If you want to target your customers - be it with personalized newsletters or other individualized content - you first have to know them. If the buying behavior of the customers is known, conclusions can be drawn not only about the products themselves, but also about their marketing.
Peculiarities of Customer Analysis in B2B Marketing
The B2B industry differs from B2C segmentation when it comes to audience analysis. The complexity of products and services, the long time span from interest to purchase, as well as the diversity of decision makers make the accurate description of a persona a challenge.
Long Decision Paths
While a purchase decision in B2C is often made quickly and spontaneously, the decision-making processes in B2B are longer and more extensive. The potential buyer often weighs up his options for months, compares products and prices and wants to be as well informed as possible in advance.
Not losing sight of a potential B2B customer over a longer period of time requires perseverance, skill and a well thought-out strategy.
Multiple Decision Makers
As a rule, these decision-makers pursue different interests; the purchasing department aims to save costs, the specialist department wants the most suitable product from its point of view and the management wants to see everything combined as far as possible.
This is where conflicts of interest come together, resulting in longer decision-making paths.
Unlike the B2C market, the B2B market is by no means anonymous. Customers and competitors are usually known to the company or can be identified without much effort. The number of clients is thus limited and often even geographically concentrated.
The Consequences of a Missing Target Group Definition in B2B
The target audience (or persona) is the central point of any marketing strategy. If it's missing, you're poking in the dark and wasting your hard-negotiated budget. The following consequences can result from this.
Scattering Losses Instead of a Targeted Approach
An imprecise or missing target group definition in B2B leads to scattering losses. Potential buyers are not addressed in a targeted manner, but rather in a general way via undifferentiated marketing. This means that financial resources are wasted unnecessarily and valuable leads are lost.
Missing Information About Target Group
Your marketing strategy is largely based on the principle of addressing your customers in such a way that their interests are served. Optimally, the customer behavior is known through various analyses and you can adjust your marketing strategy exactly to it.
However, if the behaviour and interests of your target group are unknown, you will spend a lot of time and resources telling people something, even though they do not belong to your target group.
Communication that is not tailored to the target group can also lead to an unprofessional impression. This is because you are also addressing people with whom you have already been in contact, but who do not want to hear anything more from you at the moment. The worst consequence: the actual target audience is never reached.
Available Data Is not Merged
In your CRM database, information such as industry, company size, legal form and the like should normally be available anyway. It is a prerequisite that the right contact person is contacted.
So why not supplement this data with behavioral data to create a comprehensive customer profile?
If you supplement the data records with further aspects such as
the position of the contact person
the date of the last order,
other interests of the customer..
and other parameters,
you have a good basic framework.
Identify Personas for B2B
The customer journey differs by industry and product. Individualizing your marketing strategy is not only mandatory because of the often tight marketing budget, but also because this can give your company a significant edge over the competition.
To segment your customer groups sensibly, it is advisable to use so-called personas. They serve to simplify the identification of the individual target groups and stand as prototypes for certain characteristics that they have in common.
With a target group analysis you don't start from scratch, but combine already existing data and insights to a representative customer profile.
Identification of Companies and Decision Makers
To correctly identify target groups, you need extensive information about your customers. When analyzing customers in B2B, the organizational characteristics of a company are among the most important segmentation criteria.
In addition to geographical information such as the company's headquarters, this also includes the industry, number of employees and development phase. A start-up may have different needs and interests than a company that has been successful in the market for years.
In addition to organisational characteristics, the decision-makers play a decisive role in the B2B sector. Often, the person who makes the buying decision is different from the person who ultimately instructs or executes the purchase.
Similar to B2C marketing, customer behavior is also a factor that cannot be ignored. How often and at what intervals do businesses purchase from you? Are certain purchasing cycles typical, based on seasonal fluctuations?
Supply your database regularly with such information, but also include available marketing and tracking tools or results of in-house surveys in your target group analysis.
Identify Needs and Challenges
To successfully create personas for each target audience, you need to know their goals. Analyze what the company's intentions are and how they can achieve them most quickly and easily. If you then offer solutions for exactly these challenges, you are already a decisive step ahead of your competition.
Become an enabler and help your B2B target group to reach their goal faster and more efficiently.
The same applies to potential stumbling blocks and challenges. The better you know the industry-specific restrictions and limitations, the better you can help your target group.
Your target group wants a reliable partner who understands the challenges, tackles them and helps to remove obstacles.
Advantages of a Precise Target Group Definition in B2B
A clearly described persona not only helps you to set a clear focus, it also ensures that your marketing resources are used optimally. By avoiding wastage and skilfully playing to your own strengths, you gain a clear competitive advantage over the competition.
Source: Leading prospects to their destination faster, own presentation
Customized Content through Individualization
Once the personas are set up for the different target groups, you can offer your customers tailor-made content.
The targeting of ads and their design can be geared more closely to the target group. This not only saves you costs, but also increases your conversion rate.
Predict Behavior and Frequencies
A well thought-out target group definition makes your customers "predictable". With the help of the persona, you can not only predict the behavior, but also the purchase frequency.
Marketing and sales measures can thus be targeted without wastage.
Using Your Own Strengths in a Targeted Way
If you know your customers, you can turn your company's strengths into concrete arguments. Based on these, you can develop a coherent differentiation strategy with which you communicate to your customers how your company differs from the competition and how your product offers added value.
A precise target group analysis is elementary in the business customer sector. Why? Because the number of customers in B2B is smaller, the target groups are smaller.
It is therefore all the more important to identify these target groups and to address them in as individualized a manner as possible. It is therefore also crucial for successful B2B marketing to address the decision-maker.
This is possible through a well-founded B2B target group analysis, which is based on a well-fed database and empirical values and contains demographic, socio-economic as well as behaviour-specific characteristics.
The finer the segmentation, the less you run the risk of wastage.