In the previous blog we looked at Content Marketing and the Inbound Funnel so it’s now important to discuss customer segmentation and buyer personas.
Whether you call them buyer personas (or personae) or customer avatars, it’s never too late to develop them. If you work in marketing or closely with marketing colleagues you will know that the way we group our customers together (segmentation) and choose who to market to (targeting) has changed. Content Marketing has taken us on a journey: from customer segmentation models, marketing to easily defined ‘groups’ of customers to developing buyer personas. We have gone from mass communication to a more personal, visceral understanding of what our customers really want to know.
Marketing has changed.
Customer profiling used to rely upon historical data, past purchase, demographics (age, gender, occupation, etc) and psychographics (values, attitudes, lifestyles, etc).
Then along came social media. At last, we could not only speak to people directly online, but also hear what they had to say about us. And everything else.
Gradually, the old ways of segmenting and targeting are being replaced by a new kind of customer profile.
Old style database building depended on contact data. This was often the starting point, whether it was the business cards you’d collected or a database you’d bought. You will probably have added in customer data and prospect – people who’ve made an enquiry.
You may have first and last name and email address, possibly with other contact details. You may also have some sales data on them and an idea of what their role is within the business.
But is that it?
You can’t create engaging content for your customers if you don’t know anything about them.
You can’t talk to your customers as real people if you just have them as a nameless group on your database, i.e. “lead”, “suspect”, “prospect”. It’s not personal enough.
The customer data businesses have is not the same as customer insight.
… to Buyer Personas
Sometimes called avatars, or customer avatars, buyer personas help us to move beyond broad brush assumptions about our customers or potential customers to something more relevant.
Relevant to them, that is.
And much more personal.
What we’ve learned about our customers is that, surprise surprise, they’re people. Individuals. Complex, quirky and highly unique. In fact, just like us!
How do you get closer to your customer and create great content, web pages and sales materials they will love?
“Customer data is NOT customer insight!”
Your customer’s journey is changing too.
Recent research shows that potential customers are looking at 12 or more sources of information before making a new purchase online. If they’ve never bought that type of thing online before, or more importantly, they’ve never bought online from you before, they want a lot more information. And reassurance.
That’s a lot more marketing.
If you want (and need) to show up in all these different places, a website and a few leaflets just don’t cut it anymore.
Businesses need to be more active in creating a variety of content. And you need to appeal to different consumption patterns, as well as different learning styles across:
word, pictures, film & sound
With blogging, videos, infographics, email marketing, podcasts and other forms of content, along with a more strategic use of social media, you will succeed in providing good quality information at each stage of your customer’s journey.
What does your customer’s journey look like?
You don’t know when your customer is going to move on to the next stage in their decision making. You have to be there, whenever they are ready. You now have more, many more places to share links to the content on your website, including information about your products and services.
Curation, creation and the 80:20 rule
Remember, sharing other people’s content is really valuable too. Collate and share thoughtfully and you will help your customer find the best solution for them. You will also position your brand very clearly in the mind: they will know what you care about.
Your sales, customer services and services teams may have insights that you, the marketer, don’t have.
Content Marketing is the bridge between sales and marketing.
We’ll be looking at how to involve the sales team more in your content marketing in this series of blogs.
What key insights can marketers learn from the sales team?
It’s not easy to get sales and marketing working in harmony but we share tips and real life examples from the sales and marketing teams we’ve worked with – saving you time, money and heartache.
We hope you’ve enjoyed Content Marketing and the Journey from Customer Segmentation to Buyer Personas. Why not check out the other blogs in the series:
- Why Your Sales Team Holds the Key to Content Marketing
- Content Marketing and the Inbound Funnel
- Why your Buyer Personas Need the Sales Team’s Customer Insight
- Buyer Personas: Top 10 Questions for Your Sales Team
Or if video is your preferred content type, click here to view the recording.
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