a few examples on how your strategy elements can be applied to content marketing and product marketing.
Content Marketing Strategy and Planning
Before you can plan and create your content, you first must know where to focus your efforts. Once you’ve developed your marketing strategy, you should tag each of your current content assets by persona, stage, and messaging. You’ll clearly see where you have gaps – for example, a lot of content for a particular persona and not enough for another, or a significant amount of content for Discovering, but not enough for Learning and Choosing. And the same goes with your messaging. You may find much of your content supports your “easy to use” top-level message, while you lack content supporting your “adaptability” message. Once you identify where you have gaps, you can strategically plan each content asset by persona, journey stage, and targeted messages. In addition to preventing content gaps, this will also inform how much unique content you need to create versus how much content you can create for multiple personas based on shared attributes.
By applying your marketing strategy to your content planning, you can effectively keep your content creation more focused in its targeted audience, purpose, and messaging, rather than trying to do too much all at once. Use your personas and journey maps to gain specific insights into personas such as their challenges, pain points, concerns, and trusted sources of information, as well as their needs and content preferences at each stage. With this approach, you can confidently create targeted content assets that provide valuable information and that are in your buyers’ preferred format. And importantly, you save time. You can more quickly and consistently write better content that rises above the noise while eliminating the wasted time and expense creating content that goes unused.
Product marketers frequently sell a product across different vertical markets. For instance, a pharmaceutical company and an academic research lab may use the same product, but use the product in different ways or to address different challenges. Personas and journey maps help product marketers understand these differences at an in-depth level so they can effectively position the product in each vertical market. An example of this is understanding industry-specific primary buying criteria. The pharmaceutical company may care most about the product’s output quality tracking for FDA compliance reporting and the product’s throughput for production. The research lab, on the other hand, may care most about the product’s cost and ease of use since they are cost-conscious and have many people of various skill levels who need to use the product. Your personas and journey maps provide rich industry-specific insights such as this to ensure you successfully market your product across these various verticals.
Personas and journey maps provide a wealth of knowledge to guide the planning and creation of sales enablement programs that directly resonates with your buyers. For instance, by understanding how your buyers are interacting with each other at each stage, you can create sales tools that address their needs and content preferences. Consider this real-world example from a buyer persona interview:
Persona Insight: The IT Director believes that the solution will cause integration and performance issues with their other systems, and for this reason they often block the sale mid-way through the buying process.
Marketer Reaction: Create New Sales Enablement Solutions: “We spoke with Sales to further understand these potential roadblocks in the sales process. We realized that IT Directors in our target industry generally shared this misconception, so we needed to create content Sales could easily share with them during the sales process that would help alleviate this concern.”
Sales Enablement Solutions: The creation of two new sales tools:
- Integration best practices, including case studies featuring Directors of IT from current customers
- Documented performance benchmarks
By building a buyer-centric marketing strategy comprised of buyer personas, buyer’s journey maps, brand identity, and positioning and messaging, marketers can significantly improve the effectiveness of all their marketing programs and empower a more consistent, efficient, and high quality buying journey. The key is to collaboratively build these elements the right way, at an in-depth level, and ensure the entire organization is aligned on them and can easily share and leverage them.