Do you know who your customers are? Sure, you know the company names, and, hopefully, the names of those within the company that you deal with. But do you know who they are? Or what they truly want and value from you?

And when you learn that, are you targeting the right messaging to the right people?

Time and again, we’ve seen a strong correlation between companies that are high-performance marketers and those who target their marketing efforts to particular roles or personas within their customers’ organizations. High-performance marketers also target efforts based on the customer segment.

It makes sense. Tailoring marketing and customer support efforts to what a customer cares about or how they prefer to do business with you is far more likely to be effective. Yet, in a recent survey with MDM, we found less than one third of distributors said they market to personas, and 37 percent don’t target their marketing efforts at all.

Part of a customer’s persona is behavior: How often does that customer reorder, or order additional or different product? Are you their first choice, or does the customer turn to you only in an emergency? And do they place orders or contact you through your website, or by phone? Or do they wait until a sales rep calls on them?

If you have implemented a software system that tracks customer orders and interactions, paired with CRM, the answers to those questions may be at your fingertips. And they should offer clues as to what the customer values – and how you should deal with that customer.

Another aspect is who the customer is, both demographically and professionally.

Age, for example, is an important consideration. Generally, what millennials and Gen Z value may be very different from what their Boomer colleagues value. In our research based on surveys of more than 10,000 distributor customers, we found—not surprisingly – that millennials and Gen Z are much more digitally oriented, and more likely to prefer interacting and purchasing online or on smart devices.

An individual’s role within a company may also influence what they value. For example, a purchasing agent may value easy-reorder capabilities while an engineer my not care about that at all, but evaluate you based on the level of technical support you provide.

The benefits to targeting your messaging based on role, persona or segment? The recipient of that message will be much more receptive to what you have to say and more likely to respond and make a purchase. Even a slight increase in purchase rate usually creates a significant return on investment.

Read more in our latest research, State of Marketing, Part 2: Right People, Right Message.