May 3, 2021 Content Chat Recap: Lessons Learned in Multichannel B2B Marketing

A #ContentChat header image that says today's topic is lessons learned in multichannel b-to-b marketing, with guest Shruti Deshpande.

To be successful in marketing, you must understand your brand’s ideal buyers and the multitude of channels that they engage on and seek resources to help with their work. In this #ContentChat, we’re joined by Shruti Deshpande, a marketer with 10+ years of experience executing multichannel B2B marketing campaigns, to discuss lessons learned in multichannel B2B marketing. Check out the full chat recap below, where we discuss how to identify your ideal buyer persona, ways to optimize your multichannel B2B marketing campaigns, and pitfalls to avoid along the way.

Q1: What is a buyer persona, and how is it useful for content marketing?

A buyer persona is a mold of your ideal customer. This persona should describe the person’s role, challenges they face, how they define success, where they fit in the buying process, and much more (which we’ll discuss in Q2).

A1a. Buyer persona is a mold of your ideal customer. It is a detailed description of who represents your target audience. #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

A1a: A buyer persona is a snapshot of your ideal customer.

It includes the role the person plays in the buying process, the critical challenges they face, and how they define success, all as it relates to your brand’s product or services. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

A1 A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer based on research
It helps you narrow down the who, how, what, where, when of marketing a service/product
-Alyx #ContentChat https://t.co/kujUUx0apy

— Charlie & Alyx – Charlie Appel Agency (@ColfaxInsurance) May 3, 2021

A1 When you are writing marketing copy for any format, the buyer personal represents the answer to “Who” when you’re working through the development questions of Who?, What?, When?, Why?, Where? and How Much? #ContentChat

— Derek Pillie 🎯 (@derekpillie) May 3, 2021

A1a: Buyer persona is basically a very detailed description of someone representing your target audience. It includes interests, demographics, online behavior, buying habits and other behavioural traits. #ContentChat

— Momina (@toppingofirony) May 3, 2021

A1: Buyer persona = demo, pshcho and firmographics of a target customer. Used for: (s) poking holes in theories about who you thought your target customer was; (b) detecting loose, faint signals of resonance among buyers; (c) letting customers have if your way.
#contentchat

— Ed Alexander (@fanfoundry) May 3, 2021

Marketers use buyer personas to create more personalized content that will actually resonate with their ideal customer. A brand will have multiple buyer personas, but each piece of content should focus on just one. It is easier to spark an emotional connection with your reader if you understand and address their unique needs.

A1b. In a crowded playing field, it is important that your content marketing stands out, resonates with the right audiences and invokes an emotional reaction. #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

A1c. A well defined buyer persona allows to create content that encourages potential customers to take notice, and engage with the content and take further action. Defining a clear target audience can allow you to focus your marketing efforts. #ContentChat🤓

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

A1b: In the context of your #ContentMarketing, while you may have a handful of buyer personas to reflect the many people involved in decision-making, you want to create each piece of content with only one of your personas in mind, so it resonates. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

With apologies to Jim Collins, a buyer persona embodies your lightning-rod customer. You need to understand this person to target your content. Without that understanding, you’re unlikely to succeed. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan (@johncloonan) May 3, 2021

A1b: Your content efforts need to have a reason. Creating and marketing content blindly without any defined target audience and end goals is pretty much useless. Your buyer persona helps you create relevant, valuable and engaging content for your target audience#ContentChat

— Momina (@toppingofirony) May 3, 2021

A1: A buyer persona is a detailed description of your target consumer. It’s great to use a buyer persona to develop content that will evoke the desired response from the consumer by using the persona as a guide! #contentchat

— Stephanie Albert (@stephal1698) May 3, 2021

Q2: How can brands build the most relevant buyer persona for their business? What information should they include?

Start with basic details about your buyer, including age, gender, demographics, and income.

A2a. Define basic aspects first like age, gender, demographics, income etc. #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

Use your existing customer base to inform your initial personas. Set up 1:1 conversations or short surveys to further understand their spending habits and how they prefer to find and consume information.

A2: To develop detailed and accurate personas, you need to have access to your best customers. Through 1:1 conversations, analyzing your data, and surveying your mailing list you can delve deeply into the kind of content that can be useful to them. #ContentChat https://t.co/woddyi3Crn

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

Surveys and polls give some great insights! #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

My most useful personas have been those where I was able to interview customers first then validate what I heard from them with a broader survey of our content consumers. So incredibly helpful! #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

A2: You want to look at people who have already converted. What do they have in common? Activities, interests, opinions? Technographics, psychographics, sociographics. Be able to answer the question “Who is this person?”#ContentChat

— John Cloonan (@johncloonan) May 3, 2021

Cover the basics first. Age, gender, geography, interests, social media preferences
Ask current and prospective customers about their buying and spending habits, what platforms they use the most, why they align with certain brands, what they like about your brand#ContentChat https://t.co/F0zCegUFEV

— Momina (@toppingofirony) May 3, 2021

Ask your best customers why they prefer you. Also ask your other potential customers (or the fish that got away) how they solve their pain now, and evaluate that difference (why they do/don’t buy from you). #contentchat https://t.co/dymkbO4vCU

— Ed Alexander (@fanfoundry) May 3, 2021

Add details like lifestyle, hobbies, interests, ideals and values, and more to further build out and differentiate your buyer personas.

