Sales Strategy

Differentiate Your Manufacturing Company

How to Differentiate Your Manufacturing Company in a Competitive Marketplace

How to Differentiate Your Manufacturing Company in a Competitive Marketplace 900 600 Kari Switala

In the increasingly competitive world of manufacturing, it can be difficult to know how to make your company stand out from the crowd. Even if you are the best in the business, it takes more than hard work to stay competitive — it takes strategic marketing as well. No matter how different you are from your competitors, it won’t matter much if you aren’t effectively communicating that difference to your target audience. That’s where content marketing comes in.

The goal of content marketing is not only to get your company noticed by potential customers, but to set you apart as a thought leader in your industry and the go-to manufacturer in your area of expertise. Here are five ways to differentiate your manufacturing company from the competition.

1. Lay the Foundation: Tell Your Story

To begin with, it’s important to communicate who you are as a company: how you got started and why you do what you do. The primary tool you’ll use to do this is the About Us page on your website. (Note: If you don’t have an About Us page yet, now is the time to add one!)

Does your business have a great founder’s story? Use your About Us page to tell it. If not, that’s ok! Simply give a brief overview of when and how your business started, and then talk about your WHY. We’re talking big picture “why” here: What is your mission or your vision for your company? Why do you do what you do — what drives you? One of our manufacturing clients, SCS Elevator Products, does a fantastic job of telling their story — check it out here! 

Your story, your “why,” reveals the heart of your business. It gives your company depth. It shows that there’s more to your business than the products you manufacture. In other words, telling your story adds intangible value to your company in the eyes of potential clients. And whether you’re a B2C or a B2B manufacturer, you are working with people…and people want more than a sales pitch. They want to know something about the people they’re doing business with.

2. Highlight Your Company Culture

Once you’ve told your story on your website, continue pulling the curtain back on your company by highlighting your employees and your company values on social media. Manufacturing can be an especially faceless industry, focusing primarily on the end product. Unfortunately, when it comes to today’s marketing — especially social media marketing — simply talking about your products or services will no longer cut it. To attract the audience that is most likely to do business with you, you need to share more about the people behind the products.

Use social media to introduce your audience to the people who make your products possible — from the CEO to the office manager to assembly line staff. 

Share a bit about what each employee does, how long they’ve been with you, and how they contribute to the success of your company or embody your company values. And speaking of company values, share those with your audience as well. These are the values your company abides by from day to day — the values that determine how you run your business. We all like to do business with companies whose values are similar to ours, so sharing your values will help you attract customers with similar values. And as new generations grow up and become your next clients, this will become even more true: both Millennials and Gen Z put a high value on knowing who they are doing business with.

Plus, sharing about your staff and your company values does more than attract prospects with similar values — it also attracts top talent with similar values. This will come in handy the next time you’re looking to hire.

We have to give another shout-out to SCS Elevator here, as they do an amazing job of highlighting their company culture on both their website and social media. Check out their Facebook page for some great examples!

3. Understand Your Buyer Persona & What Makes Them Tick

Customer Driven Growth

To determine how best to differentiate your manufacturing company, you need to know what is most desirable to your target market. You need to understand what your prospects are looking for and what they feel is important. Then you can more effectively communicate the value of your products and services to potential clients. 

To do this, marketers use a tool called the buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client based on market research and data that you gather about your existing clients. You want to obtain information about your customer base such as: 

  • Where do they get their news and information? 
  • How do they make decisions?
  • What problems do they need solved?
why are buyer personas important

And so on. Depending on how varied your customer base is, you could have several different buyer personas that represent the different types of clients you want to market to. Buyer personas help you determine how best to reach your ideal client and are a key part of a successful targeted marketing strategy. For more on creating your buyer personas, check out a recent blog we wrote on the subject.

Once you know what your ideal clients value, you can speak to the way your products or services provide that value. This focuses your marketing on the benefits, improvements, and overall value that you offer your customers. This kind of marketing attracts not just more leads, but the right leads — the ones that are most likely to do business with you. 

