Regardless of the times or the season (or the crisis at hand), content goals remain largely unchanged; marketers still must provide buyers with messaging tailored to the questions and concerns they are having at that particular point in their buying journey. The numbers bear this out: a key to success for 93% of the most effective marketers in Content Marketing Institute’s “B2B Content Marketing 2020 Report” is delivering relevant content when and where a potential buyer is most likely to see it.
Of course, with complex B2B purchases, it’s not just one person but a buying committee with whom you need to communicate. According to Gartner research, the typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves 6 to 10 decision makers. The most successful marketers craft content based not only on where the company is located along the buying journey, but also on the role and function of each member of the buying committee.
What will be the most effective content, for instance, to put in front of your solution’s end user as opposed to a decision maker in the company? Sigmund in sales is not likely to be swayed by the same statistics that piqued the interest of Margo in marketing. For complex B2B purchases, it’s essential to have very different types of content available for different members of the buying committee to see.
Content with an Objective in Mind
Digital intent signals can be used as a pad to launch a well-orchestrated multi-channel campaign that offers something for everyone on the buying committee. Supported, in turn, by content assets with distinct objectives (e.g., to either attract, educate, engage, or sell) placed where they can be found by buyers at different stages.
Education is always a key objective when it comes to your content. It can be tricky, but try not to start selling too soon in the process; always set a good foundation first with targeted content designed to educate. Then, when the time is right, closing should be a more natural consequence of the overall value-based sales process.
Another aspect of the successful content marketer is to always prioritize the informational needs of their audience above their organization’s promotional messaging. You may have created an award-worthy eBook that you’re eager to share, but buyers can be jaded when it comes to lead magnets.
Before you send out that prized piece of content, sketch out the members of the buying committee in your target accounts, their roles and function. Then you can begin to address common questions and known objections that each member is likely to have. You might even create variants on your overall theme and value proposition to appeal to committee members who are operating at different stages of their buying journey.
As a buying committee continues through its journey, each member requires content that connects on a progressively deeper level. What’s required is buyer-focused messaging – the type that results when you build your content to resonate with each detailed persona that you create based on available data.
Tactics Galore in Each Stage
Blogs and podcasts are still a mainstay of the early buying stages (when the objective is to attract followers) and help build brand awareness. When buyers get past this stage, however, they’ll need to see more than just blog content or the type of recorded interviews you put out to the general market.
Moving to the mid-funnel, it’s vital to convey your company’s expertise on the specific topics that different members of the buying committee need to know more about. This is where case studies, webinars, white papers, and all those research reports will help decision makers and influencers become better informed about your solution’s benefits. For end users, the existence of one or more recorded video demos will be more likely to drive interest in your offering.
When the decision stage is reaches the bottom of the funnel, make sure to keep your company in the buyer’s top-of-mind by looking helpful and staying alert to opportunities to answer any lingering questions. Offer a free trial, keep connected over email, and sweeten the pot with introductory discounts or free consults.
Consider placing links to all of your content tracks on a single page of your website, so that every member of the committee can see, at a glance, what questions you address and choose their preferred means of consuming information.
Don’t forget to repurpose your content; turn blog posts into newsletters, make webinars from your white papers, and transcribe your podcasts so you can release them in print as eBooks. Gather the data, distill your messaging, and make sure it all comes together into a unified narrative. As you create content in a diverse range of formats, settle on one appealing theme that makes your content as cohesive as possible across all formats that touch buyers throughout their journey.