5 Steps to Creating Meaningful Personas for Demand Gen

We’ve all seen personas like this: Bob, a VP of marketing, is in his forties…


We’ve all seen personas like this: Bob, a VP of marketing, is in his forties and married. He has a staff of twenty that reports to him. Would this information help you create meaningful communications that would move “Bob” further along the sales cycle?

Probably not.

Without an anchor in audience insights, marketers are flying blind. Sophisticated martech tools help us target prospective buyers with increasing precision. But creating content that resonates with these prospects remains a challenge, in part because many organizations haven’t clearly defined target personas and mapped content to them. How can you create personas that improve your demand gen outcomes?

Persona Problems

Organizations have different maturity levels when it comes to personas. But here are some of the common problems we see:

  • Your personas are all the same. The job titles are different, but you’re treating them as if everyone cares about the exact same things. They’re built on guesses and focused on trivial details.
  • You haven’t mapped personas to a buyer’s journey. Everyone in your database gets the same treatment and same touchpoints.
  • You’re not versioning content and communications for them. You’ve created personas, but it’s too much trouble to create themes and topics that are relevant for them, so they never really inform your content strategy.
  • They’re ignored. Because they’re a mile wide and an inch deep, everyone feels free to ignore them. The vendors and agencies you work with aren’t briefed on the key characteristics of your audience.
  • You don’t know if they’re any good. There’s no process in place to review if your communications are resonating with your audience personas.

ABM and Martech Require More Buyer Insight, not Less

Far from making personas obsolete, today’s demand gen tools require marketers to develop more sophisticated understanding of their target buyer.

With ABM your target account becomes its own persona in a way. But your need to understand your audience just got that much more complex. Different industries and verticals might have different content needs. But you still need to differentiate your audience on functional responsibilities.

Martech solutions promise a degree of sophistication in reaching your audience. But you’re not maximizing that investment if you’re using them to send the same message to everyone.

5 Steps to Getting Demand Gen Personas Right

  1. Research (and prioritize) to understand your buying audience. Talk to SMEs and Sales within your organization, and complement that with outside experts and customers. If you’re pursuing an account-based marketing strategy, you know which accounts you need to target. Your next step is to identify who within the account you should target. Understand that in a typical B2B buying process, more than four people are involved in the decision-making process. Make sure you know who these folks are and what they care about.
  2. Map your persona strategy to content touchpoints. You want to understand the buyer’s journey for each persona and make sure that you have the right content for each stage. Analyze responder behavior to help determine your audience’s content consumption habits.
  3. Integrate personas with content creation strategy. Your personas should inform the content assets and formats that you create. Start by building out themes and topics that are most relevant for each persona. Leverage social tools, such as LinkedIn, to gather more detailed insights.
  4. Document and socialize. You may have great audience insights, but unless those are shared widely they won’t make their way into your communications. Vendors and agencies need to internalize your persona information. Socialize your findings across the organization to make sure everyone has the benefit of your hard-earned insights.
  5. Review and optimize. Your target audience faces a constantly shifting technology and business landscape. Schedule periodic reviews of your personas and KPIs to determine how well your content is resonating with them.

Follow these 5 steps to better personas, and you’ll have a blueprint for creating compelling and relevant content for your most important audiences.

Interested in tuning up your audience insights to fuel your demand gen performance? Contact Tendo to get started.


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