Monday, January 5, 2009

Kadient: Blogging About Internal Processes Connects With Buyers

Transparency is a great approach to marketing, even when you might think that the internal workings of your organization might not be of any interest to your audience. Heather Stokes and Heather Margolis at Kadient found this out when leading bloggers took note of their internal efforts to develop user personas. The personas were being used to best focus their development efforts for their Sales Enablement products, but the effort Kadient had put in to understand their users (including life sized cardboard cutouts of Anya and Luke, two of the personas) won them recognition, awareness, and credibility with potential buyers in the social media sphere of influence.

The effort resulted in traffic to the Kadient site and an increase in credibility for their products and company. As with many investments of this nature though, it can be hard to measure the economic return. What are your thoughts as B2B marketers? Are these "inner-workings" efforts worth doing? Have you measured them successfully?

Here's the case study from Digital Body Language:

Kadient: Blogging About Internal Processes Connects With Buyers

Kadient’s move into Software as a Service (SaaS) brought with it a fundamental shift in their marketing to connect more deeply with their buyer and user audience. A company-wide effort to develop and use buyer and user personas sparked numerous discussions on exactly how “Luke” or “Anya”, and several other personas, would use the product in his or her daily life, and how it should be built, marketed, and sold in order to best connect with him or her.

As they focused more on connecting with their buyers, Kadient fleshed out the personalities with increasing detail. Hobbies, personality traits, and even cardboard cutouts were created to provide insights into Anya and Luke. When a development or marketing meeting was held to discuss the market, the discussion would always focus around their buyer and user personas.

This effort was then noticed by David Meerman Scott, an influential industry blogger and writer, who highlighted Kadient’s efforts in his online forum. Although the main topic of the writing was the use of buyer and user personas, Kadient was identified as a leader in their field. Anya and Luke were highlighted in detail, allowing any reader of the blog to identify with their goals and challenges.

Two other industry bloggers, Charles Brown and Scott Sehlhorst of Tyner Blain, quickly picked up the story, and added their own commentary, further establishing Kadient as a company intently focused on the success of their customers. A Google blog search for Kadient shows these blogs highlighted at the top of the results, adding credibility to any buyer considering Kadient’s solutions. The combined traffic of these blogs was estimated at more than 20,000 regular viewers.

A 37% spike in web traffic to the Kadient site corresponding to this discussion on the blogs highlighted to the Kadient marketing team the importance to their prospective buyers of a company dedicated to continual understanding of the buyers’ needs. Although this was not an effort that generated direct sales leads, the value it provided in awareness and credibility was tremendous, and the cost was essentially zero.
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
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David Meerman Scott said...

Good writeup. Kadient is doing some good things around buyer personas.

Steven Woods said...

David, thanks for dropping in. Great to see your involvement come full circle on this one.

Heather K. Margolis said...

Thanks Steven and David. We've had some fun with the personas and have really embraced them. It is amazing to hear one of our developers say, "no Anya wouldn't use it like that, she's too busy" or "Luke would rather have the coaching and content he needs when he needs it".

Darin said...

Personas is a new concept to me. It sounds like a concept that can be used in all facets of the business process. I'm actually in accoun management but I read up on marketing because I often help clients with aspects of their marketing. Is this mainly a tool to help define your company's typical prospects and customers?

Steven Woods said...

Darin, yes, I've seen personas used in all sorts of aspects of business; product development, sales, marketing, etc. Anywhere where a deep understanding of customer needs, wants, and motivations is key.

Chad H said...

What is the URL for the blog post?

Steven Woods said...

Chad, good point, I missed that. Just chatted with Heather from Kadient, and it's