Just like a building needs a solid foundation, B2B marketing and sales need buyer insights. A house with a weak foundation might stand temporarily but will eventually crumble. Buyer personas are the foundation of effective marketing and are essential to your business.
The business case for buyer personas is grounded in delivering a customer experience that outshines your competitors.
Today’s quest is to explore how AI (artificial intelligence) changes the landscape of gathering buyer insights.
What makes a good buyer persona?
Understanding the buyer is crucial, and it’s equally important to comprehend all the relevant stakeholders in the buying group. B2B buying groups can include up to 10 members, and AI tools can analyse millions of ads, intent, and engagement data points to assign roles and personas to each buying committee member. But, creating a great B2B buyer persona involves more! Such as comprehensive research, detailed information, and constant refinement.
Crafting buyer personas is not a one-time activity. They should be updated and refined as you gain more insights about your customers. The more detailed and accurate your personas are, the better you can tailor your marketing and sales efforts to meet the needs of your target audience.
Buyer persona insights: how AI can help
Using AI can make the process of understanding your buyer significantly faster. Here are some examples of how you can use AI:
- Collecting and using data: AI can handle a lot of data and ensure you see all the relevant info. It can highlight patterns and insights that humans might miss.
- Grouping buyers: Identifying and categorising different buyer groups has never been easier. Computers can group similar buyers.
- Guessing future needs: AI can forecast possible future trends or buyer needs based on current data.
- Tailoring messages: AI can help send the right message to many different buyers at once. From chatbots to automated emails, AI can keep the conversation going with potential clients, even outside of business hours.
But artificial intelligence also has its limits. The heart and soul of your customers might remain a mystery to AI.
What AI cannot do for us and our buyer personas (yet)
Although AI excels at data analysis and pattern recognition, it struggles to fully grasp human emotions and context.
Emotional nuance: AI can categorize customer sentiment as positive or negative but misses the subtleties, such as a review expressing lukewarm satisfaction rather than enthusiasm.
Contextual understanding: AI often misinterprets cultural nuances, slang, and sarcasm. For example, a sarcastically “brilliant” comment may be wrongly assessed as genuine praise.
Understanding motivations: While AI identifies behavioural trends, it doesn’t understand the human motivations behind them, which often require direct conversations to discern.
Predicting the future: AI’s predictions are based on historical data, making it less reliable in forecasting new trends, market changes, or shifting customer preferences.
Emotional connection: AI can hold a conversation, but it lacks the ability to forge deeper emotional connections that humans can by sharing a laugh or a coffee.
In summary, AI’s capabilities are still limited when it comes to capturing the complexity of human emotion, understanding specific contexts, and building emotional connections.
Buyer journey insights
Over the last 15 years, we’ve found that using an interview grid within an open conversation is most effective for gaining buyer persona insights. Active listening is crucial as you allow the respondent to guide you through their buying journey, highlighting influencers and consulted content.
Your marketing efforts could become unfocused and ineffective, without a clear understanding of your target customer. You may end up wasting time and resources trying to reach people who aren’t interested in your product or service, or you might communicate your value proposition in a way that doesn’t resonate with your actual customers.
AI provides invaluable tools for fast and comprehensive buyer analysis but falls short of capturing the emotional and contextual intricacies that make each buyer unique. Therefore, a hybrid approach that combines AI’s analytical power with human emotional intelligence will make your buyer personas and journey insights robust and actionable.
By taking the time to research and define your buyer personas, you can align your business strategy with your customer’s needs and preferences, ultimately improving your overall business performance.