B2B Content Marketing: Who Is Your Audience … Really?
When I ask a B2B content marketing manager who his or her target audience is, I’ll often hear an answer along the lines of “Our target audience? Sure, we’ve got that nailed down. We want to reach publicly traded companies in the oil and gas industry with at least 2,000 employees who …”
As Seinfeld would say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that …”
But it only tells half the story. When I drill a little deeper and ask them who specifically in that organization they want to reach, very few can answer with confidence.
This is one of the biggest distinctions between B2B and B2C marketing. While your B2C personas focus on a single individual (“Women in their 30s who are re-entering the workforce after starting a family …”), B2B audience targeting is a bit more complex.
On the B2B side, we need to know the person as well as the company.
Know Your Audience: The Company
When determining the audience for your content, yes, you must absolutely know what kind of company you want to target. A few pertinent questions to address here are
- Which industry is this company in?
- What is the company size in terms of employee count? In terms of annual revenue?
- Where is the company located geographically? Where is its headquarters, and where are its key locations?
- What else would make a company an ideal client for us? Target market? Ownership? Employee profile?
Pretty simple, right? That’s why most B2B content marketers stop right there. But there is, as we say here in Texas, “a whole ‘nother level” to consider.
Know Your Audience: The Person
As a B2B content marketer myself, I can attest that no company has ever sat down to read a blog post, watch a video, or listen to a podcast of mine.
No, we create content for people, and part of our task is to determine which people we want sitting on the other side of that email, that white paper, that video, that infographic.
Here we want to consider questions like
- In which department or division does this person work?
- What is his or her job title?
- What is his or her level of industry expertise?
- How long has he or she been with the company?
- What is the age, gender, education level, marital status, etc. of this person?
- What does this person want? What does he or she value most?
- What challenges does this person deal with?
When I create audience personas, I even go so far as to assign the person a name and come up with personal details like “he’s eager to be promoted to Director, but it’s still important that he be home in time to spend a few hours with his family every night.” Every detail you determine makes the picture a little clearer, which lets you be more and more focused in how you approach your content.
Where does this information come from? I always like to start by looking at existing clients. Think about your very best customers — the ones you’d gladly clone if you could — and use what you know about them to begin creating your ideal client persona.
Remember, the better you know that B2B client — the company and the person — the better prepared you’ll be to produce content that truly resonates.
OK, your turn! How do you determine the audience for your B2B content marketing? Leave us a note in the comments — we’d love to hear form you!
Grab your copy of B2B Content Marketing: From the Blog to the Bottom Line!
About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).
As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations. Contact Rachel about speaking to your group or business.
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