Make Content Experiences the Epicenter of B2B Customer Engagement
B2B buyers engage with brands when the content is in the context of their needs. The quickest way to become unconnected is to shove messages that are irrelevant in the face of target account buyers. Automating sequences of these messages, regardless of how unique the media will do nothing more than scale that irrelevance. As the ABM Consortium stated – Scale is NOT a substitute for intimacy. The timing, needs and interests of each target account are varied and complex. Yet even when successful, challenges persist as buyers interact with brands across channels. Business buyers face a growing pile of vendor content.
McKinsey found that the average B2B buyer researched a considered vendor using an average of 6 channels, and nearly two-thirds of them left the experience upset because it was just too hard to decipher what the vendor actually did and how they solved the problems the buyer was interested in. Each channel operated in a vacuum from the other. Digital advertising is a great example of this type of silo, focused on sending display ads without the benefit of context or coordinated content delivered from other systems. Only 17% of marketers were highly confident about their ability to deliver the right message at the right time to the right prospect or customer in the right way. More fundamentally, only 27% of companies were highly confident in their ability to track the channels their customers are coming from, which suggest that attribution is still a major challenge for many marketers.
If you build it, they will come.
Content assets aren’t a panacea— just because you build it, doesn’t mean buyers will find what you have to say engaging. Knowing why you deliver a message and to whom you send it is the key to high-performance marketing. Nothing performs better than a message that speaks to the needs of a target audience, through any channel. The needs, topics of interest, timing, buyer status, and stage of engagement… all this defines the needs of your target accounts and your ability to influence their decision process. B2B marketers continue to miss the mark when producing content targeting prospects and customers. To give prospects and current customers a better content experience, B2B marketers need to shift their approach before buyers lose interest and patience.
Truly personalized target account engagement starts with real-time insights, each are a piece of the puzzle that describes the needs, areas of interest and stage of buying journey for each target account. Gathered across external sources such as intent data as well as internal like marketing automation response and CRM records, this is the sole driver of successful personalized engagement. The ability to send more messages is a commodity business. Providing more insights isn’t enough. Each target account interaction, response and inquiry, with sales and marketing assets or across the web, is a clue you need to accurately build the puzzle that shows the needs of each target account.
Underpinned by Insights
In order to connect the timing, needs, and stage of buyers’ journey for each target account to the highest value content and most appropriate delivery channel, embracing technologies that provide the control to harness data-driven power is a must. Proper control of messages across channels produces a massive upside for marketing organizations. Forrester reports that 97% of B2B marketers confirmed an increase in revenues by using multichannel marketing. 40% of them also reported better customer satisfaction, lower cost of customer acquisition and better ROI.
Transforming your customer experiences requires not only response to an organization’s intent with the right level of engagement, but the right allocation of resources to convert them to pipeline. Buyers’ expectations have evolved, it’s time marketing content does too. All too often, B2B marketers utilize one-size-fits-all messaging to reach prospects. But a key component of experience-centric content is creating and narrating to each decision-maker as an individual. B2B marketers should aspire to embed customer-led strategies at all points of the content life cycle.
More Than Just Copy
Creating meaningful content experiences isn’t about you, your product, or your company — it’s about the customer. The relationships established with prospective and existing buyers is reliant on the marketing content you create and the more engaging your content, the more likely it’ll connect. When sales and marketing align, sales partners can continue the conversations started through engaging, accessible, and empathetic marketing content, leading you closer to developing B2B relationships that stand the test of time. Despite delusions to the contrary, emotion plays a significant role in B2B decision-making. It’s nearly impossible for businesses to build sustainable, honest relationships with customers without conviction. As you continue to devise your B2B content marketing strategy, building meaningful content experiences and relationships should be the overarching objective.