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Are Your Current B2B Marketing Efforts A Waste Of Time?


New research suggests that developing buyer personas and personalizing content that solves problems for those people will not ultimately produce nurtured leads for B2B selling efforts. In other words, using content marketing for demand generation — in its current form, anyway — simply doesn’t work.

Here’s why: B2B purchases aren’t made by one person; they’re usually made by a group of more than five people. And groups of people don’t agree about — well, much of anything. They’re dysfunctional. This “unholy mess,” the research suggests, can limit content marketing’s ability to send an 80 percent purchase-likely lead to 30 percent.

This is according to a recent article on Forbes about a study of 3,000 B2B buyers. The study suggests that “if your commercial approach isn’t tuned to group buying dynamics, you’re in trouble.”

While personalization of content does work, boosting intent to purchase by more than 40 percent for individuals, this effort is “grossly insufficient” because that purchase likelihood falls by more than 40 percent when you add more than four people to the buying process.

At Tellwise, we like this Forbes article because it points out some of the shortcomings in the very individual and persona-based marketing efforts all of us marketers are doing today. The reality is that, in B2B, a team most often decides on purchase decisions.

We wouldn’t necessarily say that there is reason to give up on the persona development. There is in fact no research done to our knowledge that indicates it’s harmful. However, the great point the author makes is to consider the team element and team dynamic, which is highly undervalued in today’s sales and marketing process.

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): We believe it is a joint responsibility of sales and marketing to address this group decision-making. The great news is that new, smart technologies are actually enabling sharing with groups and social group interactions.

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