The volume of information available to buyers via the Internet is increasing exponentially. To gain visibility for their products and services marketers must produce ever more relevant and valuable content. But today’s relevance and value has a short shelf life. Once a topic has been raised and discussed, its attraction value diminishes quickly. In addition, when underlying circumstances change – as it does rapidly – that value may disappear entirely. For example, when the economy moves into a stronger growth phase, ideas about cost reduction will lose value compared to say, ideas about business growth.
It’s not that yesterday’s news isn’t interesting – if you didn’t consume relevant information at the time you may still be interested in learning about it in the future. But if you did, the chances you’ll want to revisit it again are small. In other words, to best attract new buyer’s attention, fresh news is needed – regularly. This is the challenge for B2B marketers as their organizations become their own publishers.
The task of B2B marketers is changing too. Communication and influence are vital components of the role, but the imperative now is prospect engagement. Online and anonymously at first and then, as prospects move through their purchase process, increasingly personalized and customized until the lead is considered qualified and ready for sales engagement. However, with the plethora of information resources available to buyers today, generating content which stands out and can also engage is an increasingly difficult challenge.
What approaches can marketers take to overcome these challenges and deliver the qualified leads that sales needs? Here are five ways to help you win (and keep!) your prospect’s attention by consistently delivering relevant content.
- Identify target persona(s) and their influencers – Spend some time getting into your target market’s head by building a persona for a key individual. Among other things, you need to identify what their challenges, pain points, and goals are; what typical roadblocks they encounter; what their buying process is; what they value and what motivates them; and where they seek out information. By going to those same sources, you can not only discover what topics are of interest to them and which questions they may be asking, but you’ll also know where to go to influence the conversation with the insights you’ll develop.
- Monitor and adapt – With a fleshed-out understanding of who you target persona is use these insights, combined with industry research, to help you develop a list of factors that may affect their business. Include on your list items such as competitive threats, new technologies, resource constraints, proposed or pending regulations, and the like. Create alerts and monitor these factors so that you can adapt your content and marketing strategy accordingly.
- Always ask yourself, “So what?” – Having gained insight into your target prospect’s current reality, you’ll need to think through the implications and potential impacts of those combined insights. What does the proverbial Big Picture look like and what might a bit of crystal-ball gazing tell you about how that might change? By identifying the most likely scenarios, you can test the veracity of these ideas in a number of ways. Feedback can be solicited from industry thought leaders, clients, and influencers through community groups, blog posts, etc. Likewise, developing a carefully crafted prospect survey will not only garner you great feedback, but also allow you to surreptitiously place those forward-thinking ideas on your target market’s radar – efficient and effective!
- Influence the influencers and enlighten prospects – Help shape the conversation by sharing your insights and findings with both influencers, as well as existing and prospective clients. Create multiple versions of the same content – white papers, summaries of survey findings, webinars, blog posts, and the like. Different people will want to consume your information from different types of media. Position your content to help prospects minimize negative impacts, while maximizing opportunities likely changes will present. In this way, you can become a go-to trusted source of industry thought leadership.
- Go deep – Use your insightful knowledge of your target market’s needs to reorganize and optimize your marketing approach. Rather than organizing marketing efforts by product or geography, instead align your process with customer segments to continually deepen your understanding of their evolving needs – and then fine tune your process accordingly.
Delivering relevant content requires a vigilant, adaptive and timely process for generating that content. While the process is undoubtedly an involved and comprehensive one, in today’s business context, it’s those who continuously deliver insightful and valuable content, who cut through the information noise to become trusted advisors in their marketplace. And it’s the trusted advisors who have the best chance of being noticed, influencing decisions and engaging with prospects around their needs.
To learn more about prospect surveys and how they help you develop customer insights visit our website (www.simplyDIRECT.com) or download the Kronos Prospect Survey Use Case. Click the button below.
How are you engaging and winning new customers in today’s challenging digital world? Please let us know.