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Find out who they are and how to market to them

In the world of B2B technology, a steadfast rule is “know your target audience.” So why are you up at 2 AM wondering if they’ll flock to your new product? Or whether you focused your GTM campaigns on the right industry? You may think you know your audience—after all, you’ve done focus groups and surveys and have a good customer base—but do you really know them?

To fully understand your target audience and align your marketing efforts, I’ve found that it helps to approach them from two different perspectives: the macro (markets) and the micro (personas).


You may have defined your target market as enterprises, software companies, government agencies, or SMBs, but let’s take a step back for a moment. What are the most common and critical problems in your target market that your product or service helps solve? Are there adjacent markets or industries that could benefit from the same solution?

A three-step market research plan could come in handy here.

Step 1 – online research to find useful data such as labor, demographic, and economic stats from government agencies, industry associations, and analysts.

Step 2 – qualitative research to discover what you don’t know by visiting and talking in-depth to a focused number of customers. How do you solve their specific problems, and how are you addressing the pain points for specific functions (e.g. accounting departments, IT operations) within those industries?

Step 3 – quantitative research to validate your findings by surveying a wide breadth of customers.


Zooming in further, it helps to understand a) who’s using your product, and b) who’s buying your product, as they often differ. The technical and functional buyers such as the software developers and IT operations professionals rely on your product to help them do their jobs and meet compliance mandates, while the economic buyers may include procurement officers or C-level executives who own the budget and are more interested in business outcomes.

This is where it helps to know the buyer personas inside-out. In addition to their general demographics (age, education, size of org, location), you should get to know their psychographics (values, attributes, behavior). Where does Sam the CIO look first for information on new products? What drives him? What keeps him up at 2 AM? If you’re already talking to your sales reps, executives, customer support, and other colleagues, spending some time researching buyer thinking on social media, job descriptions, conferences, trade publications, and professional associations can yield some surprising results. Sometimes the most useful insights have been hiding right under your nose—look at win/loss analyses for key learnings, and in other departments for hidden gems.

Armed with a sharper understanding of your markets and buyer personas, you can more effectively target your buyers with campaigns most relevant to them, as illustrated in the example here.

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