B2B marketers are good at targeting customers, but often not so good at understanding the personal motivations behind each buyer. Scott Gillum, CEO of Carbon Design, explains what you need to know about the top four B2B buyers.
We all have different personalities, but for some reason we forget about this point when it comes to business marketing. We often treat a person as a specific role, say a chief executive officer, just like all of their colleagues. A CEO is just a CEO, everyone has the same needs, goals and interests.
This is one of the reasons our campaign performance is suffering. Despite our best efforts, benchmark performance for any major metric has not changed in the past 20 years or more. If we look at our best performing campaigns that get a double digit response or click click rates, our error rate is still in the 80-90% range.
After a year of using AI-enabled tools to create personality profiles, we saw a common trend among customers, responders and quality leaders, according to a recent study by Carbon Design. What they have in common: 70-75% of the target groups can be influenced by marketing activities, the rest not, at least not just with marketing.
Looking for “sharers” and “success-oriented” personalities
The personality type shows the motivation and behavior of a buyer. The good news is that our research consistently shows two personality types that are active information seekers and typically make up 65-70% of the audience. It is higher in North America and lower in Asian countries.
The first segment, the “sharer”, actively searches for information that it can share with others. Sharers use a wide range of sources and particularly enjoy using their network. They also like high-ranking, big-picture content that is easy to share – think short, animated videos and infographics. This segment brings new thinking and new solutions to the organization and you can sell it to others.
The second segment, the “success-oriented” person, is looking for information that can help them, their team or company improve their performance. That person is a driver and if you can connect with them they will become an advocate for your brand or solution.
B2B marketing was awakened years ago by the need to incorporate emotion into its messages, and now we know that personal connection resonates with that particular audience segment.
These are your marketing goals. You may or may not be a decision maker, or you may have a C-level title, but one thing is certain: you are a critical audience for marketing messaging and performance.
Avoid “Steady Eddies” and fight against the “challengers”.
Let us now turn to the two groups that are not targets. First and foremost are the “safety-oriented” people. These are your “Steady Eddies” and want nothing more than to stay in the status quo. They take your content and use it to strengthen their current position. Marketing alone cannot displace them. Because of this, you have to rely on an influencer and / or other members of the buying group to move them.
Last but not least, the “challenge” are people. They are motivated to deny or discuss anything that contradicts their existing point of view. Fortunately known as skeptics, they get involved late in the buying process and are often the final hurdle to overcome before a final decision can be made. The upside is that once they are hired they can become lawyers, but to get them you need a salesperson or an in-house influencer.
Here’s the point, any of these four personalities can be the CEO that you are targeting. However, we use an approach to developing content and / or a way to include it. Yes, they may have similar needs in the role, but they seek and use information differently – and that is determined by their personality.
Until now, marketing has not been able to effectively read the audience. With sophisticated AI tools, we can now tailor content and approaches to attract specific types of prospects – the keys to launching and expanding new opportunities. We can also improve executive development activities by better understanding motivations, interest, and connection with others within the purchasing group.
Finally, we have the opportunity to significantly improve performance while satisfying the needs of the audience. To seize this opportunity, you need to get to know buyer not just as a title or role, but as a person. Because at the end of the process, a person makes a decision and that decision is personal.
Scott Gillum is the founder and CEO of Carbon Design
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