Personas & digital marketing; Make it easier to buy from you

MarketingSherpa recently released research indicating that 41% of B2B firms have established buyer personas, while 47% of organizations do not. This is not a shock. I have found that in the digital space most marketers are so concerned with moving fast, just to keep up, that they lose sight of whom they are actually trying to engage.

The practice of persona creation is not new, although the behaviours and ways your audience engages with your brand are. This is a dynamic shift in the way that you understand an influencer, or buyer of your products. Today, the consumer is in the driver’s seat, so in order to be considered for purchase you must first be found and then be relevant.

Facilitate your audience’s natural behaviour

It is important to realize that technology does not change people’s behaviour, it enables it. For example, word of mouth is still a major influencer in a purchase decision, but this does not just happen at the water cooler or dinner table anymore. Today, platforms like Bazaar Voice and Twitter have changed the way WOM inserts itself into a buying decision. Remember the last time you where looking at a new TV or tablet on, and the rating of someone you have never met actually make you think twice about the brand you where thinking about purchasing – or it in fact validated your original thoughts which made you feel like you were making the right decision.

As a modern marketer or sales executive, you need to first understand how people buy, then ask yourself it you are actually helping to facilitate what your audience is naturally trying to do. Or are you missing key online pieces that make it harder to buy from you? Perhaps a new competitor is doing a better job than you are.

Breaking news: Marketing takes sales for lunch

Personas and digital marketingMarketingSherpa’s study also showed what resources companies are using to gain insight when building a digital persona. As you can see, the people who have the most touch points with the end users and buyers are the most valuable sources of information. There is also a blend of qualitative and quantitative analysis that helps validate the information. Marketing and sales are no longer separate disciplines – there is interplay between both much deeper into a sales cycle than ever before.

Digital hand holding

In going through the cathartic process of understanding how your audience buys and the role online plays in this process, it is important to also understand how your audience deals with digital. In a recent book by Gord Hotchkiss his research team looked into how business buys from business in a digital marketplace. Part of this process was identifying the differences between a Digital Immigrant (someone over 30, who had to adapt to digital) verses a Digital Native (someone under 30 who grew up in a digital world). Mapping your audience’s behaviours, digital preferences, and buying process will enable you to start building your own modern digital personae – Making it easier for your audience to buy from you.