Know Your B2B Target Audience: A Tactical Guide

magnifying glass on a b2b target audienceThe importance of developing a typical buyer “persona” in B2B marketing is now widely recognized. It’s an effective way of expressing who it is that you’re trying to engage; your B2B target audience.

If you don’t go to the trouble of coming to an accurate understanding of your B2B target audience, you’re unlikely to craft a message that hits the mark and resonates with them. Not only that, but your overall marketing efforts will probably lack a unified direction.

The more you can get into your prospect’s world and mindset, the better. Even after the “persona” exercise has been completed, you should go on learning more about them.

Here are 10 ways you can get to know your audience:

1. Figure Out What the Last Person in Your Seat Knew.

Are you new to your position? Review all previous materials that your team has produced. Others have, no doubt, invested a lot of time, budget, and effort into learning about the prospects in your B2B target audience already, and have been marketing according to their findings. Don’t waste all that work by ignoring it and starting all over again. Stand on their shoulders.

2. Read What Your Target Audience is Reading.

Compile samples of the blogs, eNewsletters, magazines, trade journals, books, reports, and so on, that are influencing them. Get their education.

3. Make a List of the Titles of Books, Seminars and Training Videos Being Promoted to Them.

Here’s a rule of thumb: if publishers are willing to produce books and resources aimed at your audience, those topics are very likely hot issues for them. Especially take note of any that become bestsellers.

4. Hunt ‘Em Down in Forums.

Do your B2b target audience tribe gather somewhere online to shoot the breeze? Even better, are there places they go to discuss their buying decisions and seek out recommendations? Find these watering holes, and you’ll be able to gather invaluable information from their conversations to help you understand their concerns and thinking.

5. Follow Them on Social Media.

Don’t just do this so you can pitch a link to them, but watch what they’re talking about on social channels. Take notes about what’s of interest to them, what they’re sharing, and who THEY’RE following.

6. Attend Their Conferences & Trade Shows.

This, of course, is one of most time-proven strategies. Before there ever was an internet, there were gatherings that provided opportunity for B2B marketers  to rub shoulders with their audience. Today these events still happen live at physical locations, and now there are also the new “virtual” versions online.

7. Try to Discern What Your Competitors Have Figured Out.

Examining the marketing materials of your competitors will often give you lots of clues about their view of your mutual B2B target audience. If you’re astute you can learn on their dime.

Be careful with this one, however! Firstly, there’s always a chance that they are misreading the audience, so you still have to come to your own conclusions. Secondly, you don’t want to become merely an echo of your competition. Discover your own insights if you want to develop your own authentic “voice” with your prospects. Nevertheless, studying your competitor’s work can be instructive.

8. Review the Analytics Of Your Own Online Assets.

Which pages on your website are being viewed most frequently? What content is being downloaded most often? This information can tell you a great deal about your prospect’s interests and concerns.

9. Stay In Touch With Your Sales Team.

A good working relationship between the marketing and sales departments is priceless. By keeping that channel of communication open you’ll be able to talk to your people in the field and find out what are the questions and concerns most often being raised with them when they are following up leads.

10. Don’t Forget to Come Right Out and Ask Your Audience!

Want to know what they’re thinking? Ask them. Conduct a survey or poll (and reward participation). Run a focus group. Gather after-sales customer feedback.

 

Well, that list is a good start, and all 10 are easily implemented. Undoubtedly the list could have been twice as long, so there’s plenty of scope for you to brainstorm more ideas.

Know your B2B target audience!

 

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