• Bob and I here to talk about how you can use content throughout the stages of the purchase process.• I’m Doug Kessler a founder and creative director of Velocity, the B2B content marketing agency here in London.• Before we dig in, I wanted to talk about the language we marketers use when talking about this stuff
• Specifically, about TWO Metaphors – that shape the way a lot of marketers think• They’re both useful metaphors – they help describe abstract ideas and make them real•But like a lot of metaphors, they also distort and mislead– which really does change our behaviours if we’re not careful
• The two defining metaphors of B2B marketing:The Funnel and The Purchase Journey •Both metaphors are useful– they throw light on our world -- and I use them all the time • But both are DANGEROUSLY misleading– and you can actually see bad marketing that suffers from a BELIEF in these metaphors
ª First, let’s Take the Funnel – USEFUL: there are a lot more humans than there are buyers of your products Only a few take the first step… Only a few of THEM take the SECOND step… That’s why the FUNNEL is so resilient a metaphor…•But a real world funnel – 2 CRITICAL things that the buying process doesn’t.• And it’s not just semantics – they lead to DANGEROUS ASSUMPTIONS and bad marketing.How is the real world funnel different from the metaphorical marketing one?
• First, It has gravity – A real funnel benefits from a force that impels the things in it down towards the hole at the bottom. Do nothing and everything that goes in the top will eventually drip out the bottom. Magic. • Clearly NOT true of the buying process.The prospects you put in at the top are NOT magically sucked down to the bottom and into the laps of your salespeople.• The second metaphor breakdown: A real world funnel has hard sides.Stuff that comes in can only leak out in one place – the hole at the bottom.
• Marketing funnels couldn’t be further from this.It’s not just that SOME of the stuff that goes into the top of the funnel leaks out the sides • The leakage out the sides of FAR exceed the stuff that actually makes it out the bottom.
Who cares? It’s just a metaphor.Well it does matter because marketers really do behave as if they have the benefit of gravityand hard sides…• As if we can keep prospects confined until wedump them at the feet of our sales animals. • Funnel: nice metaphor; nice image; but we need to be careful. Today, Bob will show you a much more nuanced way to think about B2B marketing buying process.
• Second metaphor: The Purchase Journey.USEFUL: every buyer started out far away from our purchase orders and ended up holding one in their hands. Far: Near. See? It’s a JOURNEY. • No.In real world journeys, the traveler sets out with the destination in his or her mind. They make an effort to arrive – sometimes a massive effortPurchase processes don’t really work like this at all.• Thejourney taken by those who bought from you is only a journey in retrospect. They did NOT head out with the intention of buying from you. MOST of the steps they took were NOT taken with the intention of moving closer.
• A real purchase journey is just stumbling around in the dark, groping for things.Eventually some stumbles over something on the floor that made them pause.That thing was you.• Many of these stumblers ignored that lump on the floor and stumbled on. A few poked it with their toes.Most then stumbled on.A few of the ones who stayed lifted the edge…A few of THOSE turned on the lights… •Statistic: 70% of most purchase processes are completed BEFORE anyone contacts one of your salespeople. SEVENTY PERCENT..And remember: most of the people who even got in touch stumbled off and forgot all about that interaction.
• You can call this chaotic stumbling and groping and probing and advancing and retreating many things. But a journey?• No. In a journey, Mom & Dad pack the bags and put them in the boot and get the car seats all secured and the kids peed. And Mom takes the directions and the maps and Dad takes the wheel and the thermos. And you tick off all the milestones along the way until you arrive.That’s a journey.• If you market as if your prospects have packed a lunch to sustain them on their road to you… your marketing will suck.And most marketing does assume this. And most marketing sucks.
Because MOST marketers still actually do their jobs as if their prospects are on the Mom & Pop & Thermos kind of journey when they’re really on a stumble and grope and poke experience.And they still market as if pouring enough prospects into the top of their funnels will result in more coming out the bottom.And it just doesn’t work that way any more. Content marketing is about recognizing that funnels are funnels; journeys are journeys; but buying decision processes are far less structured, motivated and intent-driven.It’s also about taking steps to replace the gravity force (with content) and to re-capture the stuff that pours out the sides (with nurturing and more content). Content marketing is also about getting all those stumblers out there to willingly take off their blindfolds and let us lead them to the light.So let’s suspend the metaphors for a bit -- Bob is going look at the dynamics of a real-world B2B buying decision process – and I’ll be back to show some examples of how you can map content to these stages.
