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How to identify your target audience sweet spot in three simple steps

How to identify your target audience sweet spot in three simple steps

How to identify your target audience sweet spot in three simple steps

In this blog we provide insight, examples and bear trap warnings to help you identify and define your target audience; one of the five critical elements of your communication strategy.

First, the insight. In our short video we provide you with the critical questions to help you not only to define your target audience but to prioritise it so you can focus on the low hanging fruit.

There are three simple steps to find your target Audience sweet spot

Unless you have infinite budget, you will need to prioritise your resources. Identifying your target sweet spot is the most effective way of achieving this.

Start by gathering insight about your ‘best customers’ by capturing, who they are, where they work and why they are a good match for your business.

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READ: Why your business needs a communication strategy

Firstly, when thinking about who they are

consider the key people involved in the buying process, detail:

  • What they are responsible for?
  • What problems they are experiencing?
  • What goals or objectives do they share?
Who are your best customers - eye looking through leaves
Secondly, explore where they work,

capture characteristics like industry sector, geography, function, company size and, their potential value to you.

Finally, document why they are a good target for you.

Identify:

  • What problems of theirs you can solve
  • What issues keep them awake at night
  • How familiar they are with your brand
  • How much educating they will need
Holding lightbulb against sunset sky

Your sweet spot is where these three elements overlap, and this is where you need to focus your energy and resources.

The Sweet Spot infographic

Sweet Spot ‘Bear Traps’

Let’s consider each section in turn:

Who they are

  1. Job titles are misleading; however much you want to default to job titles, don’t – stick to responsibilities. This is because job titles are a short cut to nowhere!
  2. Include everyone who has a significant role in the buying process – decision makers and influencers – anyone who could act as a barrier or facilitator to purchasing your brand. List them all.
  3. Document the different problems these people will be experiencing, both emotional and commercial, and capture the different ways they would express these problems.
  4. Think about what outcomes they are trying to achieve – be as specific as possible – it will help to build a picture.
  5. Look for patterns but don’t force them, they will emerge!

Where they work

  1. Don’t get lazy – be specific! Detail out size (e.g. up to X employees), region, activity (e.g manufacturer, consultancy) and market (e.g. aerospace, cybersecurity).
  2. What are they worth to you currently? Do you have access to research which tells you what the scale of the opportunity is?
  3. Are they new prospects or current customers? (this will indicate whether they already know you and for what expertise/capability).

Why they are a good target for you

  1. This is about establishing who is the best fit, what you need to do to convert them and how quickly you can do this.
  2. Why do these individuals represent a target worth prioritising?

Don’t be General Generic, be Super Specific

Once you’ve completed the Sweet Spot exercise, you will be able to identify specific low hanging fruit.  Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of casting your net as wide as possible. This kind of broad inclusiveness leads to unfocused marketing and PR campaigns that could very well extend your sales cycle.

Targeting which is unspecific makes it harder for your target audience to understand the desirability and relevance of your offering and as a result, it takes them longer to work it out – if indeed they ever do!

Target audience example. 

For our own business, we started with multiple marketing job titles plus managing directors, finance directors, founders, and entrepreneurs of B2B organisations until we undertook the sweet spot exercise.

Our target sweet spot emerged as ‘people responsible for developing and delivering the marketing strategy for scale up (small/medium) tech and engineering businesses who are time-poor and ambition rich, stretched but focused on maintaining very high standards’.  They are looking for a partner that they can completely rely on to hit the ground running and help build and deliver a strong brand and media profile.

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Focus word on hand

The point about the sweet spot is that it gives your marketing focus.

This doesn’t mean that you turn down business that doesn’t fall within your sweet spot, but having that focus gives your PR, sales and marketing a narrative in which you can be passionate and engaging, rather than vanilla ‘everything to everyone’.

Although our sweet spot is clearly defined, we also work with membership organisations, we work with Managing Directors and CEOs and we work with very large companies as well.  Think of the sweet spot as a navigation lamp for prospects, to guide them to your open door.

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WatchWhy your business needs a communication strategy – essential viewing!

Case study Discover how Lloyds Maritime Academy took control and leveraged their brand

Read How to build compelling B2B messaging for Technology Brands

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is.

