Editor’s Note: Today’s blog post comes courtesy of Tony Zambito, a leading authority on buyer personas. In 2002, Tony established the first-ever buyer persona development methodology designed specifically for B2B Marketing and Sales. Over the past dozen years, Tony has conducted hundreds of buyer interviews and has helped some of today’s leading Fortune 100 companies acquire deep buyer insights. Providing him with a pulse on rapidly changing buying behaviors in the new digital age.
Buying behavior is undergoing the most radical change in modern business history. The arrival of the digital age has shifted the balance of power and control into the hands of buyers. Confounding marketers across the globe on how best to respond.
The challenge today is not only in catching up to these shifts in buying behaviors, but also to gain predictability in how to anticipate behavior. B2B buyers, acting more like consumers everyday, avail themselves of the web, social, and community channels to seek the information they need. Predicting what exactly marketers should have available can no longer be a guessing game.
Mining the Real World
Today, with the promise of marketing automation, the concept of mining behavioral insight for marketers can be fruitful. It can lead to powerful information on how buyers are interacting and responding. However, it is easy to get caught up in the promise. Missing key buyer insights, which can shed light on how to reduce trial and error.
For marketers, improving predictability can come from knowing what buyers are facing as well as how they are behaving before they sit down in front of a screen. Gaining behavioral insight in the following areas can go a long way towards reducing false starts:
1. Business Issues: Flatter organizations are making business issues more visible across enterprises. Buyers today are more aware and concerned about how their decisions impacts the overall health of their company. Think of this as the drawbridge, which connects your solutions to issues. If it is up, then there is no connection.
2. Topic Themes and Topics: While business issues are on the mind of buyers, how they think about the topics within business issues can differ between buyers. For example, how a Business Line Manager thinks of relevant topics may vary quite differently than from that of an IT Director.
3. Language and Terminology Taxonomy: Knowing the above two enables gathering insights into what is becoming increasingly important – language taxonomy. When rapid change occurs, you also get rapid changes in language, terminology, and the taxonomy around issues. Do you have a sense of how buyers organize and speak in terms of business issues and what is relevant to their areas? You need this insight to determine how to set up a natural and logical path for buyers to uncover the information they need. Otherwise, you could very well put them in a maze.
Mining the Digital World
If you can understand key buyer insights from the real world, you can establish a connection to behaviors in the digital world. This enables modern marketers to act like air traffic controllers. Monitoring the behavior of buyers by how they interact and respond. Mining the real world first, allows more productivity in mining the digital world – helping to answer key buyer insight questions such as:
- When buyers enter our site, which business issues generate more interaction?
- Which topics generate more behavioral flow towards sub-topics?
- What are the best topics, which prompt buyers to make themselves known to us?
- Which topics are more relevant to certain buyer personas?
- Which language and terminology resonates more with which buyer personas?
Connecting To Buyer Personas
In my recent guest post, How Buyer Personas Can Make Your Marketing Automation Smarter, I reviewed how buyer personas help produce interaction smarts. Buyer personas are archetypes of people as buyers – and more importantly – their behaviors. Thus, when you combine mining the real world with mining the digital world for buyer insights, you can develop a Buyer Persona Taxonomy for your marketing automation.
Let us not forget the buyer. Mining behavioral insights enables you to have a deeper understanding of your content consumers, and therefore create a more friendly buyer experience.
This type of approach allows for smarter segmentation by buyer personas. Giving you a map of behaviors and business rules for each buyer persona. Increasing the ability to be predictive about how your prospect buyers will follow a logical path from gathering information to making a purchase.
Looking for more resources to help improve your targeting strategy? Check out our Targeting Sheet, with a bonus Marketing Blueprint to share with your teams!