Are You Targeting the Wrong Job Level with B2B Content?
Did you know that C-level executives delegate the research portion of the buying process to other members of their team about 60 percent of the time? Yet, many B2B marketers create content that specifically targets C-suite executives. In a recent report from NetLine, it was determined that individual contributors are the individuals who download the most content. While 64 percent of the total audience is made up of individuals with job roles of manager and above – important job levels to reach – many B2B marketers overlook the importance of reaching individual contributors as well.
How to Target Individual Contributors for B2B Marketing
With many B2B marketers neglecting the individual contributor role when creating content, they are missing valuable opportunities. While it is typically upper management and C-level executives that have the final say so in the buying process, individual contributors and mid-level managers are key influencers in the decision making. As noted above, it’s the individual contributors who do the majority of the research involved in the buying process, narrowing down the options and then presenting those options, along with their opinions to the final decision-makers.
What does that mean for B2B marketers? It means that they must pivot their focus from solely marketing to executive leadership to include marketing to mid-level professionals like individual contributors. The target audience for content marketing must be expanded further than senior leadership to target the roles that advise them on buying decisions. Buyer personas need to be created and used for individual contributors along with those of C-level professionals.
How to Create Strategic B2B Marketing Content
At its most basic level, strategic marketing content has two key characteristics: it reaches the right audience, and it connects with them in a manner that drives them to some kind of desired action. For marketers to do this effectively, it comes down to laying a foundation and using their best available tools.
There are many different methods to use for targeting specific audiences, including using A/B testing and finely tuned personalization. A simple internet search will net an abundance of tools, tactics, and advice for reaching target audiences, so I won’t get into that here. But I do want to talk about the first step in targeting influencers like individual contributors with content marketing – creating a thorough buyer persona.
How to Create a Buyer Persona for Influencers
As mentioned, individual contributors are often significant influencers in the buying process. Senior leadership will frequently ask key influencers, usually mid-level professionals, to perform the research to determine their buying options. While these key influencers may not have the authority or budget to make the call on final decisions, they do have the power to influence those professionals who do. For marketers, it is often the influencer who is their main point of contact until the end of the sales process when a senior executive is included.
When you are creating a buyer persona for individual contributors who will be presenting solution options to decision makers, it’s important to consider some general information about the individual and the organization as well as some that is specific to the individual’s level of influence.
General questions that will help create persona-related content include:
- What are the common attributes that define this persona?
- What are the concerns that this persona faces that your product provides a solution for?
- What is the common goal of this persona and his or her organization?
- How can you provide value to this persona even before they become a client?
Questions about the individual’s level of influence include:
- Has he or she presented solutions like this to senior leadership before?
- How confident is he or she that the decision maker will follow the recommendation he or she makes?
- What or who are the obstacles that may interfere with this decision?
With the answers to these questions and others that are specific to the organization and solution, marketers are able to personalize content based on the individual and his or her level of influence.
How Can You Reach B2B Influencers?
To put it simply, remember the individual contributor when you are creating B2B marketing content. While C-level leadership is also an important target audience, they do not account for the same level of content consumption activity. In reality, mid-level job roles, including the individual contributor, drive the majority of content consumption. That means that B2B marketers must diversify their target audience when producing content to stay relevant and competitive and to make it to the decision maker’s desk.