A2b. Narrow further by adding aspects like lifestyle, hobbies and interests, ideals and values. #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

A2: As an author, I like to include everything from education to hobbies to whether she drinks coffee or tea – it helps me locate where she’s hanging out.#ContentChat https://t.co/Oi6B8jFunt

— Kathryn Lang – hopesmith and dream ignitor (@Kathrynclang) May 3, 2021

A2 Everything and anything
Likes and dislikes, hobbies, how they handle ‘off’ days, where/how they like to shop, age range, income, where they like to go for fun, etc
-Alyx #ContentChat https://t.co/hzFO8W0Hsl

— Charlie & Alyx – Charlie Appel Agency (@ColfaxInsurance) May 3, 2021

Create a “negative persona,” one that is similar to the buyer persona but never converts, to fine-tune your list.

A2c. For B2B, add industry and job title. Often defining a negative persona -one that is similar to the buyer persona but never converts helps fine tune the audience too #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

I really love this suggestion—to define a negative persona too. It’s all too easy to target content to a persona who is never going to buy your product, or to refer anyone your way. I use a similar approach when defining brand voice—who are you NOT? #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

And remember that your audience needs are constantly evolving. Be sure to review and update your buyer personas at least once a year or after significant cultural events (like a pandemic).

A2:For me buyer personas are work in progress. Like time their evolution never stops. #ContentChat

— Wayne Hendry (@ideakid88) May 3, 2021

Q3: Although there is often a clear buyer persona, there could also be key ‘influencer personas’ that shift the decision-making process. How do you identify these personas?

An influencer persona is someone who has the power to influence decisions and opinions.

A3a. An influencer is an individual who has the power to influence decisions and opinions. #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

A3: That’s where the “gap” methodology comes into play. Determine your decision-maker, and then think about who has their ear. Key direct reports, colleagues, and internal experts. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan (@johncloonan) May 3, 2021

A3b: Frequently, the person considered as the decision-maker isn’t deciding what to purchase so much as determining the need for a class of purchase, eg – deciding a CRM is needed versus deciding to purchase Salesforce. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan (@johncloonan) May 3, 2021

Many people first think of celebrities or individuals with a significant number of followers on social media channels as the best influencers. However, micro- and nano-influencers can be even more effective at encouraging action from their followers.

A3b. Though celebrities are often considered as influencers due to their fame and reputation, often regular folks have proved to have even greater success as they are more relatable. #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/aJ4JsfnGfG

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

Completely agree. Micro-influencers often have a much bigger impact than influencers-for-hire with large follower counts. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

A3: When I worked with brands way back in the LAN party gaming days, we helped sponsors understand the micro-influencers that could make or break major hardware purchases. Don’t make them work, lay it out for them. #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/TSnE0Mhyko

— Kevin Mullett (@kmullett) May 3, 2021

It’s rare that there is just one decision-maker in any buying process. Influencer personas can include industry experts, analysts, bloggers, and journalists.

A3a In #B2B it’s rare for just one person to make a purchase decision. For example, a company purchasing new marketing software may have the CMO’s admin do initial research, a digital marketing manager vet vendors, and the CMO sign the contract. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

A3b: Creating content for the people who are helping the final decision-maker research their purchase options is very important.

Other influencers can include industry experts, analysts, bloggers, and journalists, each of whom have different needs + expectations. #ContentChat https://t.co/EzTjbX0t8z

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

It’s just as relevant in #B2C – look at college, cars, there are SO MANY people who can influence big buying decisions. Don’t confine your personas to a single decision matrix, understand the journeys your customers are on and how your strategy ties in with them. #ContentChat

— Derek Pillie 🎯 (@derekpillie) May 3, 2021

A3. “Influencer Persona” could be member of team, posse, household, or idolatry who influence(s) the purchase. How to ID them? Whew, elusive. Often subtle, silent, unknown. Seldom appears as patterns, even in large data. If found, treat each uniquely. #contentchat. https://t.co/IkYt8YR1EN

— Ed Alexander (@fanfoundry) May 3, 2021

Find influencers by using social listening tools, asking your customers about who they turn to for recommendations, and monitoring for active voices and thought leaders in your space.

A3: You identify relevant influencers by researching, asking your clients and communities, and the buying relationships with the ones you want help from. Do not pitch the cold as that is a digital form of a cold call#ContentChat pic.twitter.com/i3jcI1sdgj

— Wayne Hendry (@ideakid88) May 3, 2021

A3: the best influencers for your brand are people who use it, like it and are more likely to recommend it. IMO, dont go with the no. of followers that person has but go with someone who will work hard to promote your brand bcs they believe in it#ContentChat https://t.co/N47E4XBVbI

— Momina (@toppingofirony) May 3, 2021

Q4: How should marketers get started with planning a multichannel marketing campaign? How can brands optimize the efficiency of their planning?

