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How to identify and influence buyers using marketing

November 22, 2022

To be effective, marketing campaigns must start early in the funnel, as it’s where 57% of brand choices occur, according to a Challenger report.

As a B2B marketer, it’s essential to identify your buyers from the start of the buying journey. This way, you can continuously adjust marketing strategy to meet their demands — and influence their decisions to boost sales.

In this piece, we’ll look at how to identify your target customers and influence them across different channels and platforms, including ResearchGate. We’ll also share a mix of strategic and tactical tips based on industry insights and trends.

Five ways to identify and influence buyers with your marketing campaigns

Here are five ways to identify your buyer persona among the crowd and tips to influence them:

1. Research consumer trends to identify popular buyer channels

Understanding consumer trends gives a good indication of where you can find your buyer prospects, and where to focus your marketing efforts.

For instance, today’s “typical” internet user spends almost 7 hours per day online — nearly half of their waking hours. The graph below shows how global internet usage has increased since 2013 but experienced a sharp rise in 2020 when consumers relied on internet-connected technologies during the lockdowns. 

Daily Time Spent Using the Internet created by Dataportal. It shows that internet users aged 16 to 64 spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes per day online, showing a steady increase since 2013.
Caption: Digital 2022 Global Overview Report, Dataportal, 2022.

When looking at device share, mobile phones account for 53.5% of the time spent online. But the number is likely to increase when visiting a social channel like ResearchGate — with 45% of visitors using a mobile phone to access the platform, compared to 55% using desktop. Further market research reveals that 86% of B2B customers today use an average of 10 channels to make purchasing decisions. 

This data indicates that your prospective customers are spending more time online and on mobile than ever before. Also, buyers prefer a cross-channel mix. As such, brands would benefit from implementing strong omni-channel campaigns without overlooking the importance of mobile. 

2. Identify buyers’ behavior to craft influential messaging

Buyers’ behavior varies according to occupation, industry, age group, and other factors. Understanding it is crucial to help you identify your target customers and further refine messaging to influence purchasing decisions.

For instance, one study found that B2B buyers carry out over half of the buying process through digital touchpoints, before they even establish any contact with the B2B seller.

This means that to convert prospects into buyers, marketers must place the right content in front of researchers at different stages of the funnel. In today’s cluttered media landscape, it’s quality over quantity. It’s less about how many times a brand shows the same ad to target customers, but more about how a brand can effectively use each potential moment of attention in the buyer journey.

Find out where your ideal customers are getting their information, and what activities they are likely to be engaging in when you reach them with your campaign.

Optimizing your website lead forms and asking questions can be an effective method to help you identify and qualify potential buyers — and craft powerful messages tailored to them.

3. Identify decision-makers in your field, and plan your marketing campaigns around them

Market research in your industry is crucial to identify buyer prospects. As a B2B organization in the sciences, what type of persona should you be targeting? 

Look to group buying dynamics — who is involved and when — in making a purchasing decision. Our commercial insights report revealed that in the life science lab purchasing equipment sector:

  • Key decision-makers are more senior: Buying groups are typically made of 3 or more people, with the principal investigators covering the roles of Senior Professors, PIs, and research scientists. 
  • Influencers are more junior: Junior scientists and lab technicians are highly likely to influence the more senior buying group members. 

Given that buying groups consist of multi-level and multi-disciplinary members, your marketing campaigns should have multiple targets (at least three types of people) to maximize impact.

Plan your multi-channel and multi-target campaigns to reach key decision-makers. Find out what resonates with your target buyers. Run customer surveys or partner with an external market research company to gather insights. 

Then, develop content that addresses use cases and behavior — and tailor your campaign messaging to role, seniority, and focus. A/B testing can help you optimize it for each type of buyer.

4. Understand your target customer's buying process to influence purchase

Today’s B2B buyers want to simplify and streamline their purchase decisions as much as possible. The three things they value most are speed, transparency, and expertise. Buyers are also reliant on self-serve and online research before reaching out to sales teams. 

So, as a marketer, it’s your job to make this process easy for them by offering a stellar thought leadership proposition. ResearchGate’s commercial insights data indicates that providing educational value can highly sway purchasing decisions.

Start leveraging educational content early in the funnel as it is more effective in maximizing campaign ROI and boosting conversion rate (CR) than using purely promotional content. White papers, peer recommendations, and scientific research publications are the best-performing formats and carry the most influence on purchase.

5. Identify buyers’ pain points to offer the right content at the right time

B2B companies that provide outstanding pre-purchase digital experiences to prospective buyers are 70% more likely to be chosen over those who provide poor experiences. 

In order to deliver those outstanding digital experiences and build brand loyalty, you must identify customers’ most pressing pain points. Are they willing to spend budget on your product and why? What drives them?

By understanding buyers’ motivation, you are able to offer the right solution at the right time. For example, on ResearchGate you can promote your organization’s content to scientists as they do their research via content marketing campaigns. You can place content strategically along the funnel and encourage readers to take action, using Sponsored Content Posts and Native Ads formats.

Over time, this helps to strengthen mental availability among prospects — which is the likelihood of your brand coming to mind, compared to competitors, when a purchase occasion arises.

Know Thy Buyer

Understanding who your buyer prospects are and what they need is critical in future-proofing your business. 

In-depth research of your buyer persona helps you deliver better digital experiences at key touch points — helping you successfully influencing buying decisions that lead to sales growth.

Generate leads, drive website traffic, and build brand awareness by engaging a community of scientific professionals as they discover content on ResearchGate. Contact us today to get started.

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