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Building Buyer Personas for Manufacturing Verticals

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Posted by: Kristen Buerman on Wed, Jan 10, 2018

The success of a well-developed and executed marketing campaign hinges on the fact that you are marketing to the right people. You can push a great deal of content and advertising out, but if you have not targeted the right audience, your campaign isn't destined for success. 

Now, it seems like a no-brainer to market to the right audience, but the process to uncover your target buyer persona takes a little digging and finessing. It's important to uncover your buyer persona's traits, job responsibilities, pain points, and how they search for answers. This information allows you to have a deeper understanding of their buying behaviors, so you can create the right content and deliver it to them where they want to consume it. Sounds simple enough, right? ... the concept, yes ... actually getting the information, well that's where the digging comes in.

How to Approach a Manufacturing Persona

Building Buyer Personas for Manufacturing Verticals

Manufacturing marketing is evolving and it's important to meet your prospects where they're looking for information to make decisions. In order to know where that is, you'll have to look at manufacturing buyer personas. While each persona should be tailored to your company's specific ideal customer, I'll walk you through the steps to uncover motivating factors for the most common buyer personas in the manufacturing industry.  

A complete buyer persona gives you insight and understanding of your ideal customer, their buying behaviors, and where in the buyer's journey they might be. Your persona should uncover what types of questions prospects are asking, when they are asking them, and what kind of answers you can provide to better nurture them down the sales funnel. Those involved in the decision-making process for manufacturing usually include engineers, production managers, and buyers. Each of these personas will have different purchasing considerations and decision criteria. 

So, Where to Start?

Dig in - start by gathering the information you already have on your buyer persona; website analytics will tell you where your online visitors are and how they found your website. Contacts that you have collected through your website should also give you details about their demographics, company name, and their job title (this information is dependent on what your contact forms require). 

Next, tap into any data that has been collected from customer satisfaction surveys or other data collection efforts. If you work in sales or closely with your sales team, you can gain an understanding of the breakdown in types of customers that are currently coming to you (ex. more engineers vs. production managers), common objections they have to purchase, as well as their reason for seeking out your business. Compiling all of this information gives you a great starting point. 

Persona Interviews are Critical

The critical aspect to buyer personas is that they are not built on internal knowledge alone; in order to understand your target personas, you need to speak with them. Your next step is to set up interviews with a chunk of your existing customers. Choose customers that have been "ideal" for your business - the goal of your marketing is to continue to attract similar people. You will want to set up multiple interviews for each of your personas. When you're asking questions, try to uncover motivating factors behind their purchasing decisions. For example: 

  • What pain points or challenges were they looking to solve? 
  • What type of information did they look for to solve their problem?
  • What were the deciding factors in choosing to work with your company?

The engineers, production managers, and buyers will most likely have different answers for each of these. Engineers will likely be more concerned with detailed information about how the product/service works, buyers focus on quality and pricing, and production managers take interest in timelines and delivery schedules. Each persona will consider these factors in their purchase decision. By understanding each of your main buyer personas, you can create separate content pieces that speak directly to each persona's specific needs. 

Creating Content Specific to Your Persona's Needs

Purchasing considerations are the factors weighed when comparing services and companies. Considerations for engineers may include concept success (does the product actually do what you say it'll do?), system compatibility, and companies that offer what they're looking for. While these considerations are important, there are probably a few others for a buyer, such as price and timeline. These differences are important to know and understand when writing your content

Discussing decision criteria is also essential. This should cover aspects of competing services or products that your personas see as most critical. Your product/service must meet your persona's expectations to be chosen. Your content will be vital in detailing this information, especially in a manner easy for each persona to consume.

Manufacturing marketing is expected to see big changes in the coming years, are you ready? With well-crafted content specific to your customers' needs, you're well on your way to reach your ideal customers. 

 

That's the basics of building a buyer persona for the manufacturing industry. If you're looking for more in-depth information to uncover your buyer's motivating factors, check out our free guide to building buyer personas below

 

Your Guide to Building Buyer Personas  Gain insight into the motivating factors that influence your customer’s buying  decisions. Download the free Guide
Kristen Buerman

About The Author

Kristen Buerman

She enjoys diving deep into the numbers and trends behind campaigns and constantly looks at new ways to bring the right information to the right audience. Kristen loves a good process and if there isn’t already one in place, she’ll look to create it. Outside of work, you will most likely find Kristen at the softball fields or volleyball courts. She enjoys spending as much time as possible in the wide world of the great outdoors.

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