Buyer Persona Development & Data: Planning Successful Inbound Campaigns
Written by Becky Armstrong
Mar 9 2016
To ensure you get more of the clients you want, ensure your persona development process is based on real client data. Get it wrong (through assumption, guesswork and out-of-date profiling), your entire campaign will be derailed resulting in poor quality leads and ROI. For an Inbound campaign with lead generation goals, correct persona development is crucial.
81% of buyers will pay a premium for industry experience and industry-specific solutions, but only 44% of B2B marketers use Buyer Personas. - ITSMA
When developing your persona profile:
Use your own client information and industry data to clearly identify your ideal prospect. A data foundation ensures all campaign activity is best targeted to resonate with the right prospects.
Remember that a single persona type can include many job title variations. For example you may be targeting Marketing Directors, this umbrella may include job roles such as CMO or Heads of Marketing.
Keep in mind that all members of your Marketing and Sales teams need to understand who your prospect persona is. Your web design, content, social messaging, sales conversations - even product development - should be aligned to address the challenges your personas face.
3 Ways Data Informed Personas Create Successful Inbound Campaigns
Image: Basing campaigns on persona selection.
1. They Help To Align Your Service Offering
For a lead generation goal, a successful marketing campaign is one that generates traction with best-fit leads (your personas). The way to do that is to use persona data to understand the business challenges your best-fit prospects have (that your solution helps to solve), then build your campaign around addressing those challenges.
By using current client data to understand your persona's prime challenges (or marketing triggers) - that your product or solution can solve, not just any challenges - you can identify exactly how to plan and position your inbound campaigns, product and content.
A simple way to define a marketing trigger is:
MARKETING TRIGGER = (CUSTOMER PROBLEM + YOUR SOLUTION) - (YOUR BRAND)
Marketing triggers are brand solution agnostic (Awareness stage challenges), persona specific and are simply the thing that inspires your prospects to search for a solution at the awareness stage of their purchasing journey.
Once you understand your personas and their marketing triggers;
Use data to see what challenges your product/service has resolved for previous clients. (These are likely to be your product’s features/benefits).
Use that data to determine which service/products are a best fit to solve those persona challenges, and use both to form the direction of your Inbound campaign
2. They Ensure Campaign Content Resonates With Your Best-Fit Audience
Image: Aligning personas against a hub of content.
With accurate data at the heart of your persona development, you can immediately enhance the specificity of your content. By addressing the content topics you know your personas will be interested in, and promoting it via the digital environments you know they use, campaigns become more relevant.
Start by reviewing your persona’s marketing triggers and pain. Where do they need help? What features of your solution can address those pain points that you could write about?
Keep your persona’s job role and position in mind to pitch your content at the right level. Consider if they are a decision maker or an influencer, then use this to specify your content. For example for a decision maker you may write [a Marketing Director’s guide to X], but change the angle to [X things your boss needs to know] for an influencer persona.
Don’t forget your existing clients. Keep them in mind at all times and interview them regularly to keep your data up to date, and identify any further challenges you may be able to resolve.
3. They Keep Campaigns Up To Date and Relevant For Increased Engagement
Developing a persona profile is an ongoing task. You must keep your persona information and challenges up to date to ensure your content remains on target and will maintain relevance with key audiences. To keep campaign content on track;
Ensure your persona’s data and challenges are still relevant. Interviews with your clients, and social and content tools such as BuzzSumo can help provide an overview of data on current topics of relevance, or identify what content is trending and what may be popular for your specific industry.
Do your research and backup all content ideas with data. Ensure there is evidence of traffic or ‘shares’ on topics you propose to write about before you write them. As with persona development, don’t just base content ideas on gut instinct!
Personas, and specifically the data gathered about your ideal prospects, should be used at every step of an Inbound campaign to ensure it resonates as much as possible with your ideal buyers. Get your persona wrong, get the data wrong or fail to consider it and your lead generation campaign will go off track and fail.