There is a link between the persona and content marketing that is ignored at one’s own risk. The persona reveals the individual who is the executive, with his or her unique information behavior, preferences and aversions, and often-conflicting personal and professional motivations. The content must connect with these individuals if we are to satisfy, impress and engage. Here are three things we’ve learned about the b2b target market that we hope will help you.
1. No one in a corporation makes a decision by themselves.
While conducting persona research with selected high-tech CIOs, one stopped the interview,
Just wait a minute. You marketing guys are all alike. You think that because I’m the CIO that you have to send everything to me, and I get boatloads of information every day. Let me tell you, I don’t make all the decisions around here. Moreover, while you are a respected vendor, I resent having to go through all of the information you send and dole it out to who really needs it. I have a staff of talented, dedicated professionals who run these departments. They put the decisions on the table for discussion. You would do well to learn who they are, what they do and what they need.
Not only is this a clear expression that the corporation needs and values the content, it is a long arms flat forehead moment. No one in a corporation makes a decision by themselves. There is a decision making unit, e.g., a technical buyer, an economic buyer and an end-user, who each require content to fulfill their obligations.
2. There’s a sphere of influence
Recent persona research we have also conducted urges us to also include “the assistant” or the individual entrusted by the decision maker with doing the research. These people “punch above their weight”, usually having outsized influence because they conduct, and thus curate content research.
Also, who does the executive turn to for advice? Content referencing or authored by these influencers may be seen as a value-add.
3. The nuances of messaging can blow up your goals
A technology client had built a very successful SMB business and was now looking to move to the enterprise. Their tag line was The Cloud Back-up Experts – their service was backup and recovery. Persona research came to two conclusions: One, back-up is not valued, the corporation only values data recovery. There were two distinct personas, one that was comfortable with putting their data in “the cloud” and one that was not. The latter group had an “almost religious aversion to the cloud” and would avoid mention of the topic.
In short, what you don’t know can kill you.