Be relevant: your message will be read
A lifetime would not be enough to read the contents we receive in a single day. So we must sort and select them.
We must defend ourselves. We have all become information pickers. A second is enough to decide if it’s worth opening that email, that article, that post. We do it on the basis of its relevance.
No, actually we dont pick out the ‘most important’ contents. Do we? We are not interested in Indian elections (1 billions people went to the polls) nor so much in global warming. Ditto for the authoritativeness of the source (Did you really scroll the Financial Times website recently?). We invest our time in reading if the content sounds relevant for us. “I’m reading this”, we say, “because it is about me, because it seems to be writen for me”.
B2B Communication 101
Being relevant is therefore the first rule of communication, especially in B2B. The focus should be the recipient, not the source. If you are reading this, it is probably because it speaks about you. If we’d focused it about us, you probably wouldn’t have even come to this very line.
Unfortunately you can’t be relevant to everyone: before communicating you must draw an accurate image of the receiver of your messages. You need to know precisely “who you’re writing for”.
The ‘buyer persona’
We at Valuelead ask our clients not just to define their ‘target’, but to portray it with a wealthy of details: the car he/she drive, his/her hobbies, his/her idiosyncrasies, habits, preferences. We call it the ‘buyer persona’. A buyer persona is not your usual marketing ‘target’ (male, 30-50 years, high schooling, executive position, lives in a big city). It is a full-size image of the person that will read your messages.
The conjuction fallacy
Fiction writers outline the protagonist with thousands of unique details. Don’t they? And yet despite this, or better precisely because of this, we can identify ourselves with them. This paradox has been analyzed by Daniel Kahneman, founder of Behavioral economics and Nobel Prize. Kahneman and Tverski in Thiking fast and slow , reported an experiment that we report with some modifications:
This description, “Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations” has been proposed to different groups of subjects. They were asked to tell which is more likely: 1) Linda is an high school teacher. 2)Linda is an high school teacher and is active in a feminist group.
Yet the number of females who are both teachers and militants is a fraction of the number of female teachers (may be less than 1%). Nevertheless most subjects answered that Linda is more likely a teacher-feminist than a ‘simple’ teacher. A specific scenario seemed more likely because of representativeness, also if each added detail would actually make the scenario less and less likely.
Without a buyer persona your message won’t seem relevant
In practice, drawing an accurate image of our target, helps in selecting topics and style of our contents and widens, instead of shrinking, the number of people who will ‘recognize’ themselves in the message. We dare to say that without investing time and ingenuity in drawing the buyer persona, your messages will result devoided of relevance and therefore dismissed.