THANK DOUG | BUILD ON DOUG’S FLAWED METAPHORS | THROW IN A BOSTON MATRIX AND A JOURNEY INTO ZEN
THERE WAS A TIME | NO RESPECTABLE CONSULTANT | WOULD PRESENT WITHOUT A BOSTON MATRIXBUILDING ON DOUG’S CONCERNS ABOUT BUYING PROCESSES NOT BEING LINEAR JOURNEYSWANT TO SUGGEST THAT BUYING JOURNEYS NEED TO BE LOOKED AT IN CONTEXT OF TWO AXES: GOALS AND PROCESSI’LL EXPLAIN WHAT I MEAN
WHEN YOUR PROSPECT HAS A CLEAR GOAL AND A CLEAR BUYING PROCESS, PAINT BY NUMBERSKNOW WHAT THEY WANT, AND HOW THEY ARE GOING TO ACHIEVE ITVERY LITTLE SCOPE TO ADD VALUE – UNLESS YOU CAN CHANGE THEIR PERSPECTIVE
AT THE OPPOSITE EXTREME, (POORLY DEFINED GOALS AND PROCESS) PROSPECT IS LOST IN THE FOGTHEY NEED YOUR HELPTREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY TO ADD VALUE
IN BETWEEN THESE TWO EXTREMESIF THEY HAVE CLEAR GOALS BUT DON’T KNOW HOW TO ACHIEVE THEM, ON A QUEST
THIS IS WHAT MAKES PROCUREMENT-LED SALES SO FRUSTRATINGPARTICULARLY IF YOU CAN’T INFLUENCE THEIR GOALS
SO – WHICH JOURNEY IS EACH OF YOUR CUSTOMERS ON?AND HOW DO YOU NEED TO ADAPT?ADVANCE
OUTLINE THE FOUR OPTIONSCONTENT AND CONVERSATION ARE THE ESSENTIAL FOUNDATIONS
FIRST TO ADMIT, I’M A BIT OF AN AMATEUR WHEN IT COMES TO ZENHOPE MY STUMBLING APPROACH DOESN’T LEAD TO ATTACK OF BAD KARMA
THEN AT THE END, THERE IS NO PROBLEMSOLVED OR GONE AWAY, OR NEVER THERE IN FIRST PLACE
WHAT ARE THE NATURE OF THESE PROBLEMS?
SO LET’S SEE HOW THIS WOBBLY PILE OF STONES GETS BUILTAT FIRST
THEN: SOMETHING HAPPENSTHE TRIGGER EVENT
BUT THEY ARE TYPICALLY NOT YET READY TO BUY
STILL NOT YET READY TO BUY
STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BUY
STILL MAKING CHOICES
STILL NOT COMMITTED
EVEN WHEN YOU’RE SELECTED
PROBLEM DOESN’T GO AWAY ONCE THE SALES IS MADE
NOT COMPLETE UNTIL
SO:AND HOW CAN YOU TELL?
Okay – mapping your content to specific buying stages…It sounds easy, but if you think about it..You first have to answer a question…
How do you know what stage they’re in?Search terms“What is social customer service?” indicates a much earlier stage than “Service Cloud pricing”In general branded search terms are later stages than generic ones. So the content you surface is differentSocial Media Activity – What people share or like or retweet.Trends help you see what stage most of the market is inBut much more important than these is:The content they chooseThis is your killer signal to where people are in the buying process.BUT ONLY if your content itself signals what stage buyer it’s for.
So okay – you decide to target prospects in the earliest stages.When, as Bob pointed out, people are looking to figure out what’s happening out there and what are the implications?What should content look like here?[read the slide]
Salesforce.com is known for their Sales Cloud CRM product.Everybody uses it.They WANT to be known as the company that can help businesses of all sizes harness the power of social media.Right now, most of the world is somewhere between the first and second of Bob’s buying stages: they’ve heard of social media – maybe they have a Facebook page or twitter account – and they know they could be doing more with social media.So the brief: forget about flogging products and help businesses learn more about the power of social media.So we narrowed the target audience to small & medium-sized business in the early stages of the purchase process.
Once we had that target, the questions were simple:
The answer:a content-richmicrositeSalesforce Social Success – the first major inbound marketing effort by Salesforce over here in Europe.The site is packed with thought leadership and best-practice content about using social media in sales, marketing, customer service and collaboration.
One typical early-stage exampleThe Anatomy of a Social-Powered Customer Service Win.It’s early days for social customer service, so we decided to take people through a typical case, from a customer complaining on twitter to the resolution – just to show businesses all the things that can be done if you’ve got the right tools.We could have made this a demo of Salesforce products like Service Cloud and Radian 6 and Chatter – but it’s an early stage piece, so we kept the tools used in the story generic and just finished with‘brought to you by the people who do these cool things…”
The Social Success site leverages the three most powerful tools for addressing the new B2B purchase process:Search – 90% of purchases start with one; if you want to be discovered, you’ve got to rank on key terms.Social – Buyers are engaging in social channels way before they contact any of your salespeople.And Outbound – which is out of fashion right now but still a major part of your marketing mix – and we believe set to make a big comeback.Now what holds these three pieces together?
