Sunday, August 21, 2011

What It Takes to Make Marketing Content More Compelling

There's no longer any doubt that relevant marketing content is essential for B2B marketing success.  Business buyers are incredibly busy, and they're exposed to hundreds of marketing messages every day.  The only reliable way to cut through the clutter and create meaningful engagement with potential buyers is to provide marketing content that prospects will see as relevant and compelling.

The big question for marketers is, how do we create this kind of content?  We often hear or read that the answer is to customize marketing messages and materials for specific buyers.  But, what kinds of "customization" will actually increase marketing relevance and effectiveness?

There are two proven ways to make marketing content more relevant and compelling.  The first key is to make it easy for prospects to identify with your content.  To do this, you'll need content that's customized to fit the personal and professional characteristics of your potential buyers.  What jobs do your prospects hold?  What kinds of companies do they work for?  What size companies do they work for?  So, for example, if your target prospects are plant managers in small manufacturing companies, you'll need content that's tailored for that kind of buyer.

This kind of content customization increases what I call personal relevance, and it's proven to increase marketing effectiveness.  In research by MarketingSherpa, 82% of business buyers said that marketing content was more valuable when it was targeted to their industry.  Sixty-seven percent of buyers said that marketing content was more valuable when it was targeted to their job function, and 49% said the same for content that was targeted to companies of similar size.

The second way to increase relevance is to create and use marketing content that speaks to issues that have immediate importance to your prospects.  Most B2B buyers move through an identifiable set of buying stages as they make purchase decisions, and the issues that are most important to buyers will change as they move through the buying process.  If your marketing content provides a potential buyer information that's out of sync with his or her decision making process, it's far less likely to capture the buyer's full attention.

The solution is to use marketing messages and materials that are designed for each stage of the buying process.  This kind of content customization enhances what I call situational relevance, and it can provide powerful competitive advantage.  In a recent survey of B2B buyers by DemandGen Report, 93% of respondents said the solution provider they chose supplied ample marketing content to navigate through each phase of the buying process.

A few weeks ago, I published a white paper that describes these two ways to make your marketing content more relevant.  If you'd like a copy of this white paper, send an e-mail to ddodd(at)pointbalance(dot)com.

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