4. Craft Quality Content That Educates Your Ideal Client & Positions You as a Thought Leader

One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition is content. Specific, quality content that is educational and informative not only provides helpful information to current and prospective clients, it also elevates your credibility and positions you as a thought leader in your industry. Quality content helps to position you as a knowledgeable, valuable partner, not just another face in the crowd of potential manufacturing partners.

The best tools to accomplish this are blogs, case studies, and customer stories, as well as long-form content like eBooks and guides. Focus your blog articles on problems your clients are facing or questions they might have, highlighting real customer stories as proof of how your product or service meets real needs and solves real problems. You should also include blogs on topics relevant to your industry and supply chain (such as this one on our client Macrotech’s blog about the rising price of copper). 

And if you think the manufacturing industry isn’t the place for blog posts and customer stories, think again. According to Precision Marketing Group

  • 35% of engineers rely on blogs as part of their research and needs analysis in the early stages of their buying journey, and 
  • 56% of industrial professionals “do not contact a vendor until they’ve compared and evaluated several vendors based on their website content.” 

And as every area of industry becomes more and more tied to the internet, you can expect that those numbers will only go up. 

Curious about what this might look like on your website? Take a look at the blogs of two of our clients: Macrotech and Versare. Both of them have blogs full of helpful, relevant information for their clients, as well as pieces that help to showcase their knowledge of their respective industries. 

5. Get Personal

Don’t worry, when we say “get personal,” we’re not talking about sharing your innermost secrets, your vacation photos, or what you had for breakfast. (Save that for your personal social media accounts!) We have something else in mind for your company’s social media pages and email newsletters.

Earlier we mentioned highlighting your company culture and showcasing your employees on your social media pages. Take that a step further by occasionally sharing what your employees like to do outside of work — their hobbies, interests, or volunteer work — as well as the ways your company contributes to the wider community. Highlight the organizations you support as a company, as well as the ways you are involved in your community. (For a great example of this, we’ll refer you once again to SCS Elevator’s Facebook page — scroll through their page to see multiple posts like this). 

Sharing these details adds a personal touch to your marketing. It humanizes your company and makes you more approachable to both potential and existing customers. Again, remember that whether you work directly with the end consumer or focus your business on B2B manufacturing, in the end you are working with people. And when people feel like they know you as a company, they’ll feel more connected to you, and therefore more loyal to you. Getting personal in your social media posts and email newsletters is a great way to build long-lasting relationships with your clients.

Differentiate Your Manufacturing Company With Help From Wild Fig Marketing

We hope this list gets you excited to hone in on your buyer personas, create relevant content for your website, and share more about your company and the people who make it a success on your social media channels. 

On the other hand, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of putting all of this into motion, we’ve got your back. The team at Wild Fig has experience working with a variety of clients in the manufacturing industry, and we know what it takes to differentiate your business from the competition.

Sign up here for a FREE 30 minute strategy session to see how we can help your business stand out.

Helpful Tips and Insights From Minneapolis Women in the Financial Services Industry

Helpful Tips and Insights From Minneapolis Women in the Financial Services Industry 900 600 Kari Switala

One of our favorite parts of what we do is learning about other industries from our clients, referral partners and trusted advisors. One industry we’ve been learning a lot about these past few years is the financial services industry. Whether it’s filing your taxes, purchasing a home and securing financing or investing your money and creating a legacy account for your children and grandchildren, everyone depends on financial experts at some (or many!) points during their lives.

At Wild Fig Marketing, we are honored to share the company of many incredible women in the financial services industry. We took some time recently to interview four of these women and learn from them. We think you will find their insights valuable! 

This is the second in a series of four interviews. 

We’d like to introduce you to Susan Anderson, Senior Vice President at VisionBank.

Hello Susan! Can you please give us a brief overview of what you do at VisionBank?

I am the Senior Vice President at VisionBank and I am involved in the lending process, from developing businesses and underwriting credit requests to managing the ongoing relationships. Most banks and bankers are not involved in that process in its entirety. I find it beneficial because I really “know” my clients and can better advocate for them when they have a need.

What is a common myth in your industry? 

That you should bank with someone in your neighborhood or close to your home or office. I do not discount the value of a bank that understands the “neighborhood” but you should be able to have a relationship with a bank anywhere in the metro area or beyond. Most people never go to their bank—they don’t have to. It isn’t just the big banks who offer all the services you need. You should be able to conduct all of your banking affairs remotely. One exception to this is a business that relies heavily on cash. However, they could still transact daily cash needs at a local bank and use a different bank for their lending needs.

