Personalization has long been considered the Holy Grail of effective marketing. No matter which industries you serve, your customers want to know that you understand their goals and challenges; and that you can provide personalized solutions to meet their unique needs.
B2C marketers have already made incredible strides in personalized marketing. Just take a quick scan of your email and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean. See that one from your favorite retailer reminding you that spring is here and it’s time to pack up those winter sweaters and refresh your wardrobe? Yep, that’s what I’m talking about.
When it comes to B2B marketing, we’re seeing major shifts to personalization, too. A perfect example of this is persona-based marketing, which utilizes buyer personas to create specific campaigns. These buyer personas are personalized representations of your actual customers that take into account who they are, what they are trying to accomplish, what their goals are and how they behave throughout the buying cycle.1 Once these personas have been established and defined, it’s possible to create content that is aligned to each persona’s pain points and journey throughout the buying cycle.
While the value of persona-based marketing is obvious, what is sometimes overlooked is the nuance of segment-specific messages that can take personalization (and personas) to another level. Consider this – does a CIO for a retail organization have the exact same pain points and challenges as a CIO for a financial services firm? While there may be some overlap, most likely they each have very specific and unique issues that are tied to their industry segment. These nuances are critically important for our clients that serve multiple industries.
Combining Persona-Based Marketing and Segment Specific Messaging
When defining your buyer personas, it’s important to take into consideration information like title, role, responsibilities, budget, purchasing power, purchasing concerns, pain points, challenges, etc. This is also the ideal phase to consider each of these areas through an industry lens and examine how industry specific trends/issues/customer demands shape a particular persona’s roles and responsibilities.
For example, in the financial services industry, trends such as regulation and compliance, customer experience, M&A and emerging technology like AI or machine learning are shaping how financial organizations operate, deliver services and drive revenue.
Now, consider how these trends might impact specific personas within a financial services organization. For example, the Head of Retail Innovation at a bank is responsible for identifying emerging trends that can enhance the customer experience (e.g. digital and mobile access, solution focused branches, machine learning and fraud detection) and drive the bank’s bottom line. And, they represent the customer perspective in all IT decision making.
Understanding how segment specific nuances impact each persona’s roles and responsibilities is critical, but to achieve true personalization, it’s imperative to craft segment specific messaging aligned to each persona. In the case of a bank’s Head of Retail Innovation, key messages would include: mitigating risk through regulatory compliance initiatives, improving the customer experience via channel optimization and creating business value with emerging technology. These specific messages can then be weaved into each piece of content that is aligned along the buyer’s journey; ensuring that your content is relevant, personalized and valuable.
A great place to start is to evaluate and refine the content you’ve already created. Many of you most likely have already established buying personas for your solution or services, and those personas can serve as a perfect jumping off point to create segment-specific persona-based messages.
First, review your existing list of personas against the industries that you serve. Do each of these personas exist in each industry and/or are there new or different personas that should be added – for example, a CIO might be a persona across every industry, but a VP of Store Operations might be specific to retail. Use a critical eye here – really evaluate which personas, by industry, you want to target.
Next, evaluate the roles, responsibilities, pain points, challenges and purchasing trends of each persona through your industry lens. How do key trends or issues impact how or what each persona does? Then, you’re ready to start crafting segment-specific messages that align to each persona. This is where you pull it all together!
And, last but not least, be sure to validate your newly crafted messages. Test them out with key internal stakeholders – sales is a great place to start, since they’re likely interacting with these personas on a regular basis. But don’t be afraid to test them with your existing customer base to ensure that you’ve captured their unique challenges, goals and point-of-view.
Putting Segment-Specific Persona Based Message to Work
Now that you’ve spent the time to create these beautiful, personalized segment-specific persona-based messages, the last thing you want to do is to let them die on the proverbial marketing vine. It’s time to start weaving them into your content marketing campaigns.
Take the Head of Retail Innovation persona from above as an example. Evaluate what new content could be created or existing content could be personalized to directly target this persona. Perhaps an infographic that outlines the technology investments banks are making in core customer experience areas – that would be ideal for the awareness stage of the buyer journey. Or, moving into consideration, an eBook that outlines how data analytics solutions can be used to improve fraud detection and better secure sensitive customer data. As for the decision stage, a buyer’s guide that outlines how to evaluate and select digital banking solutions to deliver the best customer experience – and drive cost-efficiencies – would be perfect.
Are you ready to take your personalized marketing – and messaging – to the next level? If so, give us a shout via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We offer a wide range of marketing communications services designed to help our clients craft powerful messages that resonate in the markets and industries they serve. You can learn more about our messaging services here.
Author: Andrea Davis, VP, Message Development & Customer Validation Practice