• 3 Keys to Mapping Content to the Buyer’s Journey

    Just the other day, I got an email from a marketing director asking me about technology content consumption trends. He wanted to know what type of assets are the most popular amongst the technology buying community, and what content types work best to engage B2B technology decision makers and drive them through the different stages in the buyer’s journey. First of all, the reason why I believe marketers have had so much trouble wrapping their arms around what content is best to facilitate the Buyer’s Journey is for a couple of reasons:

    • There is a ton of research out there that talks about how different asset types are better at the early stages in the buyer’s journey and others that are better at the later stages in the buyer’s journey. While it is true that a few asset types are better suited at certain stages than others this kind of thinking is rather one dimensional. For example, assets that are more decision validation/business case focused align better with the later stages in the buying process, but if you change the subject matter of the same asset types, they also change the stage they appeal to.
    • If you think about it, the term “Buyer’s Journey” is actually pretty confusing. The term “Buyer’s” assumes that one person actually goes through every single step in what is traditionally known as the purchase process; when in fact the Buyer’s Journey is the process a complex organization goes through when making a purchase decision. Individual personas can be very involved at certain stages, and not involved at all in others, but they are all part of the decision making process. For example, the Economic Buyer traditionally focuses more on business issues and cost justification, but less upon technical requirements. Therefore it stands to reason that the Economic Buyer would be more involved at the beginning and end of the decision making process, not really in the middle.

    So back to the original question, what makes a content asset better suited for certain stages in the buying process than others? Rather how do you decide which stages your assets align with in the buying process.

    Here are 3 key things we recommend looking at:

    1) Length of the Asset: The length/size of an assert needs to correlate with the level of engagement you have had with them before. If the prospect doesn’t know anything about your company or your solution, why should that person take the time out of his or her day to read your 20-page whitepaper? You need to bring them in with something short, punchy, and that quickly grabs their attention.

    2) Subject Matter: If a B2B executive watches a webcast on “What is Virtualization,” it stands to reason that person is earlier on in his or her buying process and just researching. At the same point in time, if a B2B executive downloads a technical brief on “Cost Justification for Virtualization,” then it also stands to reason that he or she is farther down the buying process, and is more than likely trying to get budget approval for a purchase.

    3) Asset Type: If you know certain Executive Types prefer one type of asset to another, try to use those kinds of assets more in the stages those executives get involved. For example, we’ve seen that the more senior level the executive is, the more bi-directional the communication needs to be.

    I’ll expand on these points in the next round. Stay tuned.

    The InformationWeek Business Technology Network and UBM TechWeb Marketing Services deliver integrated marketing campaigns and programs including media solutions, lead and demand generation, events, online communities, content development and custom solutions.

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    1 Comment to “3 Keys to Mapping Content to the Buyer’s Journey”

    1. Kenny Madden Kenny Madden says:

      great post. I engage with 1.6 million IT buyers everyday and this is a very interesting topic. They tend to say, enable me to consume ALL content all the time. I do not have a buying process that aligns nicely in a linear fashion. The key is to have all the content always on. superb post your key points are exactly what vendors should be considering

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