If you could only share one tip (relating to your industry) with small businesses this year, what would it be and why?

Stay in communication with your banker. If you don’t have a banker, go to a community bank and establish a relationship. There will be a point in your business when you will need someone who knows you and your business and will be willing to assist you to the best of their ability. Think of the PPP (The Paycheck Protection Program) process and the stories you’ve heard from many small business owners who weren’t able to get their applications processed or were told they didn’t qualify when they did. They probably would have had a different experience if they had a personal banker. You don’t know when you will need someone to help you out so establish that relationship in advance.

Who do you love to work with and what do you love most about the work you do? 

I love working with small business owners and helping them make their dreams a reality. Sometimes they aren’t quite ready for bank financing. In those instances, we try to provide them with direction to get to that point. I really enjoy learning about different industries and business practices. I have the benefit of many years in this profession which allows me to work towards finding the best, most creative loan structure for each client. We keep our loan policy to a minimum to allow for greater flexibility in structuring transactions.

What’s your #1 go-to resource (websites, podcasts, publications, etc) for information about your industry?

I feel like we have the best internal team and we are able to work together to determine the best next steps. We discuss things and bounce things off of one another frequently. Occasionally I go to ICBM (Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota), but not often. For “outsiders” who are looking for information, the FDIC reports on every bank and the information is available to the public. That said, hopefully you have a banker who can answer any questions you have! 

To learn more about VisionBank, visit their website at

Helpful Tips and Insights From Minneapolis Women in the Financial Services Industry

Helpful Tips and Insights From Minneapolis Women in the Financial Services Industry 900 600 Kari Switala

One of our favorite parts of what we do is learning about other industries from our clients, referral partners and trusted advisors. One industry we’ve been learning a lot about these past few years is the financial services industry. Whether it’s filing your taxes, purchasing a home and securing financing or investing your money and creating a legacy account for your children and grandchildren, everyone depends on financial experts at some (or many!) points during their lives.

At Wild Fig Marketing, we are honored to share the company of many incredible women in the financial services industry. We took some time recently to interview four of these women and learn from them. We think you will find their insights valuable! 

This is the first in a series of four interviews. 

We’d like to start by introducing you to Alix Magner, Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley. 

Hello Alix! Can you please give us a brief overview of what you do at Morgan Stanley?

helpful business tips and insights from Minneapolis financial experts

As a Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley, I run an intentional wealth practice with a focus on sustainable investing. Most of my clients are purposeful women and their families who are smart, busy and successful. My practice works primarily with women business owners and professionals, tech employees, and LGBTQ+ people. In my practice within Morgan Stanley, I work with clients to make plans that work for them and I invest their money in support of their plan. 

What is a common myth in your industry? 

One of the biggest myths around sustainable investing is that aligning your investments with your values generates lower returns than traditional investing. But we have analyzed the data and found that this is simply not true. Recently, the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing analyzed 11,000 mutual funds, comparing the performance of sustainable investments versus traditional investments from 2004 to 2018. What did we find? We discovered that the sustainable investments performed in line with the traditional strategies—with one big difference: The sustainable funds had a lower volatility and a 20% smaller downside deviation compared to the traditional funds.1 I believe this helps to back up my view: Sustainable investing is sound investing and factoring in how businesses impact the environment, society and the global community is not at odds with good investing—indeed, it may make it more robust.

If you could only share one tip (relating to your industry) with small businesses this year, what would it be and why?

This wild COVID year accelerated many people’s long-term plans—buying a business, selling a business, working from the cabin, expanding the business…COVID has made everyone rethink their assumptions and where they want to be in the future. 

Make sure that how you’ve structured your business (how you’re incorporated and your ownership structure) supports those big plans. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily weeds of running your business. Your business structure has a huge impact on what types of retirement accounts you can offer and on your succession planning. There are a lot of potential benefits to setting up the right structure. Take the time to think through how you’re structured now and how you should be structured. Now is the time to ask your advisors and think about the future. 

