Tagged: BtoB services marketing

What Does a Good B2B Buyer Persona Look Like?

By Julie Schwartz, ITSMA, jschwartz@itsma.com

Part of what makes buyer personas such a powerful tool in shaping marketing messages and content development is in the “personal” aspect.  A buyer persona puts a name and a face onto a composite or archetype of key buyers, making it much easier to connect with the audience as human beings and cater to their needs.

But while many of the demographic and personal details are important in the B2C space, they risk becoming a trap in building B2B personas.  It can be all too easy to yield to the temptation of debating the name, gender, age, education level, marital status, or home life of your personas and give short shrift to the most important areas.

Persona Beliefs_sm

What you really need to articulate in each of your personas – in the voice of the buyer – are statements that address the Five Rings of Buying InsightTM: Priority Initiatives, Success Factors, Perceived Barriers, Decision Criteria, and Buyer’s Journey.

This decision process information is the insight gleaned from in-depth research with buyers.  These are the hidden drivers that offer real competitive advantage and the kind of buyer intelligence that your competitors won’t have.

Beware of templates that are designed to meet B2C needs.  They won’t have the appropriate emphasis on why, when, how, and where B2B buyers make their decisions.  Tony Zambito and the Buyer Persona Institute both offer some good examples of what B2B personas should look like.

Here’s an online example from Adele Revella at the Buyer Persona Institute.  Tony Zambito’s Buyer Persona Canvas is available here.

Yes, there’s a tremendous amount of insight into the things that matter to the buyer on his or her journey.  There’s also still just enough of the “personal” to really make this buyer come alive.  Our advice?  Devote the vast majority of your time to interpreting the research to identify the really useful insights.  But you can still debate the name, if you must.

What Separates ‘A’ Marketers From the Rest of the Pack? [Infographic]

by Julie Schwartz, ITSMA and Laura Patterson, VEM 

Marketing Performance Management Study 2014Despite advances in data, analytics, and technology, only 26% of marketers are capable of determining their impact on their business, according to the latest joint ITSMA and VisionEdge Marketing (VEM) Marketing Performance Management (MPM) Survey.

The Annual MPM Survey captured input from 380 respondents. The research findings provide insights on Marketing’s performance measurement and management challenges and best-practices.

Making the Grade

A key component of the annual study is the number of marketers earning an “A” grade from the C-suite for their ability to measure and report marketers’ value to the business. What separates “A” marketers from the rest of the pack? In particular, “A” marketers…

  • Make performance management a priority
  • Have a well-defined and documented road map for continuous performance improvement
  • Select metrics that measure business outcomes rather than effort and activity
  • Build dashboards that effectively communicate business outcomes and marketing results

Value Creators vs. Program Producers

Marketers who earn an “A” have aligned their marketing objectives with business priorities, enabling them to select the right metrics. These best-in-class marketers are leaders who make the market and offering decisions that create value both for customers and shareholders.

Marketers in the middle of the pack—those who earn a “B”—tend to focus exclusively on enabling sales. The “B” marketers emphasize mapping the buyer journey and producing a steady stream of leads. Although that’s important, there is more to marketing than feeding the sales pipeline.

The laggards, marketers who receive lower grades, are more likely to be perceived to be good at producing marketing campaigns rather than producing business results.

Outperforming Peers

Companies with “A” marketers outperform their peers.

Specifically, 63% of companies with “A” marketers reported increased customer share of wallet, compared with 48% of marketers in the middle of the pack and 38% of laggard marketers.

As for new business growth, 54% of the companies with “A” marketers confirmed improvements in their win rates, compared with 39% and 25% of companies with “B” and laggard marketers, respectively.

For more from the ITSMA and VEM Marketing Performance Management Survey, see the following infographic:

marketing performance what separates A marketers from the rest


Julie Schwartz is senior vice-president of ITSMA, a research-based membership organization that helps B2B companies market and sell services and solutions more effectively. Julie writes at the B2B Services Marketing blog. Reach her via jschwartz@itsma.com. Twitter: @JulieITSMA

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing OrganizationTwitter: @LauraVEM