Do you like marketing? I don’t mean doing marketing, I mean being marketed to. Reading thinly veiled product pitches. Proclamations about service excellence. Products that are bigger, better, faster, smarter.

Does that sound like your company? Join the crowd. You are part of the great disconnect between the marketers and the marketed, a divide that may be at its greatest when targeting the C-level of organizations.

An Economist Group study shows that 93 percent of marketers say they tie their content directly to a product or service. But on the flip side of that equation, 75 percent of business leaders say what they are interested in is ideas.

How do you stop making the same mistake 93% of marketers make? Try giving your audience what they want.

Know your audience
The first key to successful marketing is to know your audience. If you do not understand to whom you are communicating, how can you formulate the right message?

For some companies, you may need only two or three buyer personas. For highly technical sales, there could be as many as six different personas involved in the process — from initiators and influencers to users and decision-makers — each of whom could come into contact with your organization.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, “Who am I selling to?” But be careful, it can be a trick question.

Most companies will say something like, “We sell to CFOs of U.S. manufacturing companies with at least $50 million in annual sales.” The problem with that statement is that you’re defining a demographic, which doesn’t tell you anything about the actual people you’re trying to target.

While the immediate impulse is to gather the sales team members and grill them about the topic, you need to go further. Sales teams can provide insight, but they also add their own biases that can muddy the waters.

The 5 Rings of Buyer Insight

While it’s important to talk directly to customers and prospects, it’s just as important to talk to former customers as well as those who decided not to buy your product or service. You are looking to find out the classic elements of a “buyer persona,” as developed by Adele Revella:

  • What are their priorities?
  • What is their measure of success?
  • What are their objections?
  • What is their buying process?
  • What criteria do they use to make their decision?

These factors — Revella’s 5 Rings of Buyer Insight — will give you greater insight into true motivators of your audience, empowering your marketing team to create content that engages them, informs their interests and helps them succeed. You can enjoy more effective marketing programs and your customers can enjoy “not” being marketed to.

Now, isn’t that what we all want?