Content – it’s at the very heart of all three disciplines.It’s what makes you rank on Google.It gives you something to contribute to social channels.And it’s the soft offer that’s absolutely essential to all outbound marketing – whether email campaigns, PPC or banner ads…
And that’s why we put such a premium on great content for the Social Success Site.The good news: finding the expertise within Salesforce was not a problem: the place is crawling with brilliant people who live and breathe social media.Our challenge was to harvest that expertise to address the things that prospects care about – remember they don’t care about CRM or Radian6 yet – they care about sales, marketing ROI, delighting customers, driving down the cost of service… stuff like that.
Types of contentBig, original pieces – like the eBooks, mini-Guides, Infographics…Curated pieces – resource roundups – links to great content around the webCollaborative pieces - like Expert interviews and multi-expert piecesLegacy pieces – Dreamforce Takeaways
Before we leave the early stage examples, I wanted to talk about trigger events.A trigger event is something that happens inside the prospect company to make them ripe for messages surrounding your offer.Quick example:Camwood is a consulting company that helps big enterprises manage and migrate their application estates.A great trigger event for them: anyone looking to jump to Windows 7 or Internet Explorer 8.So: these eBooks did the trick….
Now on to the middle stages – where content can really start to work hard to progress people into sales-ready leads.What does content have to do here?
Any kind of content can help you in the middle buying stages – we do tons of video here (including interviews, chalk talks & whiteboard videos).But for Velocity, the engine room of the middle stages is still the eBook – -- 10-30 page, generally landscape format pieces -- that take a specific topic within your world and teach the buyer how to think about that topic – This is about EDUCATION[read the titles]
Another client,Marketo, has TONS of this meaty content for people ready to drill down and educate themselves.These Definitive Guides (which we help with) are good examples.They can be 50 or 70 pages and they’re PACKED with detailed, best-practice advice.You can’t leave one of these without knowing lots more about the subject AND knowing that Marketo are undisputed experts in the field.
But sometimes you can have so much content, it’s hard to know where to start.Marketo can suffer from that.This brings up a new discipline: LIBRARY MARKETINGAnd a useful kind of content for this is what we call Index Content – because it acts like an index to other pieces
Here’s an example:For Marketo\\s recent Revenue Rockstar event in London, we created a fun piece called Dr Marketo’s Cabinet of Curiously Mechanical Marketing Machines…A collection of fictional Victorian marketing contraptions… using archive engravings and period style advertising copyThe idea: have some fun, connect Marketo with this imaginary history of marketing automation…And point people to content that might otherwise be a bit buried in the Marketo library.So it’s an Index piece because one of its main purposes is to cross-promote other content.
One example: The Mesmeric Lead Nurturator“A novel and pleasant mode of administering and progressing sales leads form initial contact to successful and mutually agreeable revenue realization”And the key part: the pointer to the Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing available on the Marketo site.
Another type of content that can be really effective in the middle purchase stages is the Rant.An example Velocity’s own B2B Marketing Manifesto, which we published last year.This is an example of psychographic targeting.The idea: we realised that we do our best work for confident, ambitious marketers who really want to own the revenue pipeline.So we developed a piece that spoke just to them.It’s kind of brash and in-your-face.Old-school, traditional marketers probably won’t like it – and that’s exactly the idea.Because our kind of marketer would like the Manifesto – and if they came forward we’d know we’d do great work for them.And that’s exactly how it worked… [results: great projects for fantastic clients (including Salesforce)
Okay – running out of time.A quick look at content for the later stages of the purchase process.What does content need to do here?…
It doesn’t have to be glamorous.Here are two blog posts that target later stage prospects:How to Build a Content Marketing Team on our own blog.And a guest blog for Econsultancy: 17 Tips for Choosing a B2B Content Marketing Agency.Simple, easily discoverable content for marketers ready to get serious about content marketing.
