Ardath Albee, How to Create Persona-Driven Marketing Strategies – InnovaBuzz 447

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, Marketing Interactions

In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Ardath Albee who is a B2B Marketing Strategist and CEO of Marketing Interactions where she creates personas and persona-driven content marketing and sales enablement strategies for her clients.

Ardath has written two books—Digital Relevance and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale—and is often found speaking at industry events, leading workshops, and on the lists of the top B2B, industry experts to follow. She’s also currently the Interim VP of Marketing at Modus.

In our discussion, Ardath talked to me about:

  • Connecting companies to their audiences in a human way
  • Building buyer personas that are actionable
  • The power of questions in conversation and listening to your customers

Mathew Sweezey in episode 396 introduced us to Ardath.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

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A B2B persona has to be an actionable persona. @Ardath421 on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Ardath Albee of Marketing Interactions

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • It’s not enough to know that your product is great and why everybody should have it. It’s also important to figure out what people who don’t have it think about your product and why should they care.
  • As marketers, we are not a representative of our audience, and what appeals to us may not appeal to them.
  • A B2B persona has to be an actionable persona.
  • All the basic demographics used in consumer marketing don’t work in B2B. B2B personas are all about the roles that people have in a company, their responsibilities, and the types of problems they are solving.
  • You can’t do personas by title. You have to group activities and people together according to their roles and responsibilities.
  • Personalisation is all about understanding the context of where the buyers are considering the problem they are dealing with and how you are going to help them solve it. It’s all about how you can help them advance their thinking so they can move forward.
  • B2B buyers don’t want to talk to salespeople. They want to educate themselves. They know they are capable of doing all of these things but don’t understand that they don’t know what they don’t know which is why salespeople should provide value.
  • Businesses need to become advisers and mentors in helping buyers advance their thinking and build their confidence so that they can move forward and justify their decisions.
  • The purpose of personas is to help marketers and salespeople truly understand their buyers and the whole buying committee on how they work together. 
  • Talk to your customers. Have meaningful conversations with them and carefully take note of the phrases they use, how they describe the problem, the people who are involved, as well as what happens when they walk you through the process.
  • Marketing, sales, and customer success should work together and operate as one functional team.
  • Context is huge. 
  • Customers aren’t leads. They are people.
  • Pay attention to the content that your customers are viewing and how it builds together. Notice what it tells you about where they are in the buying process. Really listen to your customers in order to figure out the questions that come up for them every step of the way.
  • Questions are the foundation of conversations. Listen to your customers’ questions and think about how you can answer each of them given everything else that you’ve learned in building their personas, then create a content marketing strategy that focuses on making them the hero of your story. 
  • Buying is change management.
  • As a company, you have to step into a mentor role. Every hero needs a mentor that helps them learn what they need to know to make to the next stage. 
  • Companies need to adapt the mentor role instead of thinking that the story is about them or their product. We need to allow our buyers to discover and visualise themselves getting through the challenge. It is their story. We can’t solve it for them but we can give them the tools and insights they need to make them feel more powerful and confident. The more they learn and the more tools they accumulate along the journey, the more it enables them to make a decision. 
  • Context is key. Data can tell you what somebody did but it certainly cannot tell you why or if what they did delivered the result they wanted.
  • You can never automate marketing because there is no technology yet that can understand context.
  • Marketing and sales should work closely together because marketing doesn’t have the luxury of one to one conversations that sales have. By working together, they can help each other mitigate and validate data given the different avenues of engagement with a buyer.
Buying is change management. @Ardath421 on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Ardath’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Turn off your internal editor and just play with ideas.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Get out of the office. Get away from the computer. Engage with somebody who doesn’t have your perspective.
  3. Favourite tool for innovation – Search
  4. Keep project/client on track –  Set the right expectations and involve your clients in the whole process.
  5. Differentiate – Focus on a niche. Specialise and be known for something that you can be best at and really focus on that.

To Be a Leader

Go for it and take risks. Turn off your internal editor. Have the courage to try; do something different.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Ardath through their website.

Suggested Guest

Ardath suggested we have a conversation with Carla Johnson, author of ReThink. So Carla, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz Podcast, courtesy of Ardath Albee.



Cool Things About Ardath

  • She’s been recognized as a 2014 Woman to Watch in B2B by FierceCMO and spent the last four years on the 50 Most Influential People in Sales and Lead Management list.
  • When she’s not working on projects, Ardath can be found putting her Australian Shepherd, Siena, through agility routines, cooking up gourmet meals and creating fictional characters for the stories she’s always dreaming up.
  • She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America.
Questions are the foundation of conversations.  @Ardath421 on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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