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B2B Content and B2B PR…and why you need a strategy for both

B2B Content and B2B PR…and why you need a strategy for both

B2B Content and B2B PR…and why you need a strategy for both

You might be thinking that you don’t need Public Relations (PR) because you’ve got it all sewn up with your content plans.  You could even be forgiven for thinking that PR and content are essentially two sides of the same coin and you’d be right; they are – and both sides are essential marketing currency.

The practice of content marketing is rooted in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) while Public Relations (PR) is rooted in reputation management. The two are intertwined and both are critical for your business and your brand’s success. Without PR, however, you may be surprisingly vulnerable.

What is content and what do you use it for?

Content is concerned with creating brand assets, over which you have absolute control, in order to grow your business online. Content is what you say about yourself.  It is brand.  You produce an article, video or podcast and you place it on your website, embed a link in an email, publish it on your LinkedIn profile and share it via your social channels.

Your content can be both objective and subjective, but you control it and you can control what it says and where it appears. Content is of significant and important value to your brand. B2B content marketing strategies are data driven; they are designed to amplify industry authority, boost search rankings, increase web traffic, drive social shares and generate sales leads.

Consider: A brand with no media relationships and no profile suffers a cyber attack which results in all its customers (and some competitors who happen to be on their database) to have their details published on the internet. How well placed is the content team to defend the business?

What will customers say/think/do?
What will valuable leads say/think/do?
What will your competitors say/think/do?

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READ: 10 Reasons your brand needs PR

What do you use PR for?

If content is what you say about yourself, PR is concerned with shaping what others say about you. It is about managing and nurturing your reputation. PR is concerned with contributing to the debate and influencing the things over which you have limited, or no direct control, to protect and nurture your reputation. You may craft a news release, but once dispatched to the press, you have no say over whether the story is used or how much of your story is published or, in what context.

  You cannot put a value on third party endorsement in terms of credibility.

This apparent lack of control is what sometimes makes PR seem scary, but the value of positive third-party endorsement cannot be underestimated – this is why you pay PR experts to manage and develop this relationship for you. Your PR agent is well practiced in drafting your news releases, and longer articles, in a way that is relevant, appropriate, and compelling. They will distribute it to interested parties and develop relationships on your behalf to secure opportunities for you to provide thought leadership. Your PR will be responsible for crafting ideas for your articles and angles to debate with journalists who have an interest in your areas of expertise. You measure your PR by impact, share of voice and authority.

B2B PR strategies are value driven; they are designed to educate, influence, and persuade your target audience to engage with your brand in a positive way using third party endorsement and engagement. The Barcelona Principles are a sound place to start planning your PR – providing you with guidelines to measure the efficacy of your communications campaigns.

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Integration is best to get better ROI

The two sets of expertise are tightly interwoven, and most PR firms will deliver both content and media relations programmes for you. The more you integrate the two sets of activities, the greater your impact and effect will be on your target audience. Your PR will amplify your achievements, your insight, and your brand by developing and leveraging relationships with the press on your behalf. As a result, PR will deliver favourable press coverage which promotes your reputation as a valuable business partner, a credible authority, and an industry expert. 

A business can survive without content. It may not achieve its full potential, but lack of content will not make it fail. A business that acquires a bad reputation, fairly or not, will fail (or dramatically stumble). If you protect and nurture your brand’s reputation, you fend off the competitive weeds that prevent it from blossoming.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is.

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READ this post: No Industry Is Too Complex For PR

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The Definitive Guide to Analyst Relations

and how to ensure its success

The Dos and Don'ts of Analyst Relations to help build credibility with industry influencers.

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Analyst Relations – where do I begin?

Analyst Relations – where do I begin?

Analyst Relations – where do I begin?

As a tech start-up or scale-up, you may be wondering how to approach industry analyst relations (AR), a practice of relationship building in the tech industry that is seemingly (but only seemingly) the preserve of large vendors.

True, you do need a strategic resource, and to invest time and effort in developing relationships with analysts – the expert advisers on how, where and why IT-related products and services are bought and used. There is no reason though why a growing tech company could not establish mutually beneficial relationships with industry analysts and gain their mindshare.