Who do you love to work with and what do you love most about the work you do? 

I love to work with women who are the breadwinners for their households. My clients are women who have continued to be successful and the more successful they get, the more complex the money stuff gets and the less time they have to manage it. When the finance questions swirl in their brains, they’re thinking: 

  • How much should I reinvest in my business? 
  • What type of retirement plan or equity plan should I offer my employees? 
  • Can my spouse stop working? 
  • As complicated as my situation is, am I missing anything? 

I love working with women and their families to simplify the complexity and create systems to put the right money in the right places. I love problem-solving. And I enjoy being the person who takes care of the money so my clients can do the big things they want to with their lives. 

What’s your #1 go-to resource (websites, podcasts, publications, etc) for information about your industry?

My # 1 go-to resource for information in my industry is the Wall Street Journal. Yes, I get the actual, physical newspaper delivered to my doorstep every day. I’ve found that keeping up on U.S. and world events gives me the context I need to understand the financial markets and the world. 

To learn more about Alix, visit her website at

  1. “Sustainable Reality: Analyzing Risk and Returns of Sustainable Funds,” Morgan Stanley, Institute for Sustainable Investing, 2019, 

Alix Magner is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Minneapolis, MN. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management or its affiliates. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Neither the information provided nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The returns on a portfolio consisting primarily of Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) aware investments may be lower or higher than a portfolio that is more diversified or where decisions are based solely on investment considerations. Because ESG criteria exclude some investments, investors may not be able to take advantage of the same opportunities or market trends as investors that do not use such criteria.

Tax laws are complex and subject to change. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors and Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice and are not “fiduciaries” (under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or otherwise) with respect to the services or activities described herein except as otherwise provided in writing by Morgan Stanley and/or as described at Individuals are encouraged to consult their tax and legal advisors (a) before establishing a retirement plan or account, and (b) regarding any potential tax, ERISA and related consequences of any investments made under such plan or account.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

CRC#3489389 03/2021

shorten a long sales cycle



The goal of the sales cycle is to move a contact from prospect to client as quickly and efficiently as possible. But you don’t just want to close a sale—you want to build relationships with those prospects with the hope of making them long-term clients, right?

What if we told you that you can improve the sales cycle in ways that allow you to build better relationships with your prospects and keep the momentum going toward closing a sale, all while shortening the process? Well, you can. Here are our best strategies to help you shorten a long sales cycle.

Implement a Regular Call Cycle

shorten a long sales cycle

If you haven’t already done so, start implementing a regular call cycle. “Call cycle” refers to how often and how many sales calls you make to stay in contact with your key accounts and prospects within a certain time period. Instituting a regular call cycle helps you stay in touch with prospects on a consistent basis, keeping you top of mind with your prospects and keeping them primed for a sale. Think about it: if you’re already checking in with them on a regular basis, you’ll be there when they’re ready to buy—they won’t need to work to seek you out. 

How often you contact your prospects will depend on your business model, your sales goals, and the needs of your prospects, but a regular call cycle is sure to maximize your sales and shorten a long sales cycle. 

Set a Goal for Each Sales Call

Setting a goal for each call and clearly communicating that goal to your prospect will enable you to work together to meet that goal by the end of the call. Having a clear goal gives you a guideline to follow in case the conversation veers off track. Once you set your goal, you know exactly how to guide the conversation and your prospect understands where you’re headed and what their role is in getting there.

Setting a goal for each call also makes the point of your call very clear—no one needs to wonder where things stand at the end of the call if you’ve worked together toward the end goal you agreed upon. It helps avoid confusion and time spent correcting misunderstandings. At the end of each call, schedule your next call and set your goal for that call too.

Build Trust by Being Authentic

shorten a long sales cycle

In your interactions with your prospects, skip the generic sales pitch and make an effort to personalize the experience. We know it can be easy to slip into “sales mode”, especially if you are passionate about what you are offering. But if you do that, you’re missing the opportunity to get to know your prospective clients, build relationships with them, and hear directly from them what their pain points are. Your prospects need to feel heard and understood before they will consider a purchase. Don’t hesitate to offer your expertise, but don’t be pushy. Ask good questions, listen, then respond with your expert advice.