As with any marketing campaign, align on these key elements when planning a multichannel marketing campaign:

Aspects important in multichannel marketing campaign planning are;
👉Define and agree your main goal
👉Define key target audience
👉Identify channels these audience use
👉Develop content in the format that resonates
👉Establish success criteria
#ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

Your audience persona(s) for the campaign should guide which channels you prioritize and when you reach out to your target buyers.

A4a: Go back to the persona(s) you’ve created for the campaign. Figure out in which channels they are reachable. Start in those places.#ContentChat

— John Cloonan (@johncloonan) May 3, 2021

A4b: Figure out in which stages of the funnel you need to reach those persona(s) in what channels. Plan content appropriate for the stages and channels. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan (@johncloonan) May 3, 2021

A4 Good research on your personas will make determining what channels you will use to reach them more efficient. You can guess, but it’s always better when you know, but knowing costs money and/or resources. #ContentChat

— Derek Pillie 🎯 (@derekpillie) May 3, 2021

Speak with people actively involved in the communities you’re targeting. Ensure you have a full grasp of your ideal buyer’s needs before approaching them. Otherwise, you can come across as inauthentic or simply never reach them.

A4: (& applicable to Q3:) You can research, but there’s nothing like having someone who natively PARTICIPATES in (whatever) to really understand who holds influence, the real questions & considerations, who’s a talking head phony, & who/what represents “them.” #ContentChat

— Kevin Mullett (@kmullett) May 3, 2021

A4b: In doing so you discover where your audience REALLY hangs out. Who they really listen too. What they actually care about. A lot of persona dev is cutting through noise and misdirection. #ContentChat

— Kevin Mullett (@kmullett) May 3, 2021

Q5: What are some common multichannel marketing pitfalls that B2B marketers often face and how can they avoid them?

Set a clear goal and identify a key target audience for each campaign. You must have a definition of success to understand if your approach is effective. Additionally, remember to focus on customer retention, not just customer acquisition.

A5a. Some of the most common marketing pitfalls are;
👉Failing to set a clear goal
👉Not identifying key target audience
👉Marketing only to new customers
👉Not doing enough research- just gut feeling won’t take you far #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

Target a select list of channels that matter to your buyers and existing customers. Customize your content for each community. Simply copying and pasting the same message in every channel is not multichannel marketing.

A5b. Spreading yourself too thin on more channels is a common one- define and focus #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

A5 All of these AND don’t just copy and paste the same message in every channel and call it multi-channel marketing!!! 🙂 #ContentChat (apologies for the exclamation points) https://t.co/WlLZfjkNRE

— Derek Pillie 🎯 (@derekpillie) May 3, 2021

A5: Thinking that a channel holds all of the or no value. Rarely is that the case. The question is what content, tact, and effort is correct for each. Also common is thinking that normal humans monitor all channels, all the time, like us marketers do. *They don’t. #contentchat https://t.co/3nKvqkMuUs

— Kevin Mullett (@kmullett) May 3, 2021

Stay consistent in your voice and message. There is often a disconnect for the buyer if your teams are siloed with competing owners and goals.

A5: A common issue that happens with multichannel marketing is a lack of a consistent brand voice and message, frequently caused by channel silos with competing owners and goals. Don’t show your organizational seams! #ContentChat https://t.co/ySVSM3A79H

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

Most issues occur when you do not understand your customers. Take the time to build accurate customer personas that can drive a successful campaign strategy.

A5: I started to list them all out, but they mainly come back to the wrong persona. Everything else flows therefrom.

Get your persona and influencers right, the rest should fall into place. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan (@johncloonan) May 3, 2021

Q6: What are your top tips for multichannel marketing over the next six months, as some communities begin to ease COVID-19 related restrictions, and companies implement hybrid work strategies?

Looking forward to the next six months, focus on customer retention and redefine your ideal buyer personas. Use these new personas to inform your content strategy, and assess if there are new channels you should prioritize.

A6a. Top tips for marketing post pandemic;
👉Focus on customers you already have – empathise & nurture
👉Focus on online-strategies
👉Run exclusive deals/offers
👉Overhaul your content strategy – the narrative has changed, convey compassion
👉Focus on few channels#ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

Your audiences need more hand holding. Treat them as individuals, and be ready to pause campaigns or content on social media if needed.

A6b. Do not fire and forget- remember it’s tough out there for your audience, hand hold more, but don’t be salesy.#ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

This is why it’s important to have a way to hit the pause button on your social and marketing automation activities. Something that was funny a day ago could be incredibly tone-deaf or upsetting in a new context. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Founder @ErikaHeald (@SFerika) May 3, 2021

Especially in this post pandemic world, things move so rapidly. Being insensitive is the last thing a business can afford #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) May 3, 2021

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