Creating buyer personas is fundamental to marketing success. Built using insight and evidence, buyer personas allow sales and marketing teams to accurately understand their audience and position solutions that truly respond to their needs.
The trouble is, it’s easy to rely on assumption when profiling an audience. And even with supporting facts and figures, confirmation bias (that human tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of what we already know) can skew things right up.
As you profile your manufacturing audience, watch out for these five clichés to keep your persona marketing highly targeted.
Cliché #1: Your customer is like your sales team
When your sales team is face-to-face with the customer day in, day out, they’ll be doing all they can to build rapport and identify with their buyers. And you’ll no doubt turn to them as you begin to profile your audience. But here’s where the cliché lies: your customer is not like your sales team.
Despite sharing love of rugby, beer or indie music, family life, dogs or cars, the rapport your sales team has worked so hard to build is only one part of the buyer’s persona.
In-depth questionnaires and action-based evidence must also be your allies. Direct contact with the buyer is critical. Listen to what they say and pay close attention to what they do.
Cliché #2: It always comes down to price
It never comes down to price. Price may be a contributing factor, but it is never the only reason a business selects or rejects products or services. Price is an easy excuse to make when the nuances of a decision are too hard to articulate.
It might be that the procurement manager finds your proposals too complex. The design engineer may not wholly trust the product. Or are they nervous about the impact on delivery time?
Is this information going to filter back to your sales team? Not always. When you hear ‘price’ as an objection, lift the lid on the cliché and get to the root of the rejection.
Cliché #3: Procurement managers are roadblocks
With so much purchasing power, procurement managers can appear to be roadblocks if they’re not on your side. On the other hand, when the relationship is understood and effectively built, they can be powerful new business partners.
Whatever the situation, avoid this dangerous cliché. When a marketing persona is built from a limiting belief, opportunities to connect and serve the client are missed. It prevents us from seeing what else might be possible. And in truth, procurement managers play a key role in the sales funnel. We must do everything we can to remove that roadblock and build beneficial bridges.
Cliché #4: They don’t do social; they’re not online
Social media activity is not synonymous with online activity. Few professionals today are isolated from the Internet. While they might not engage with social channels, they will be reading articles and researching information online. They’ll be served adverts and calls to action like every other online user.
As you build your marketing personas, think beyond this cliché. Your buyer is not immune to the power of online marketing. Get smart and observe where and how they’re influenced – in business and in life – to find the best platforms for your marketing messages.
Cliché #5: Work-based fears are always about work, not life
Yes, failing to deliver the right components, at the right price and the right time is a driving concern for manufacturing procurement managers. But the fear of doing a bad job derives from a need to protect life, status and loved ones.
Go deep enough into your audience’s psyche and you’ll find the biggest fears are always personal. While it might not be appropriate to articulate this in your messaging, it’s an important cliché to consider when profiling your buyer. Connect work-based fears with life goals and ambitions for a balanced portrayal.
It’s easy to rely on stereotypes and clichés when profiling your audience. Our template for creating buyer personas gives you a framework to help you avoid these common mistakes, understand the lifecycle of your buyer and create targeted content.