Are B2B Marketers Ready For Personas?

Laura Ramos

During a recent breakfast meeting with B2B marketers, someone asked “We sell many products, with each buying cycle involving multiple decision makers. Do I need to create a persona for each?” Persona is a word that has made its way into the business marketer’s vocabulary of late and we admit we’re doing our part to promote this approach as well. But are B2B marketers ready to use personas as a launch pad for establishing a more relevant dialog with prospects and customers?

Most are not. Judging from our customer interactions, the typical B2B firms’ approach to segmentation is quite rudimentary — they group customers by size, industry, and geography. These categories closely match their sales organization’s structure, but are divorced from marketing strategy. Few go further and extend buyer profiles to include role, behavior, demographics, or preferences.

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ad:tech: proof of bubble 2.0?

Shar VanBoskirk

I participated in ad:tech San Francisco 06 last week and was blown away by the number of attendees and exhibitors.  While I was very excited by the energy at the event (great to feel marketers primed to invest in internet marketing, and vendors anxious to introduce new technologies), the cynic in me couldn’t shake the “been there, done that” feeling.

A feeling associated with what we at Forrester have dubbed “Bubble 2.0” -- the recent boom of venture-backed vendors touting very similar capabilities but with no clients (In fact, this trend is not unique to vendors.  There are content companies springing up too, that provide no actual content). 

Here are my observations from ad:tech about which areas are garnering the biggest vendor attention:

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The Reality of Marketing Metrics

Shar VanBoskirk

We recently participated in a panel on marketing measurement for the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange and it got us to thinking about all the hubbub around marketing measurement and analytics today.  Everyone is talking about it.  Everyone has vast quantities of data.  And yet despite the increased sophistication of measurement tools and practices, the debate about how to really do it continues.  No one has yet come up with an answer to the question: How do you measure marketing?  Here are just a few thoughts on why this is and what marketers can do about it: 

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Ask, Julie About Wireless

Julie Ask

One of my few New Years' Resolutions: Blog on the wireless industry. My mentor here gave me the advice to blog early and blog often. I'll start with a short one announcing my areas of interest:

- Wireless: the technology, content, business models, consumer adoption …
- Wireless access technologies: cellular, Wi-Fi, etc. …
- Wireless content: mobile games, sports, ringtones, …
- Mobile advertising and marketing: on the phone and online
- Telematics

More than one witty person has suggested that my name is perfect for an analyst. I'd like to clarify upfront that my name is not an English verb - it's Norwegian for "ash" -

More to come.


My View: The Digitizer

My View: The Digitizer
From: George F. Colony, CEO, Forrester Research
Date: May 7, 2004

Quickly: Steve Jobs is still important.

Content: Damn, I hate to be wrong! And it’s time to come clean . . . .

The story of the technology industry and the parables of two men, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, have been inextricably entwined during the past 25 years. They started out as dreamers who had visions of how personal computers would change the world – and they dedicated their careers to making it happen.

Their paths diverged in the late 1980s. Gates was well on his way to building one of the most lucrative and tightly controlled monopolies in the history of modern capitalism. Jobs was being ignominiously tossed out of the company he had founded. Jobs’ eccentricities (from his control-freak tendencies to his erratic management style) had converged to make him professionally unpalatable. The ill-fated NeXT, with its revenge-driven strategy, further confirmed that Jobs was a nonfactor -- a has-been from the bygone years of homebrew whimsicality, stuck in an era of corporate, enterprise-focused technology.

My thought at the time: “Good riddance.” Forrester’s focus on how $1 billion-plus companies use technology enabled me to write off NeXT and Apple as diversions, insignificant to the enterprise business that we analyzed every day.

It was the mid-1990s. Apple was disappearing. Steve Jobs was irrelevant. And few noncult members wept.

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