Another way to be more authentic with your prospects? Always be transparent about pricing. No one likes to find out at the last minute that something costs more than they thought it would…or worse, that certain services are not included in the price that was quoted. Hiding the price of your services almost always causes frustration and adds time to the sales cycle. Make clear what is included in your service from the get-go. Being transparent about your pricing will help build trust with your prospects, making them that much more likely to buy from you.

Don’t Wait for Objections to Surface—Address Them Early On

Avoiding your prospect’s objections and reservations won’t make for a smooth sale…or a short sales cycle. The longer you wait to address their concerns, the stronger those concerns will get and the less open they will be to buying…which means you’ll have to work harder to make a sale.

Consider diving into your prospect’s reservations early on in the sales cycle (as soon as right after the discovery call!). And be the one to bring them up—don’t wait for your prospect to object. This helps you seem more confident, engaged, and relevant. Also, it’s important to not only listen to your prospect’s objections, but to seek to understand the root of each concern. For instance, rather than launching into a sales pitch when they say they don’t have time to implement your solution, ask them questions to find out what their main pain point or objection is. What is it that they really need, and how can you address that need?

Make Scheduling & Signing Easy

shorten a long sales cycle

These two seemingly small administrative tasks can make a world of difference in shortening your long sales cycle. The average salesperson spends 12% of their day scheduling calls: In an eight hour day, that’s almost an hour of your time that could be put to much better use! Using a scheduling tool takes the back-and-forth communication out of the equation. All you need to do is send the scheduling link to your prospect—from there, they can choose an available time on your calendar, and your meeting is set. Here at Wild Fig we use Hubspot Meetings, and it has revolutionized the way we manage our call schedule. 

Contract signing, if it’s not simple and accessible to your prospects, can be a time sucker as well. Online contracts that can be signed easily from any computer, tablet, or smartphone are a must in today’s mobile world. There are several options available for online contract signing—we’ve used SignNow and Docusign, and recommend them both. Keeping these tasks simple will not only cut back on time you spend communicating back-and-forth, it will make the whole process a lot less painful for your prospects.

Routinely Weed out Your CRM

Yes, another dull admin task—we know, they’re not your favorite. But this one is important. Keeping your CRM up to date with contacts who are actually interested in hearing from you will make your sales cycle much more effective. When most of your calls or emails are to people who want to hear about your products or services, you will naturally have a higher rate of success.

Delete any contacts whose emails have bounced or who have unsubscribed. Arrange your contacts by when they last opened an email, clicked a link, or replied to an email. If a contact hasn’t had any type of response for several sales cycles, it may be time to let them go and move on to fresher prospects.

Start Using Automation Tools

shorten a long sales cycle

The average salesperson spends 21% of their day writing emails, and 17% of their day prospecting and researching leads. If that sounds like you, it may be time to consider automation. Sales automation tools can take on some of these tasks or make them easier for you to do, allowing you to spend your time working on more important things like building relationships with your prospects.

To begin with, go through your day-to-day tasks to determine which you could automate. Start with the simple ones like call scheduling, then move onto the more complex options like automating your prospecting and email responses. 

According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, companies that responded to prospects within an hour were 7 times more likely to have a meaningful interaction with a decision maker than those who were slower to respond (and more than 60 times as likely than those who took 24 hours or more to respond!). Clearly, responding to prospects quickly and efficiently is crucial to making sales. 

Automation tools allow you to follow up faster and more easily, while maintaining the level of personalization you need to keep your prospects engaged. These tools can also play a crucial role in educating your prospects by helping you deliver relevant content that will not only answer their questions, but help move them along the sales process, priming them for a conversation with you. And this is only the tip of the iceberg of what automation tools can do for you. If you aren’t already taking advantage of automation, it’s time to start.

Wild Fig Marketing has the knowledge and tools to help you engage new audiences, automate your sales process, and convert more leads. Schedule a call with us today to learn more about what we can do for your business!



During this chaotic time, people are more stressed and distracted so you have to work harder to get your prospect’s attention. This means drawing from your creative well to come up with outside-the-box ideas you can incorporate into your company’s communication. Let’s take a look at how you can do this via three main communication touchpoints: emails, sales meetings and content.

