Buyer personas are a hot topic of discussion in the B2B marketing world, but how do you create the personas that you need and ensure you are getting the value you need out of them? Do you even need to create B2B buyer personas at all?
B2B buyer personas were the topic of discussion recently on #B2Bchat and the group shared their perspective on these and a number of other questions.
Here are three of the takeaways I came away from the conversation with:
- Many B2B marketers do not understand what a persona is. If you discuss personas, taking an extra minute to define what you mean, and ideally provide an example, will make the discussion more valuable for everyone.
- Some marketers do not see value in personas beyond the audience research. Moving from research and insights to personas may simply be seen as marketing fluff. Agencies or consultants selling persona development need to emphasize the extensive research that goes into their personas, not just the value of the character-based output.
- Keep personas focused on the business environment. Priorities, pain points, information sources, buying process, motivations and roles are key pieces of information. Information on their consumer profile is far less valuable in a B2B context.
Highlights from the chat are captured below or available on Storify.
Looking for more information on creating and using B2B buyer personas? I don’t normally recommend books, but these two are definitely worth your investment:
Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg.
This continues to be my favorite book on personas (note it is not specific to B2B). The perspective on how to determine which personas you need is particularly relevant to, and missing from, many discussions of B2B personas today.
eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee.
Ardath’s book builds on personas to develop more effective B2B marketing. If you are looking to develop better B2B personas or put your personas into action, pick up Ardath’s book and subscribe to her blog.
How do you see personas adding value beyond other forms of audience research, or do you feel personas are simply fluff? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).
Interested in #B2Bchat? Join the discussion on Twitter every Thursday at 8:00 PM New York time using the #b2Bchat hashtag and follow @b2b_chat for announcements of each week’s topic.