Moving forward with marketing in a world of uncertainty can be challenging.  Unpredictable pandemics and other events which result in changes to business protocol impact buyers.  Marketers need to be aware of how content is consumed to reach decision-makers and influencers effectively, especially now.  More importantly, strategies will need to adapt to this new world to achieve business goals and objectives.

What’s Hot According to Data

  • eBooks, white papers and guides make up 56 percent of the content market.
  • Webinars are gaining popularity, with trends predicted to continue to remain strong:
    • 76 percent of marketers indicate that webinars drive more leads
    • 80 percent report lower costs per lead
    • End-users will spend an average of 58 minutes watching a webinar.
  • Who consumes the most business-to-business content?
    • Mid-level managers such as senior managers and directors
    • People with hands-on influence
  • The best time to reach the C-suite (CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CMO, etc.) with content is Tuesdays at 10 Eastern Standard Time.
  • 62 percent of businesses with 1,000 employees or less (that generate $499 million or less in revenue) have the most need for content and represent the biggest opportunities for marketing.
  • The most active industries are high tech, education, financial services and hospitals.
  • The most relevant words to use in content titles are guide, compare, protect, motivation, enterprise security, talent management, financial risk, leadership advice, communication, time management, training, marketing, analytics, diversity and automation (1)

Dig Deeper Into Buyer Personas 

Most marketers are familiar with buyer personas: fictional customers based on real data. Buyer personas are used in conjunction with the buyer’s journey. The three stages of the buyer’s journey are awareness, consideration and decision. Marketers can gain great insight into personalizing content by aligning it with the buyer persona and where they are in the buyer’s journey.

There are aspects of each such as affinity marketing and in-market segments that marketers may not have considered before. Affinity marketing targets prospects by analyzing their interests, passions and lifestyle. This offers insight into their identity. In-market segmentation involves consumers who are actively searching and comparing the brand’s products or services. Individuals in this audience have indicated that they are actively searching in a specific category. Marketers should regard in-market segments as exhibiting temporary interest.

If buyer personas have not been recently updated, now is the time to do so.  Buyers are now more concerned about social policies as well as how those translate to real-world customer experiences. Consider factors in buyer personas which relate to social priorities as well as how those may translate to both corporate culture and buying decisions.

Re-evaluate the Content Strategy 

Content strategy is the GPS by which marketers find their way to results. For this reason, they should consistently review and re-evaluate it to ensure it is still effective.

Important questions to ask revolve around critical elements:

  • Does the path for nurturing leads make sense and does it drive advancement through the marketing funnel?
  • Do nurturing content elements have specific goals and are they driving these goals?
  • Do any of the content pieces need to be updated, refreshed or translated into a different format?
  • Do content elements address, translate and mirror our corporate culture in a way that customer experiences are consistent across all channels and departments?

Consider Everyone Involved in the Buying Process 

There is virtually never just a single person at a business who makes purchasing decisions. In fact, typically there are as many as 10 people involved. It is imperative to reach all of these people with relevant marketing content that speaks to their specific, unique pain points and provides solutions. Content should also be directed at different people on the team and specified according to their titles and their roles within the company.

Marketing content should:

  • Be relevant to each individual person involved in the buying process
  • Understand the role of each person in the buying process, their pain points, needs, concerns and questions to give them the right content at the right time
  • Connect each person in the buying process with scenarios, data, experiences, and other people in the organization that are critical and influence their purchasing decisions
  • “Scratch the itch” and get to the heart of their pain points to solve the problem, leaving no question in their mind that the solution presented is the best one

Invest Time to Create High Quality Content 

With company budgets tighter than they have been in many years, hastily created content will be viewed with a more critical eye. It must be high quality to convince decision-makers that the investment in the products or services will be worthwhile.

Equally important is avoiding offensive content. While this tip may sound obvious, some marketers capitalize on uncertain or challenging times by creating content that has shock value. The problem is, using shock value not only offends people, but it also creates a negative image of the brand producing it. It is critical to avoid racial slurs, gender bias, socioeconomic digs, references to sex, promotion of illegal activities.  These may generate attention but prove to be costly errors in judgement.

Navigating content needs in a time of uncertainty can seem precarious, but with careful planning and consistent re-working, businesses can do so with great success.

Uncertain times call for creative thinking. Contact Gavel International to be inspired with solutions that connect and engage your people. 

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SOURCES:

1 NetLine’s 2020 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report for Marketers (May 2020)

Jim Bozzelli