Elevate your email game

Do you ever feel like your inbox is one big garbage heap and you have to sift through a bunch of junk to find the important stuff? So do your prospects. Take your emails to the next level by incorporating GIFs, video messages and other clever or witty content to stand out from other businesses trying to solicit your prospect’s attention.

In addition to a well-crafted subject line that encourages people to open your email, here are some great ideas:

Include GIFs

We can go back and forth about how to pronounce them (Does GIF start with a hard “G” or a soft “G”?) but if you have a pulse, we think you’ll agree that a well-placed GIF is worth a thousand words. Add one of these puppies to your email and increase your response rate. At Wild Fig, we’ve had great success with these friendly little files. Plus, they make sending prospect emails a whole lot of fun!

Include a video

A study by Martech Advisor reveals that including video content in your email can increase click rates by a whopping 300%! Not taking advantage of this enormous asset, at least periodically, is shortsighted at best. And don’t overcomplicate things. It can be a simple video taken on your smartphone. Show your product “in the field” so your prospect can easily envision how it can work for them. Be sure to include the word “video” in your subject line and include a thumbnail of the video in your email so it captures the attention it deserves!

Take a witty approach

Stand Out Subject LinesWhen was the last time you received a sales email that actually made you laugh out loud? Let’s be honest. The vast majority of sales emails are lackluster at best…and tacky at worst. Clearly, this is an area where every company can stand to improve. Next time you compose an email to one of your prospects, leverage the “boring norm” to your advantage and poke fun at sales emails. A witty approach will certainly jar your prospect out of their sales-email-induced-coma and will leave them with a distinct impression of your business. Maybe this company isn’t like every other company. Maybe they have something truly unique to offer.

Find these and other creative ideas in one of our recent posts!

When you go the extra mile to make your emails memorable, you not only provide value but you also demonstrate creative outside-the-box thinking. This helps pique your prospect’s interest in your company and the way you do business and it’s one great way to encourage them to engage with your unique brand.

Rock your prospect’s socks off at your next sales meeting

Maybe you can’t take a prospect to coffee or lunch in the traditional sense right now but you can host a virtual coffee or lunch meeting. Get creative and send your prospect a virtual Caribou or Starbucks gift card and invite them to a virtual meeting over a cup of joe. Or consider utilizing Uber Eats to deliver lunch to your prospect and host a virtual lunch meeting. If you’re looking to encourage prospects who are reeling from the devastating effects of COVID-19, Send Out Cards allows you to send personalized cards and gifts—an easy way to encourage someone across the miles…or just across town.

Craft killer content that people actually want to read

Your prospects and customers are hungry for valuable information that addresses their pain points and helps them grow their businesses. (Probably the same reason you’re reading this post right now!) Create content in the form of blogs, ebooks, guides and checklists and encourage your sales team to utilize them to get in front of your prospects. These pieces of content can be shared as articles on LinkedIn to increase your credibility and help establish trust. You can also add pop-ups to your website and invite website visitors to give their contact information in exchange for these valuable resources.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to break through the “noise” and provide value for your prospects at every turn. With attention-grabbing emails and valuable content, your sales team will increase their number of leads and get more sales appointments on the calendar. But it doesn’t stop there. By running creative sales meetings, you can continue to warm up your leads and move them through the sales funnel.

Interested in more ways you can generate leads and grow your business during this crazy time? Schedule a complimentary strategy session with Jen here!

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency. Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand.

why are buyer personas important

Why Are Buyer Personas Important? This Vital Tool Can Revolutionize Your Marketing

Why Are Buyer Personas Important? This Vital Tool Can Revolutionize Your Marketing 900 600 Kari Switala

Originally published in February 2018; Updated April 2021

There’s nothing new about the idea that we have to know our audience (our potential customers) in order to achieve success with our branding and marketing efforts. However, this idea has evolved in recent years, and now we’re getting much more specific when envisioning our prospects. Enter: Buyer Personas. 

Buyer Personas: Beyond Demographics

Today’s marketing wisdom tells us to go beyond simple demographics by envisioning fully fleshed-out buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on market research and data that you gather about your existing customers. While old-school marketing was content to describe customers as “Birkenstock-wearing,” “Volvo-driving,” or “Duck-Dynasty-watching,” today’s concept of the buyer persona hones in on much greater detail, envisioning a full person who represents a profile of your typical customer. 

