We’ve heard them called avatars. We read about personas. We talk ad nauseum about audiences, ideal clients, and targets. We know we need to get specific, narrow and deep (even though it’s frightening) and yet, when it comes to B2B marketing, too many of us leave out the most important detail. The people we want to reach with our message are just that: people.
When we look for a CEO in healthcare for instance, we are classifying a diverse group of people (in both demographics and psychographics) in a way that may overlook what makes them tick. We are shoving them into a box based upon their title and industry without regard for who they are away from work. Could this life away from work in any way, shape, or form, influence how they make their decisions at work? And if so, why are we ignoring it?
Sure, they probably have a commonality of challenges, similar gaps you can help fill, and even infamous pain points that you can address and assuage. But are you going to really connect with the deep-seated reasons these challenges are painful? It may not always be just about the shareholders’ wealth. Why not look for something more?
Blaze Experts approaches the identification of a target market for B2B clients a little differently than most.
Yes, it’s true you may have a differentiating interest, experience, or expertise in a particular industry. You probably do your best work with a particular business size and you may have even carved out your niche, but we think it goes deeper than that.
We believe it’s still the people that make the decision to work with you, not the company itself. It’s the people in leadership who know the value of their brand and it’s the leaders that believe in the power of storytelling.
We know that a deep and narrow focus makes you more relevant to your target—the people you want to work with—and it allows you to do the work you love. This is a scary strategy as it helps those who don’t “get” you and your work take themselves out of the equation before even making contact. But isn’t it better to know of a bad fit before you begin working together? Parting as friends with no hard feelings, upsets, discouragement, and disappointment is so much more enjoyable than the angst that comes with friction, mistakes, and knowing you aren’t doing your best work.
A true target goes beyond age and income. Your target, though narrowed down via demographics and psychographics, is much more than that. The person you most want to attract and do business with is likely to share a mindset, an approach to life. They will echo some of your core values. They will possess some common views and they may even vocalize an opposing viewpoint or two. If you want them as your client, they probably have a desire for continued growth, learning, or contribution. If they don’t, would they be someone who would even benefit from what you have to offer?
I can’t remember the last time I heard any company say, “I don’t want to help others improve, grow, change, or succeed. I’d like them to pay me to keep things just as they are without any impact at all.”
In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard it said.
I urge you to sit down right now and think of the people you most want to do business with. The real people. Their belief systems, their interests, their background, and their goals—where they have come from and where they are going. Think beyond their statistics and peer into their humanity. Model your favorite clients ever…who were they? What were they like? What made them tick? What brought them joy and what made them sad? How do they approach life and what do other people say about them?
Think of your favorite people in the world. The ones you would love to hang out with every day. What are their lovable qualities and which ones challenge you to be better? Look for those same qualities in the audience you want to attract—the people you want as clients, team members, colleagues, and friends. Then find them where they hang out and talk to them in the way they want to be communicated with. Connect.
Now we’re building a community together because now we’re connecting with real people. Feels good, doesn’t it?