How to use marketing personas to develop marketing and sales campaigns


How to use marketing personas to develop marketing and sales campaigns

April 2021
Yellow sticky notes stuck to a white board, brainstorming session concept

We use a worked example to guide you.

Marketing personas help us to understand our customers and how we can better meet their needs. Part of creating an effective persona includes understanding the supply chain in which your customers operate. This includes breaking it down step by step, identifying stakeholders and their roles. 

We’ve defined marketing personas and explained why B2B marketers need them, but the best way to show how this all works is through a worked example. Fire detectors are a seemingly mundane yet essential feature of virtually every single non-residential building, and a feature of many residential dwellings too. These protuberances in the office ceiling that we never notice are, in most instances, required by law.

The process behind their choice and installation is quite complex, so is a classic challenge for a B2B marketer tasked with marketing and selling a solution to business buyers.    

There are at least eight core personas in the process, but in practice many more. A top-level summary of the supply chain and personas is given below.

B2B supply chain and marketing persona examples

1. Architects and designers in an architectural practice

  • Influencer – they will specify the type of detector to be used as part of their overall building design; possibly a decision-maker if there is a specific model that fits particular needs. They may delegate the design of the fire system and detectors to the M&E engineers
  • Focus is overarching building design and aesthetics - may include more detailed specifications or delegate to M&E engineer
  • Tech/device preference is Macs, iPads
  • Use social platforms, but also journals, magazines and books
  • Prefer highly-visual, inspiring conceptual content, case studies, some technical content.

2. Building services and M&E engineers in an engineering consultancy

  • Influencer – decision-maker, may specify detector 
  • Focus on designing a workable and compliant complete solution with detailed specifications
  • Tech/device preference is PCs/desktops
  • Use websites
  • Prefer technical and performance specifications and datasheets.

Aerial view of three people sitting round a table looking at architectural plans

3. Tier 1 contractors

  • The contractor with overall responsibility for constructing the building; the persona may be a quantity surveyor/estimator/project manager/building engineer, depending on the contractor
  • The architect/engineer may provide specifications for the tier 1 contractor but not a specific model, so the tier 1 contractor may be a decision-maker
  • Focus on compliance and cost, then ease of installation, and availability of the product from suppliers
  • Tech/device preference is PCs/desktops
  • Use websites, hard copy 
  • Prefer technical and performance specifications and datasheets.

4. Tier 2 contractors

  • The tier 1 contractor may subcontract the M&E work to a specialist subcontractor (who in turn may subcontract to a specialist fire systems subcontractor, a tier 3 contractor); the personas within a tier 2 contractor could be a project manager or engineer, or possibly an estimator or quantity surveyor 
  • The specific fire detector model may be part of the brief to the tier 2 contractor, or the specifications may be that the supplier and contractor choose the model, so may be a decision-maker
  • Focus on compliance and cost, then ease of installation, and availability of the product from suppliers
  • Tech/device preference is PCs/desktops
  • Use websites and hard copy
  • Prefer technical and performance specifications and datasheets.

5. Project manager/site manager/site foreman

  • We are at the stage when the product has been chosen and the fire detector has been delivered. Although the marketer’s role might be considered over at this stage, there are further key influencers and users
  • The subcontractor’s project manager will assign the work to a site operative, who may be an independent tradesperson, or a site engineer/technician employed by the tier 2 specialist subcontractor
  • The project manager is a key influencer. If the fire detectors are poorly packaged, complex or difficult to install, are known for faults during testing and commissioning, or missing instructions, then this gets fed back up the supply chain
  • Device preference is PC/laptop/tablet/mobile phone/hard copy in a site office, so ease of use, ability to reference quickly and clarity are essential features of product information; product packaging also plays a key role here
  • Use websites, particularly mobile-enabled, hard copy and packaging. Installation videos are also useful
  • Prefer technical information and installation instructions, and datasheets.

6. Tradesperson/site operative 

  • The final link in the fire detector supply chain is the installer, usually a tradesperson or site operative of the tier 2 specialist subcontractor. They are responsible for fitting the detector into the ceiling, wiring it into the building-wide system and testing. Depending on the project size, this could be an individual or a large team
  • This persona is an influencer. If the detector is deficient, the message makes its way up the supply chain. Often that’s ignored, but if a poorly designed detector takes twice as long to install, or frequently fails testing, that costs time and money – eventually the message will make its way to the decision-makers
  • Device preference is laptop/tablet/mobile phone/hard copy. Most larger specialist contractors equip their engineers with ruggedised laptops and hand-held devices of various types used for testing. The ability to reference quickly and clarity are essential features of product information; product packaging and videos can also be preferred
  • Use websites, particularly mobile enabled, soft copy documentation on the device, specialist and product/solution specific software/tech platforms either installed on the mobile devices or cloud-based, hard copy and packaging; installation videos are also useful
  • Prefer technical information and installation instructions, datasheets, and proprietary fire safety system specific software.  

The fire detector has been specified, purchased and installed. However, there are yet more stages to understand before the marketer’s role is complete. The building owner/occupier, the ultimate user and operator of the detector, must also be satisfied with the product.

Two men wearing hard hats on a construction site looking at sheet of paper

7. Snagging, testing and commissioning by consultant, site/field engineer

  • The building is finished, the fire safety system is installed and has been tested by the installation team, and the owner/occupier will take ownership/occupy the facility. The handover process from the tier 1 contractor to the owner/occupier involves snagging, or checking for problems or defects in construction, testing systems such as the fire control, security, building management/control and IT infrastructure, and commissioning the building ready for use
  • The entire process includes dozens of construction roles, but it would usually be a fire control system specialist that would snag, test and commission the system that uses the detectors
  • This persona, most likely a part of specialist consultancy or subcontractor very similar to the installer, may be a building services/M&E engineer, site engineer or technician, or a tradesperson
  • They are influencers. If the detector network is riddled with manufacturer defects, then this detector type may not be specified next time
  • Device preference is a laptop/ruggedised laptop or tablet
  • Use manufacturer’s website to obtain technical information, plus accessing plans, specifications and product information datasheets from cloud-based solutions or proprietary software
  • Prefer technical information, both product and compliance related.  

8. Facilities management by occupier/facilities manager

  • The building has been commissioned and handed over to the facilities/estates management function. Fire detectors require regular checks and testing, so the manufacturer may have an ongoing relationship with the owner/occupier
  • Depending on the size and type of facility, this persona is typically a facilities management professional, such as a surveyor or building engineer, property/estates manager, experienced tradesperson or caretaker
  • Device preferences vary - desktop PC for estates offices to mobiles for caretakers
  • Use manufacturer website for latest product maintenance and care information; soft copy product specification and compliance information held on local or cloud-based servers; possibly hard copy datasheets.

The above example is a top line summary without as much detail as you would realistically need to create a strategy, plan a campaign, design your digital UX and a content campaign for lead generation. However, even if you don’t have all the information now, make a start with what you know and leave spaces for what you don’t know. You can then fill in the gaps as swiftly as is practical.

Mapping your supply chain and creating marketing personas for your B2B brand 

Do you need help to understand your supply chain and its stakeholders? Do you need support to create marketing personas to identify the challenges, aspirations and needs of your customers? 

We can support you and your team to update existing supply chain mapping and marketing personas and build new ones. We can complete all the research required to do this, and work with you to make sure your understanding of the supply chain and marketing personas help to generate the right results. Contact us today for B2B marketing support.

What can we do for you?

For a no obligation discussion about how we can help you meet your marketing and communication objectives call or email us.

+44 (0) 20 7100 4460

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