So, what are the first and essential steps towards successful AR? Read our top tips below.

Securing executive buy-in and ‘selling’ AR within your organisation

An analyst relations programme will require a cross-departmental effort as well as support from senior executives who will also act as analyst relations spokespeople. Securing financial investment and investment of time and effort by senior executives and product managers is key.

The first step is to eliminate the misconception that analysts are just a more ‘corporate’ version of journalists and can be ‘covered’ by PR. Too often, analyst briefings are tagged onto press days or, worse still, analysts are invited to executive briefings when the response from journalists is low.

Industry analysts require a dedicated, strategic and sustained effort that is managed by AR professionals who have the required tools, know-how and access to executives and product managers in order to be able to drive a strong AR programme. This is the only way to ensure analysts receive the right information (with an appropriate level of detail) at the right time and through appropriate channels.

AR training for spokespeople

Industry analysts are extremely knowledgeable in their particular segment of the market, allowing them to influence, on average, from 40-60% of all IT buying decisions. As such, their views and perspectives are highly focused and insightful. Conversations with analysts tend to be longer (usually one hour) and more detailed compared to press interviews, with analysts expecting an in-depth discussion rather than a classic press Q&A.

Your company spokespeople need to be prepared to interact with analysts in a way that meets their requirements and generates value both for your company and the analyst. An AR-focused training session will bring your executives up to speed with analysts’ ways of working and enable them to forge long-term partnerships (sometimes even friendships!)

AR audit

As with every investment, you will be expected to demonstrate impact and showcase the value of your AR activity. An analyst audit establishes a benchmark against which progress can be measured over a certain period of time, usually a year.  

An audit is an in-depth survey of your key analysts (they are a friendly and helpful bunch!) on what they think about your organisation, your products, market performance, competitive advantage and the industry at large. Such insights not only serve as a reference point when measuring the impact of your AR programme but can also inform your AR and go-to-market strategies.

Tools and monitoring

A robust targeting, monitoring and reporting tool that keeps a detailed record of all engagements is a key component of an AR professional’s foundational toolkit and critical to a professionally executed AR programme.

AR is all about nurturing close relationships with (often) a relatively small group of people so, having an easy-to-use tool that provides a 360° overview of all interactions with an analyst enables a more personalised and tailored approach. Ideally, your platform should allow you to log all engagements, add notes, and serve as a searchable database with analytic capabilities.

When these core AR building blocks are put in place, you are ready to develop and implement an AR programme of activities spanning (in no particular order) briefings, inquiries, analyst days, product launch endorsements, consulting engagements, newsletters and more.

Adding Analyst Relations to Your Toolbox

It’s never wise to put all your eggs in one basket. Having a variety of growth techniques will help you build the brand from several fronts at once, even through market fluctuations and other changes.

To start forming your analyst relations strategy, reach out to our specialists today.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

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The Definitive Guide to Analyst Relations

and how to ensure its success

The Dos and Don'ts of Analyst Relations to help build credibility with industry influencers.

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How Analyst Relations Helps Your Business Thrive

How Analyst Relations Helps Your Business Thrive

How Analyst Relations Helps Your Business Thrive

When businesses want to grow their revenue, they typically turn to the age-old technique of paid advertising. Ads may have their merits, but you’re likely to be missing out on a powerful way to grow your business.

Analyst relations, or AR, is a way to establish a reputation and build your brand in a way that will have positive long-lasting impacts.

What is Analyst Relations?

In the same way that public relations focuses on building your relationship with the public, analyst relations is a way to build your relationship with analysts. We work to form a connection between you and the independent analysts in your industry, like research and consulting firms.

This is particularly important for B2B companies. Because your customers are businesses, not consumers, and the investments involved are considerably greater, they put higher levels of research into their decisions and look for third party counsel. This is where analysts’ opinions and findings come to the fore.

What Problems Does an Analyst Relations Strategy Solve?

The benefit that analyst relations afford you is by enhancing your credibility. When you build a relationship with analysts, they’re more likely to mention and vouch for you in their publications and referrals. In B2B purchases, that extra credibility goes a long way.

