It’s not a trick question. Even in the most niche industry, you won’t know all your prospects on a personal level. But there is a lot to be gained from spending time thinking about your target audience for B2B marketing to understand their personal needs, drivers and motivators. By creating an in-depth profile of your target audience groups, you can find ways to address them that will resonate more closely with their situation and engage them more deeply with your brand.

Who are they?

A basic question but an important starting point. Define the typical person who is researching your product or service. What is their role in the company? Who do they report to? What are their responsibilities? Why are they looking at your product/service and what do they want to get out of it? It helps to base this on an existing customer who you can consider your ‘typical’ prospect.

It’s more than simply identifying the purchase decision makerit’s about addressing the influencers in your target organisation. With this information, you are starting to create the foundations for your audience profile.

What motivates them?

This one is more personal. As we’ve mentioned before, it is important not to forget that your B2B marketing is addressing an individual, not a business. This person represents the business that is buying your product or service. If your marketing doesn’t resonate on a personal level, you’re missing out.

Don’t just think about the generic reasons why they might want your product or service. Think about what it will mean to them as an individual. Will it make them more efficient so they have more time to do the fun parts of their job? Will it make them look good to their bosses? Will it help them to demonstrate their individual worth within the team? These are the types of reasons that you can address in your segmented promotional comms to drive content downloads.

What mood are they in?

This links to the personal motivations we discussed above. Is the reader stressed, frustrated and in a hurry? Do they need an immediate answer or are they conducting thorough market research? Are they searching for tips and training materials that will help them in their job? What can you give them in your content assets that will help them with their personal needs?

Create a persona and write for them

Now you can create a persona for your audiencea typical reader. Make it as detailed as possible. Include personal information about them, their interests outside of work and their career aspirations. If you wanted to create a prize draw, for example: is your target audience developers who have an interest in gaming in their personal time? If so, then a games console would make a better prize than tickets to the theatre for this group.

Keep this persona in mind when creating content for your marketing communicationswhether you are writing a 28-page whitepaper, a newsletter or a series of blogs. It will help you focus, ensure a consistent tone and make a valuable connection with your reader.

Posted by John on 18 March 2013