Schiphol upgrades their marketing with buyer personas

According to Berend-Jan Rietveld, former Strategic Marketing & Communications Manager at Schiphol, marketing was previously mainly implemented in a traditional way. Think on- and offline advertising, brochures and fairs. But with the sharp increase in the number of channels, the amount of information and the increasing ’empowerment’ of customers, the effectiveness and relevance of commercial messages is decreasing more and more. Berend-Jan: “Until recently we focused on segments and not on the individual decision makers and decision roles within those segments. The result was that we could not build enough customer knowledge, had no insight into the ROI of marketing activities and too many people received information that was not necessarily relevant to them.” To respond to a changing environment, the team still had to be convinced of the need to redesign marketing.

The solution – creating buyer personas for Schiphol

Berend-Jan: “I thought it was important to show that the business environment is changing within B2B, and that, online activities offer new opportunities to gain more and deeper customer knowledge.” To kick-off the process, Berend-Jan introduced the Schiphol team to the practice and principles of content marketing based on buyer personas with knowledge sessions. 

Once everyone was on the same page, it was time to lay a strategic foundation for a modern B2B marketing strategy. So, Schiphol partnered with SPOTONVISION to gain insight into the buyer, based on buyer persona research. And implement an overall content marketing strategy based on the buying process of these buyer personas.

Berend-Jan: “I wanted to move away from traditional push marketing, and instead really add value by being relevant and helpful and also engage with decision-makers.” 

Together with SPOTONVISION, Schiphol developed three buyer personas: the logistics service provider, the logistics specialist at the side of a shipper, and an international version of that logistics specialist.  

Rietveld shares: “For our first round of buyer persona interviews, we conducted qualitative interviews in the Netherlands. We soon found out that we would not get the full picture of the buyer persona if we did not further complete and refine it on an international level. Thus, we collected additional material in India, a key market for pharmaceutical cargo; an increasingly important cargo flow for Schiphol.”  

“The team at SPOTONVISION has a real passion for B2B marketing, which is quite unique in the Netherlands.”

Berend-Jan Rietveld, Strategic Marketing & Communications Manager – Schiphol

The result – Valuable insights and content creation based on buyer insights

Berend-Jan: “We gained valuable new insights from this! We now have a better understanding of which themes and types of content can support these decision-makers in their decision process. This knowledge forms the basis for the new marketing activities. Content mapping based on the buyer journey revelead which content was relevant during specific phases of the buying process. Schiphol currently uses this content map to communicate the right information to the target group. 

Schiphol has finished the strategic foundation: relevant decision roles have been mapped, the content map and the content calendar are in place, and content creation is in full swing. Berend-Jan: “We are ready to make our marketing activities measurable in order to further optimise them based on more customer data. To achieve that, we are looking at a marketing automation solution together with SPOTONVISION.” 

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