Beyond establishing your reputation as a reliable vendor, analyst relations will boost your brand awareness too. Some potential customers will discover you for the first time through the recommendations and findings of analysts, and this can lead to a great jump in revenue.

Phases of an Analyst Relations Plan

Analyst relations is a tricky task that requires specialized AR strategies and expertise. A strong AR plan goes through three critical stages:

1 Message Development

For successful analyst relations, you don’t just need to get in front of the right people – you need to deliver messages that will make an impact too.

The first stage of your plan is to develop messaging that appeals to the right analysts. This takes a combination of experience, research, and insights into past successes.

2 Programme Planning

With your messaging nailed down, the next step is to plan the programme. Who will you reach out to? How will you reach them? What are your goals?

This plan should be a well-defined, step-by-step process, especially if multiple people will be executing it.

3 Delivery

Finally, it’s time to put your plan into action. Follow the steps you laid out in the previous phase and track your results along the way. Don’t forget that you need to continuously nurture your relationships with analysts, as you would with any professional connection.

Adding Analyst Relations to Your Toolbox

It’s never wise to put all your eggs in one basket. Having a variety of growth techniques will help you build the brand from several fronts at once, even through market fluctuations and other changes.

To start forming your analyst relations strategy, reach out to our specialists today.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download The Definitive Guide to Analyst Relations and how to ensure its success

READ this post: Analyst Relations – where do I begin?

look at this Infographic: Your Questions About Communications Strategy Answered

The Definitive Guide To Analyst Relations cover

The Definitive Guide to Analyst Relations

and how to ensure its success

The Dos and Don'ts of Analyst Relations to help build credibility with industry influencers.

Download

Subscribe to our updates

Stay up to date with the latest insights, case studies, and PR guides.

EC-PR Packages - B2B PR Pricing Guide - front cover

How much does PR cost?

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Think Thought Leadership is too time consuming? Let a technical author do the hard work for you

Think Thought Leadership is too time consuming? Let a technical author do the hard work for you

Think Thought Leadership is too time consuming? Let a technical author do the hard work for you

Are you one of the 90% of marketers whose top marketing priorities is brand awareness?

If so, then thought leadership is probably not far from your thoughts. It’s one of the most effective ways you can set about securing share of mind, promoting your brand’s authority, and attracting valuable sales leads into the top of your sales funnel.

Is it ever the right time to do thought leadership?

If your company is successful, then your experts are probably busy working on client business and if your business is going through a difficult period, then your specialists are probably focussed on working to generate new contracts. Thought leadership needs expert input, so to you, this may feel like a catch-22 and a game you simply can’t win. This is where technical authors can step in and do the hard work and heavy lifting for you.

What is a technical author?

A technical author is an expert in writing. They may be an independent freelance journalist or an employee of a tech PR agency; but they are someone who has the skills and experience to investigate, draft and finalise thought leadership on your behalf. They will have spent years fine tuning their interview and writing skills.  And, while they do require a brief and some input from your subject matter expert, they do not require hours of hand-holding and the material they produce usually requires very minimal editing.

Pros & Cons of freelance technical authorship

A journalist will be highly objective in their approach. This means it’s essential you provide a detailed brief in terms of your key messages and expectation for the white paper or article. A journalist is trained to seek out the most interesting angle and their skills are in story telling – not brand building or reputation management. Providing you keep your brief tight, this should not create problems and you should reap the rewards of insightful, compelling thought leadership, positioning you as the leading experts within your industry.

Initially, a freelance writer is likely to cost less than an agency, and they have the added benefit that you can commission them on a freelance, piecemeal basis. However, a technical journalist will rarely conduct media relations on your behalf, so you will need to arrange to place your thought leadership articles in the press separately – or you can employ a PR agency to do this for you.