Last example.A lot of people think content marketing stops when the lead is passed over to sales.Here’s a piece that was used MUCH later, in support of a major pitch by Eircom Wholesale in Ireland.It uses everything Eircom had learned during the pitch process and puts it into a personalized piece, from the top people on the pitch team. Reflecting the things they knew to be most important to the customer…So a super-late-stage piece of content that’s designed to use what you know.Okay – I could go on with examples for the rest of the day but it’s time for Bob to wrap things up…
Aligning Content to the B2B Buyer's Journey
ALIGNING CONTENTTO THE B2BBUYER’S JOURNEYBobApollo DougKessler
First there is no problemThen there is a problemThen there is no problem
The Nature of ProblemsA Pain that must be relievedA Goal that must be achievedAn Opportunity that must be realised
The BuyingDecision Process• The B2B buying decision processis a cognitive journey• The destination is not always obviousfrom the start• Your prospects pass through severallevels of enlightenment along the way• At each stage, they can choose to moveforward, to stay where they are, to retracetheir steps or to abandon the journey• The things they need to know – and thequestions they ask – evolve as they movefrom stage to stage• Your content must adapt and evolvewith them if you are to help leadthem towards the right destination
Satisfied withStatus Quo• Passively absorbing informationThe current stateof most of yourpotential prospects
• What just happened to us?• Passively absorbing informationSomethingHappensThe key jumping-offpoint in their buyingdecision process
• What impact is it having?• What just happened to us?• Passively absorbing informationExploringImplicationsNot yet surewhether the issuejustifies their attention
• What can / should we do about it?• What impact is it having?• What just happened to us?• Passively absorbing informationResearchingSolutionsWhat options mightbe open to them?Can they afford them?
• What would a good solution look like?• What can / should we do about it?• What impact is it having?• What just happened to us?• Passively absorbing informationEstablishingCriteriaHow should wego about choosingbetween options
• What’s the best solution for us?• What would a good solution look like?• What can / should we do about it?• What impact is it having?• What just happened to us?• Passively absorbing informationSelecting theBest OptionWhich of the availableoptions is going tobe the best for us?
• What’s the best deal we can negotiate?• What’s the best solution for us?• What would a good solution look like?• What can / should we do about it?• What impact is it having?• What just happened to us?• Passively absorbing informationNegotiatingthe Best DealHow can we securethe best possibleterms and conditions?
Securing FinalApproval• How can we get this approved?• What’s the best deal we can negotiate?• What’s the best solution for us?• What would a good solution look like?• What can / should we do about it?• What impact is it having?• What just happened to us?• Passively absorbing informationHow can we build thebest possible internalbusiness case?
• How can we get this implemented?• How can we get this approved?• What’s the best deal we can negotiate?• What’s the best solution for us?• What would a good solution look like?• What can / should we do about it?• What impact is it having?• What just happened to us?• Passively absorbing informationImplementingthe SolutionHow can we ensurethat the projectgoals are achieved?
• Have we actually solved the problem?• How can we get this implemented?• How can we get this approved?• What’s the best deal we can negotiate?• What’s the best solution for us?• What would a good solution look like?• What can / should we do about it?• What impact is it having?• What just happened to us?• Passively absorbing informationResolutionAre we readyto Advocatethe Vendor?
Your Prospect’sEvolving PrioritiesREFERENCEABILITYCERTAINTYCONFIDENCECRITERIACAPABILITYCURIOSITY
Your GoalOffer relevant contentand conversation thatsupports each stageof their buying decisionprocess and thatpersuades them totake the next step intheir buying journeywith you.
Guiding PrinciplesEnable the buyer toconvince themselvesShow why you’re differentbefore proving how you’re betterPromote your approach beforeyou sell your solutionExplore the problem beforeyou promote your approachFocus on the problemsyou’re best at solvingEducate before you sell
How do you know whatstage people are in?• The search terms they use• Social media activity• The content they choose
Early stagecontent• Sell the problem (or the opportunity)• Plant the idea that it’s easily addressed• Show that others are doing so right now• Prove that you know a hell of a lot about it• Show you’re a company they’ll enjoyengaging with
Meeting the buyer’sinformation needs• What do our prospects care about?• How can we harvest our expertise to help?• How can we get this content to market now?
Top of the Funnel:Salesforce.com Social Success content site
Middle stagecontent• Move from evangelisingto differentiating yourself• Start answering ‘how’ as well as ‘why’• Start building credibility• Emphasise the ease of change• Use cross-promotion to advanceeach engagement• Find out more about the prospect• Use ‘index content’ to help guide buyersto the right content
A few things to think about What do your buyers’ journeys look like? What are the key trigger events? How can you tell what stage they’re in? Where does each piece of content fit? How are you measuring the impact? Where are the gaps? How are you planning to fill them? How are you cross-promoting your content?
Before you create any new content… Who am I writing this for?Don’t forget the Psychographics! What are they thinking about? What do I want them to think? What do I want them to do? How can I ensure this piece of content stands out? How does this relate to my other content? How am I going to measure success?
When these principles really matter When you’re thinking about investing in MarketingAutomation for the first time When you’re wondering why your existing investmentin Marketing Automation isn’t paying off When you want to be something more – somethingbetter – than just another content machine When you’re determined to curate your content as wellas creating it When you want your content to work When you want your content to matter