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B2B personas

What makes good data-driven business customer personas.

Good marketing has to be learned. Content, tone, style and timing are just as crucial as the tricky question: Who are my customers and what do they want? To make the answer easier, a distinction is made between target group and personas. A target group stands for an unlimited number of potential customers with rough identifiers like "between 20 and 40, male, car driver". Its members are faceless, they rarely share behaviour, inclinations or needs. In order to assess them more clearly, one therefore characterises target groups by means of prototypical representatives - the data-based buyer personas or personas for short, which are characterised by personal preferences, tasks, challenges, goals. The term is derived from the Greek-Latin persona, which originally meant "actor's mask" in the sense of "role" and later meant "personality". A persona is therefore a prototype of a target group and has concrete characteristics. To develop data-based personas, one can use information on existing customers, such as self-disclosure forms, sales conversations, or interviews, and draw on representative studies. Ideally, they are the customers whose interests, wishes and needs match the product and thus enable more efficient marketing.

B2B and B2C personas

Data-based buyer personas can be used in B2B as well as in B2C, because no matter which area it is: In the end, it's always about convincing people with good marketing. And people work in a similar way, whether B2B or B2C. data-driven persona profiles help to select the right channels and to address recipients in a targeted manner. If prospective customers feel personally addressed and emotionally understood, they are all the more willing to engage with a product or service. This factor is decisive, especially in the B2C context, where emotions can make a big difference. And in any case, it is also important to sound out the buyer centre.

The Buyer Center

This refers to people within a company who have a say in a purchase, such as users who use the product; technicians who maintain and support it; controllers who monitor the finances; buyers who negotiate the price; lawyers who conclude contracts: Users, who use the purchased product; technicians, who maintain and support it; controllers, who monitor the finances; buyers, who negotiate the price; lawyers, who conclude the contracts. The goal is to optimise the purchase decision through collective knowledge and experience, even if this naturally makes the process longer and more complicated.

Advantages of a data-based B2B persona

The guiding principle in all this is: it is not target groups that buy products, but people. It is their needs, values, wishes, preferences, but also their reservations or fears that matter, and it is important to assess and know them as well as possible. Used sensibly, data-driven personas helps in B2B marketing to put oneself in the shoes of users, customers and interested parties. Creating B2B personas requires the cooperation of all colleagues who have direct contact with customers. In this way, an objective overall picture can emerge and, ideally, work can be done more effectively and cost-efficiently. As already mentioned, target groups comprise rather superficial information such as gender, marital status, age or income. A B2B persona, on the other hand, offers a meaningful profile with concrete behaviours, motivations, attitudes, expectations. A marketing expert illustrates this exemplarily and aptly with the "Simpsons": Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders are both middle-aged white family men with a house in a quiet neighbourhood and similar incomes. Yet their habits and views, their preferences, spleens, intelligence and buying behaviour could hardly be more different. There is all this to consider around the central question: What motivates my customers to buy?

The Negative B2B Buyer Persona

However, companies should not only know who they are targeting, but also who they want to avoid. They can find this out by reversing their tactics and working out so-called data-based negative personas. There are various reasons for not wanting to reach a persona: They are hard to please, they don't fit the business model, they don't trust the product or service, they may communicate aggressively, they cost the company time and money. A classic negative persona is the customer who tests the range of hoovers in the electronics store in detail, compares their prices, takes advantage of the personal advice and then buys the "test winner" at home on the living room sofa at a lower price on the Internet and has it delivered free of charge.

B2B personas - in a nutshell

  • A B2B persona has a meaningful profile with concrete behaviours, customer journey map and expectations and can thus be practically transferred to the B2C sector and applied there.
  • The Buyer Centre comprises the people in a company who have a say in a purchase, from the buyer to the IT engineer.
  • A Negative Buyer Persona is the opposite of a Buyer Persona and represents the people you do not want to reach as customers. This process of exclusion makes it easier to recognise which customers you absolutely want to win, so the ideal customers crystallise out.

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