Your B2B Buyer Personas Are Outdated

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Your B2B Buyer Personas Are Outdated

The hard truth is, no one came out of 2020 unscathed. As a marketer, how will this change the way we work with our customers in 2021?

Here’s a quick reminder of why personas are so important (even if they’re high on your priority list) according to this helpful article:

  • They use demographic and psychographic details to explain who your ideal customer is.
  • They provide buyers with insights that will help them understand why your ideal customer is pulling out their credit card or order form to buy from you or your organization.

Ask yourself: How has the pandemic, social unrest or the uncertain political environment changed your ideal customer profile (ICP)?

2020 impact on people

Let’s take a look into the windows of the houses where the organizations’ employees live.

Parts of the US are still at a standstill, and we are also still in a precarious political situation and we are struggling with overt racism in our country. According to the CDC, people respond viscerally to these realities:

  1. Fear and concern for their own health and the health of their loved ones, their financial situation or their job, or the loss of support services that they depend on
  2. Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  3. Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  4. Worsening chronic health problems
  5. Worsening mental illness
  6. Increased consumption of tobacco, alcohol and other substances

Does any of them sound uncomfortably familiar? If this were a Facebook quiz I would be a 1, 2, 3, and 6 with a page of 5.

How do people react to fear?

Animals respond differently to fear than they do to fear, according to a paper published by the US National Library of Medicine: “Anxiety can only be a more sophisticated form of fear that provides the individual with an increased ability to adapt and plan for the future.”

How do people react to fear?

According to the same article, fear is a different animal: “Animals can learn to fear situations in which they were previously exposed to pain or stress and then adopt avoidance behaviors when they encounter that situation again.”

Assuming the laws of the animal kingdom apply (very likely, in my opinion, because of course science), a whole subgroup of people spend a lot of time avoiding them as they face complex and stressful circumstances on a daily basis.

But where can you go to escape fear? Being in lockdown means that the source of the fears we want to avoid lies right there in our living rooms, in our home offices, and with everyday errands like trips to the grocery store.

How people and companies buy your B2B products today

Whether or not the companies you target are thriving, their employees are dealing with a complex range of emotions – from oppression to general insecurity. These emotions trigger tangible behaviors that, in turn, affect the way you do business.

Now I am not saying that we should take advantage of the precarious situation in which we live – on the contrary. It is important to be sensitive to the situation so that you don’t accidentally step into a huge puddle of “NOPE” to serve your customers.

Your best case scenario is to help people struggling with anxiety and fear by offering tools and products that will better serve them, be it for Anxiety-Induced Planning (How can we help them plan for the future?) Or Avoidance (How can we help them absorb meaningful information while making authentic connections?)

Changing your approach to B2B buyer personalities

Now let’s turn those questions into messaging, relationship, and content strategies for your overhauled buyer personalities.

Fear-related planning

1. How can we position our products and services to create long-term security?

  • Create white papers to help you understand the long-term and short-term implications of your industry.
  • Revamp the product and service pages to show how the offerings can help demonstrate their success / impact over time.

2. How can we help you plan and build?

  • Provide planning templates.
  • Offer calculators to help you estimate the impact.
  • Set up live events where they can ask critical questions from experts.

3. How do we need to change our offerings so they can look down the street?

  • Include strategic planning tools in the offer.
  • Offer more customer service support to help them plan for the future.
  • Revise the offers to be more flexible so that they can choose based on their needs.

4. How can we receive and respond to your feedback more effectively?

  • Systematize the feedback collection.
  • Create intentional loyalty loops.
  • Build transparency into the roadmap.
  • Celebrate publicly when feedback is included in a quote.

Avoidance

1. How can we create moments of escape?

  • Offer an experience that takes them out of their reality.
  • Find ways to incorporate sensitive humor.
  • Send them real life things for joy.

2. How can we help to avoid being overwhelmed?

  • Offer micro content that allows them to eat it in one bite.
  • Simplify Messages – The Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) approach.
  • Invest in the customer journey and plan every step in the process.

3. How can we create real moments of connection?

  • Check the brand voice for authenticity.
  • Put ambassadors in the marketplace to interact with prospects who really empathize with their issues.
  • Invest in a community that creates a framework in which people can help one another.

4. How can we help people feel comfortable about their decisions?

  • Focus on previous customer satisfaction ratings.
  • Invest in case studies to show (not tell) the success of your product “in the wild”.
  • Request reviews from satisfied customers on powerful platforms.

The power of the personas of B2B buyers

Regardless of the future impact of the 2020 and 2021 pandemic, we are still grappling with today’s marketing needs. When you consider the bigger picture, you and your company can develop deeper empathy and, as a result, create a real connection with your audience when launching campaigns.

The more we see our customers as people who have needs and feelings, the greater the chance that we will connect emotionally with them in our marketing offers – not to manipulate them into buying, but to win over those whom we serve and that they can make life and work really better.

More resources on B2B buyer personalities

How To Use Buyer Personas To Understand Your Customers In A Post-COVID World

Demystified Buyer Personalities: Seven Steps to Success [Infographic]

How to increase the marketing impact with data-driven personas