Persona-based marketing is a powerful tool that helps manufacturing organizations create better customer experiences. That’s because, as you make a real effort to understand your ideal customer, you are able to understand how to answer their questions and provide all the information they need to become your most loyal buyer. Even in manufacturing, your customers have high expectations for personalized, segmented digital marketing experiences. The best way to work towards meeting that expectation is to start with personas.
What is Persona-Based Marketing?
A buyer persona is a representation of a real person with the decision-making power to engage your manufacturing services. And, the more detail you can build into your buyer persona, the better. That’s because you want to imagine a real person, with details like gender, age, job title, geography, family structure, likes, dislikes and needs. If you can better connect with a multi-dimensional persona, you can better structure your marketing programs to meet them where they are and provide the value they need to trust your business.
Persona-based marketing starts with a simple question. “What does this specific person need to see and hear in order to trust my company enough to be ready to buy?” At the most basic level, your manufacturing customer needs to know your company can solve their problem. They want to know you’ve done it for other customers. They want to know they can trust you. In order to go deeper than that, you need to build out deeper buyer personas.
Buyer Persona Basics for Manufacturers
To better understand your ideal customer, start with market research around wholesalers, distributors and end-users of the products or components you sell. It’s important to think about the people who will make decisions about working with you, and not focus only on the products and services you need to sell.
For example, if you make specific plastic components used in automobiles, medical equipment, and construction, your product might be the same across the three, but your buyer personas are very different. Each industry will have different goals, challenges, and needs that you can use to segment your marketing programs.
If you’re already successful in manufacturing, you can supplement your market research with real data about your best customers. Oftentimes, working backwards from a customer you already have and building a persona that helps you to attract more of that type of customer is a great way to grow.
Buyer Persona Components
There are four main aspects to consider when building your buyer personas: demographics, behaviors, psychology and emotion. Again, the more detailed you get, the deeper your understanding, and the more likely your content and marketing programs are to hit the mark and generate business. Let’s explore the most important components of buyer personas.
Gender / Gender Identity
Occupation / Job Title
When deciding which type of buyer persona to create and which persona attributes are important, focus on the goals of your business and your marketing programs. In the B2B manufacturing marketing context, for example, business needs and behaviors will be more important than emotional needs.
How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Manufacturing Business
To start off, identify who your target audience is going to be.
If you don’t have any idea who they are yet, you should conduct some market research.
Market research involves asking questions such as:
“Who are our current customers?”
“What does our competition look like?”
”Where can I find more information about them?”
Once you have identified your target audience, you will want to make sure you research everything about them thoroughly. You need to understand the details behind what makes your target audience your target audience.
2. Narrow it Down to the Common Details Between the Audience Members
Once you have identified your target audience, you now need to focus on the overlapping details between the members. Make sure to include any details that affect how you communicate with your target audience, like the websites they frequent, or the thought leaders they follow.
3. Create Separate Buyer Personas Based on Common Details
People who have similar interests or challenges should be grouped together. This helps you create content that resonates with each persona. Make sure each buyer persona you create includes their goals, challenges, motivations, personality traits, and demographics.
4. Name Each Persona and Give Them a Backstory
You should always assign names to your persona when creating with them. This helps you remember you’re talking to an actual human, and allows you to empathize better.
Creating a story about your customer’s life will help you understand their situation more deeply, and create the type of automated manufacturing marketing programs that draw them to your company.
In B2B marketing for manufacturing, it is important to format the persona in a way that gives you the most knowledge of their responsibilities and job role, what success is to them, and every step of their purchase and decision-making process.
The Importance of Persona-Based Marketing for Manufacturing
By building detailed buyer personas, manufacturing marketers are able to improve understanding of the target audience. That is the key to providing value. When you know exactly who you’re trying to reach and what they want, you can serve up the content that nurtures them into becoming your best customer. Let’s review some of the benefits of persona-based marketing for manufacturers.
Creating buyer personas means that you know your target audience inside and out. So when it comes to marketing, you can be more targeted in your efforts and reach those who actually care about your product or service.
The more personalized your marketing campaign, the better. Persona-based marketing allows for increased personalization since you know exactly who your audience is and what they want from you.
When your persona-based marketing campaign brings in thousands of leads, you will know exactly which leads to score the highest and which to prioritize. The most successful manufacturing marketing teams use lead scoring to prioritize the leads that most closely mirror the buyer personas.
Overcome Customer Pain Points
Part of the buyer persona process is to identify any challenges (or pain points) your customers may experience. You can then solve for these problems by providing the products and manufacturing services that address these issues.
Awareness of Negative Buyer Personas
Creating an ideal buyer persona means you are also aware of any potentially negative buyer personas. This doesn’t mean negative in the colloquial sense, but rather the traits that commonly indicate a bad-fit lead. You can then filter out leads that match these negative traits, freeing up your sales team to focus on the right contacts.
More Effective Content
Creating effective manufacturing marketing content begins and ends with providing value. That means understanding what your audience needs, and providing it in a format they want. By engaging in persona-based marketing for manufacturers, you can craft content that actually leads to higher conversion rates.
How to Implement Persona-Based Marketing for Your Manufacturing Business
Unfortunately, knowing about persona-based marketing is only the first step. Actually implementing it in your manufacturing business can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s go over some easy tips that will help you create the most effective persona-based manufacturing marketing campaign.
Begin With One Persona
As a manufacturing company, you may have personas relating to many different customer types. It can feel intimidating to try and work out what to say and where to say it when you have multiple targets. You may want to build out persona-based marketing campaigns for engineers, buyers, production managers or operations managers. And you may even want to target those types of customers across different industry verticals. The key here is to begin with just one choice and go for it.
Use a Persona Template
A persona template is a document used to capture the key characteristics of each individual persona. Rather than starting from scratch, you can use this document to build out your persona-based marketing strategy. The more information you have about your customers, the better able you’ll be at targeting them effectively.
Create Customer Journey Maps
To create an effective person-based marketing campaign, you need to understand the entire customer journey, from initial interest through to post-purchase. Creating a customer journey map allows you to visualize this buying process and see where potential opportunities exist. Knowing your customer’s journey inside and out could even help you set up an affiliate marketing strategy that complements your persona-based campaign.
Persona-Based Marketing Results in Growth for Manufacturers
Continually Update Your Personas
As your company grows and your products or services change, so do your customers. Make sure you’re checking in consistently to keep your buyer personas updated. Set a schedule for yourself to analyze, compare, and test your buyer personas throughout your manufacturing company’s lifetime.
Match Your Marketing Efforts to Your Personas
There is no point in creating these personas, if they do not end up inspiring and informing your marketing efforts. Everything you do to market your manufacturing company and its products has to start with your ideal customer persona. Your personas will inform your messaging, channels, content types, pace of communication, and so much more.
Create Content to Address Pain Points
Make sure your marketing content addresses any challenges flagged when creating your buyer persona. You need to show your ideal customers that your manufacturing company provides the solution they are looking for.
Be As Personalized As Possible
Everybody wants to feel special, which is why personalized marketing works so well. If you can personalize your messaging, then you’re much more likely to get conversions. Persona-based marketing can be very powerful because you can make sure that every message you send is tailored to the right audience and served on the right channel at the right time.
Why Persona-Based Marketing for Manufacturers Works
As you’ve read throughout this entire article, personalization is absolutely expected by any consumer today – including B2B customers of manufacturing businesses like yours. In order to reach for customers that want you to know and understand them, you need to try and actually know and understand them. And that, friend, starts with personas.