How to get to know your B2B customers

Maddy Cooper, founding partner at Brilliant Noise, provides insights into B2B customer behaviour

B2B marketers know that they need to focus on their customers. Not just the businesses they're hoping to sell to, but the individuals charged with making the purchase. However, getting to know those customers is not always easy. The vast array of tools and market research that's on tap for consumer brands just isn’t available at the same scale for B2B.

Personas

B2B personas can be too thinly drawn. We often see personas that are product rather than needs focused. Useful personas must explore the needs, behaviours and attitudes of your customers - these details can then be used to explore which of your products is right for them. You can use data from research firms (such as Global Web Index) to build these personas - the more you know about where your customers are, and what they are looking for, the more useful your communications will be.

Getting to know your current audience

Audience profiling tools are invaluable for getting to know your current audience. We find that assumptions are often validated at this point - and further detail can be added. The data gathered helps us to understand more about the context in which any content or communications will be seen. This is also a fantastic way to identify potential publication partners, as you get real insight into the media your audience is consuming.

Primary research

Audience profiling tools have not replaced the deep insights made possible by conducting primary research. Once you have an idea of the communications you want to create, it's hugely valuable to find out how your audience will react. A traditional focus group, survey or one to one interviews will yield huge returns.

B2B customer research will always be difficult because of the lack of extrapolated data - but that shouldn’t put you off. When most B2B communications are jargon heavy and unimaginative, something focusing on the individual decision makers can make all the difference.

Don’t forget that in the digital marketing landscape you will be competing for audience attention with the B2C brands - your message has to resonate.