Upgrading from basic demographics to buyer personas is like going from a stick-person sketch to a lifelike painting…and it can make a huge difference in the success of your marketing.

Detailed Questions, Detailed Answers

As you build your buyer personas, you will need to ask plenty of questions beyond the relationships your ideal customers have to your product or service. To build an effective buyer persona, you will want to know:

  • Where they spend time online
  • What problems they need solved
  • What resources they trust 
  • Where they get their news 
  • Where they shop 
  • What their hobbies are 
  • What magazines they read 
  • What advertising they respond to 
  • What kind of car they drive 
  • How they make buying decisions

…and so on. Thoughtfully evaluate your customer base on many different spectrums: CNN, NPR or Fox News? Manolo Blahniks or LL Bean? Whole Foods or Grocery Outlet? Sierra Club or NRA? Cash or Credit? Facebook or Instagram? Crossfit or Pilates? Green tea or espresso? Craigslist or eBay? Doing this will help you get a clearer picture of who your customers are and how they are most likely to engage with your brand or product.

Why Are Buyer Personas Important? Consider the Benefits

We know this seems like an elaborate exercise, but it really does pay off. How? Well, for starters:

  • You begin to view your prospects as real people, not faceless demographic compilations
  • You narrow down your target market, which allows you to target them much more effectively, rather than trying to be all things to all people
  • You narrow down their pain points, enabling you to address them much more specifically
  • You have a consistent perspective from which to build your brand and make important decisions
  • You’ll have the tools to identify when you’re at risk of jeopardizing one buyer persona in favor of another, and to make a conscious choice in the matter

So, why are buyer personas important? In a nutshell, buyer personas make it easier to tailor your messaging, product development, and services to meet the needs of your target audience. And when you meet the needs of your audience, they will be much more likely to engage with your business.

How Do You Craft Your Buyer Personas?

To create your buyer personas, you need to gather detailed information about your ideal customer. Start by gleaning any information you can about your existing audience by doing the following: 

  • Set up an online survey. You can offer something valuable in return for filling out the survey, such as a discount or access to special content
  • Interview a select group of customers (like your top 5%), offering an incentive to them as well 
  • Mine your CRM for data on your existing customers and prospects 
  • Talk to your customers directly when possible (but keep it casual)
  • Ask your sales people for their impressions on the matter

The information you gather from these sources will be key to creating your buyer personas. Imagine, for example, doing a survey of cars in two distinct drive-thrus: Starbucks and Taco Bell. You could make note of details like what types of cars are driven, how well they’re maintained, and the number of people in them, then note the differences you find between the two drive-thrus. Wouldn’t that generate useful information for building buyer personas for those businesses?

Looking for more in-depth help creating your buyer personas? HubSpot offers a great online tool that walks you through the process. We’ve used it ourselves and recommend it to our clients. Check it out here!

Reevaluate Your Marketing Using Your Buyer Personas

Once you’ve crafted a few vivid, three-dimensional buyer personas, test your marketing and product ideas against everything you know about them. Taglines, color schemes, advertising channels…these can all be evaluated in the context of your buyer personas. This evaluation will be a good litmus test to see how well your current marketing efforts are meeting the needs of your target audience. From there, you can determine what needs to change to make your marketing even more effective.

Laser-Focus Your Marketing Efforts With Buyer Personas

Once you confine your marketing efforts to a highly-defined, limited market, you will be able to engage those individuals on a much deeper level and make better marketing decisions with them in mind. For instance, instead of sending out the same lead-generating messages to all of your contacts, you can segment your contact list by buyer persona and create messages that are tailored to each of them

Personalized marketing is MUCH more effective than generic messaging. Think about it—are you more likely to read and respond to a generic message or one that speaks to your needs, wants, and concerns?

When used well, buyer personas will strengthen your marketing and allow you to connect more effectively with the prospects who are looking for a company just like yours.

If you could use some help creating your buyer personas, or with other areas of your marketing strategy, Wild Fig Marketing is here to help! Contact us today to get started!