It’s been said that organizations are drowning in information but starving for knowledge. I think this is especially true for IT decision-makers, who are bombarded with marketing content that does little to help them select technology products and services.
Many B2B marketers have built their content strategy on the “more” model — more content means more engagement which means more progress toward a purchasing decision. However, much of this content simply regurgitates trends and hackneyed advice. It does little to engage B2B buyers in a way that overcomes information overload and guides them toward a successful purchase.
At a recent Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference, Gartner Distinguished Vice President Brent Adamson explained that content strategies should focus on “buyer enablement.” That is defined as the development of content and tools that guide customers through critical buying tasks and help them overcome any challenges they may encounter along the way.
“B2B buyers today will reward suppliers who make the purchase process easier,” said Adamson. “Our research shows that customers who receive helpful information that eases the purchase process are three times as likely to buy the bigger, more expensive option, with less regret.”
Now, simply telling prospects about your product or service isn’t “buyer enablement.” Think about the buying process: recognizing there’s a problem or need, defining requirements, gathering information, evaluating various alternatives and finally making a purchasing decision. You need to provide buyers with content that shows you understand their needs, provides clear and actionable information, establishes value, and builds trust through credibility. Content that informs them of a problem they might not realize they have can be especially valuable.
Developing this kind of content consistently requires that the writer understand the organization’s customers and the industry as a whole. The organization’s sales people are a great source of information — they should know what kinds of problems their customers are facing and what questions they’re asking most frequently. By engaging regularly with the sales team, the writer can develop content that answers the right questions and provides the right level of detail to meet the buyer’s needs. It may even be possible to repurpose existing content that has been successfully used by sales or customer service.
But it’s also important to stay in touch with buying needs and trends across the industry. This helps the writer identify information gaps that can be filled with engaging content. This content should be easy to find and access at every stage of the buying process.
In industries such as IT where customers are struggling with too much information, marketers should focus on providing high-quality content that makes purchasing easier. Stay in tune with buyers’ needs and questions so you can develop content that serves as a roadmap for the buying journey.