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B2B Content Marketers Know Their Buyers Better
The revolution that social media brought to marketing, the factor that made Facebook a multi-billion-dollar company, is its ability to make marketing personal. Sellers can gear their messages on an almost individual level. Facebook knows so much about its users, and it has so many users, that a seller of say, wedding photography, can focus their sales message on engaged women aged between 24 and 38 living within 50 miles of their studio… and still reach a large enough audience to win sales.
It’s a degree of granularity that marketers have always dreamed of. We’ve always had to make do with personas, an agglomerated idea of the representative buyer. Over the last few years, as we’ve been able to draw on more data sources, those personas have become far more detailed and accurate. But they’re still representations of an ideal buyer. They’re not the buyer him or herself.
A few B2B sellers have had the advantage of knowing their customers personally. When the sales are large, they’re able to meet them, understand them and build a relationship with them. But those sales tend be the exception rather than the rule. Most B2B marketers use something between a persona made up of a mass of buyers and the personal knowledge they’ve gathered of individual customers. They market to a smaller group of buyers than B2C customers, a group made up of very similar people with a common and familiar interest. The marketers still need personas but those personas are likely to be particularly accurate because they’re based on a sample with such similar characteristics.
For example, when a leading pharmaceutical firm asked us to help their sales staff promote their medications to doctors, we were able to begin with a solid representation of the company’s customer. We all know what a doctor looks like. We know how they behave and we know how they make decisions. That basic knowledge provided a useful starting point. We were then able to go much further, adding vital details about the kinds of patients who would benefit from the pharmaceutical company’s medicines and the sorts of challenges those patients posed to the doctors. It enabled us to develop a content strategy that helped the company’s sales staff engage that very special group of buyers by delivering useful information in a way that was simple, interesting and that enhanced their own authority. When so many B2B tools are formal and unengaging, the approach and the strategy matter.
The familiarity that business sellers have with their buyers enables them to come close to the B2C benefits that social media has brought to retailers. They might not be able to complete an advertising form using drop-down menus and geographic targeting but they can create personas that are highly detailed and extremely effective. They’re able to produce a content strategy that’s finely targeted and addresses each of the buyer’s biggest concerns.
They might not be able to promote posts to particular individuals or take them out for a drink, but they can create messages that appeal to large numbers of commercial buyers that they’re able to treat as individuals. That’s an even more powerful tool than social media.
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