Pros & Cons of a tech PR agency

A tech PR agency can provide you with a comprehensive service, but of course the costs are higher. The ideal approach to your technical thought leadership, assuming it’s an article based on expert insight, not an original piece of research is as follows:

  • Develop an ideas bank of potential thought leadership angles
  • Agree which target audience you are prioritising
  • Document overarching messages & key messages
  • Identify the subject matter expert
  • Develop your angle into an article synopsis
  • Conduct media relations to place thought leadership
  • placed in the media, conduct an interview with your subject matter expert
  • Draft article and submit for sign off
  • Source supporting imagery, graphics etc
  • Submit for publication.
Once placed, your thought leadership should be optimized across media channels before conducting your evaluation. All of this should take very little of your time because the heavy lifting and time-consuming tasks are shouldered by the agency.
So, you see, it’s perfectly possible to undertake a Thought Leadership strategy even when your experts are very busy bees. You have various options that deliver phenomenal results, you just need to decide what factors are most important to you and what resources you can commit to securing this valuable, brand building asset to your company.
At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

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No industry is too complex for PR

No industry is too complex for PR

No industry is too complex for PR

If you’re a marketer working in an industry such as engineering, science or technology – you not only have to deal with all the resourcing challenges that face marketers universally, but you have the added issue of having to create intelligible, interesting and engaging content from what some might call ‘complex’ specialties.

Finding a PR agency to assist you in these industries can be tough – some tech PR agencies have the skills but not the understanding, others have the understanding but not the creativity and others, still, have the creativity but lack structure and discipline. It can be an unrewarding and laborious search to find a PR partner that really understands you.

So, let’s consider what’s important when searching for your perfect B2B PR Partner in those complex industries:

 

Skills to look for in a tech B2B PR partner

Engaging writers:

The skills that you need from your PR team are universal. You need them to be effective communicators – persuasive, passionate, and inquisitive. You need them to know the right questions to ask and, most importantly, you need them to be able to write solid, grammatically correct, and engaging copy.

Clear and concise communicators:

Technical copy should be clear and concise. Complex copy can grow legs and get mired in mud – becoming impenetrable and unattractive to the audience. This is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve with your PR. You need your technical copy, news, and articles to be presented with clarity and purpose; simple sentences express complex concepts far better than long-winded, flowery bluster.

Tech PR Agency Skills Wordcloud
Expert authors:

Technical copy should be as aligned with your communication strategy  as your thought leadership. Just because something is complex is not an excuse for it not being strategically aligned. Expert technical authorship is a vital skill, this is the ability to turn complex information and turn it into interesting, engaging, and compelling insight and editorial.  Ask to see examples of their work – both the raw copy and the published material.

Is your tech PR team creative?

You should expect your PR agency to come to you with new ideas regularly. Every month, your tech PR firm should present you with new ideas designed to promote your messaging, extend your reach, and propel your brand awareness forward. You don’t want every idea to be safe or necessarily realistic, you want some flights of fantasy so long as they’re aligned to your business requirements – some of the best ideas can evolve from something less conventional.

Creativity is highly subjective. At the pitch stage you should get some insights as to the way they craft and present ideas for bringing your complex business to life. As you work together, this process for generating new and exciting ideas will become more fine-tuned.

PR structure and discipline are important in complex markets

Think about your internal audience – are they engineers, scientists or technical experts? How do you think they would respond to chaotic creativity, or pointless procedure? This is why structure and discipline are particularly important when working with complex businesses. It’s there to inspire confidence amongst the people you will be relying on to provide insight and expertise – your subject matter experts.

Your agency needs to provide a clear process between objective, output, and outcome so that everyone involved within your company can understand why you’re doing something and what the business outcome is expected to be. This will give you, and your internal audience, focus and purpose.

Internal credibility and authority

Often, these complex businesses are helmed by a founder CEO with a background in engineering, science, or technology. They rarely have a detailed understanding of marketing, its benefits, and limitations. So, a PR plan, showing how you’re using PR to deliver your business strategy, should lend you further credibility and authority.

Considering all the above factors in your B2B PR approach should provide you with the best formula for PR success, whatever industry you’re in. Your business may be complex, but the PR solution doesn’t need to be; you need to secure Tech PR skills, an inquisitive team, proven creativity and a proven delivery model; ideally with a team of PR experts you respect and whose values you share.

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our guide: How much does PR cost?

READ this outstanding Tech PR case study: Concirrus – Quest for Success

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How much does PR cost?

Our transparent guide to B2B PR pricing for tech brands.

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