4 Tips to Go from Buyer Profiling to Buyer Personification
B2B companies have focused on understanding their buyers for years, ever since segmentation became a staple in successful business marketing. The market had evolved enough to realize that buyer profiles can revolutionize the way firms market their products and boost conversions. However, we’ve moved beyond simple buyer profiling to a need for real, human interaction. For that reason, buyer personification is the new way to really get to know your buyers in a B2B setting.
The Issues with Profiling
This shift from simple profiling to total personification seems small on the surface, but is complex underneath. Today’s firms are beginning to see the limits when evaluating buyer profiles. To start with, customer profiling is a little more difficult to do in a business-to-business setting. The marketing and acquisition techniques operate on a much broader spectrum because you’re targeting larger units at a time, rather than single consumers.
Furthermore, profiling operates under the assumption that the buyer remains the same for a long period of time. It doesn’t take into account the many factors that can influence a purchasing decision. It’s better than no customer personalization at all, but the constant evolution of the human mind and browsing habits separates buyer reality more than most businesses are comfortable with.
4 Tips for Personifying Buyers
Looking at big-picture personification offers a holistic approach that more closely matches an accurate buyer depiction in B2B. Here are a few important factors that go into developing this new customer regime.
1. Monitor the Economy
Buyer decisions will always be directly affected by the economy, which will fluctuate as much as the buyer. The current state of the economy will have a profound impact on their purchasing decisions and company goals.
Consider the oil industry, for example. Right now, the economy is in a rough spot for rigs, due to high supply and low demand. As a result, oil companies have limited purchasing power. As soon as the market shifts in their favor, they’ll have high purchasing power. This is just one aspect of buyer “personality.”
2. Make Goals Like Your Buyers
It’s good to have mission statements and company goals, but they shouldn’t be separate from the goals your buyers have. This will get you thinking like a human buyer would, with all of the shifts in factors, economies, and budgets. You obviously won’t be able to guess what they’re thinking at all times, but keeping your goals flexible will enable elasticity for your buyers, and get you closer to what they’re thinking.
3. Watch Buying Behavior Shifts
The internet has helped facilitate changes in buying and shopping habits. There’s no way to point to buyer A and say they shop the same way every time, and it’s completely different from the way buyer B shops. But there will be overlap and changes in the way buyers approach their purchases.
As you learn to personify your buyers, you’ll begin to sense the need for flexibility in your profiling. Buyers won’t fit into single categories, and as you begin to detect shifts in patterns, you’ll be able to evolve your marketing strategy to keep up.
4. See the Big Picture
The biggest difference between profiling and personifying is the ability to step back and see the bigger picture. It’s realizing that buyer personas are not a tool for profiling buyers, but part of a holistic process for understanding your target audience and marketing effectively.
Embracing the concept of personification is what will help businesses reach higher standards, acquire more customers, and build stronger relationships with existing purchasers.