Marketers can sometimes feel pressured to produce a large volume of content without considering what type of content may be most effective and when.
With buyers today better informed, how can Marketing and Sales engage customers before they even know they have a problem – before they reach out to a sales organisation? (See steps in new buyer journey below and opportunity to engage early.)
Consider the case of the owner of a medium size business who relies on various IT infrastructure to keep his company running smoothly.
This Mr B2B potential buyer doesn’t wake up in the morning and decide suddenly that his business needs a new accounting system (the calm point at the left hand side, above.) It often takes a near disaster such as data loss or a security scare to shatter his sense of status quo, and spark his buying journey (the next point after calm.)
These status quo shattering moments occur frequently. Marketing and Sales can listen to when these occur, knowing that these instances would be a good point to reach out to the prospect with a timely, relevant and targeted message.
But the ultimate goal is to be the one doing the status quo shattering. The marketer of the accounting system should develop ‘disruptive customer insights’ and package these up into different marketing and sales collateral. This could be the online publication of whitepapers, blogs and webinars with early engagement keywords to attract buyers in the early stages. It could also be providing Sales with the tools and training they need to deliver these insights, enabling them to shatter the status quo.
Typical thought leadership style of content, which teaches customers about something they could be doing, is not appropriate here.
Disruptive, or “challenger” content deliberately gets the customer to “unlearn” something they already know or believe about the way their business operates. It also needs to be uniquely relevant.
To produce this type of material, marketers need to be investigative and curious, digging deep into their customers’ business challenges. The objective is to provoke the customer out of their comfort zone and focus on the potential cost of inaction.
Aligning sales and marketing
This approach requires Marketing and Sales to work together. The job of B2B marketers is no longer just to generate leads and “throw these over the fence” to Sales. As Sales and Marketing have different perspectives on the same customer situations, collaboration and sharing of ideas between Sales and Marketing is the key to producing the best content.
Although finding unique insights, packaging them up and enabling Sales to deliver them can be challenging, the good news is that the creation of disruptive content typically means that less content is required from marketing teams because of the increased impact of what is published, e.g. in terms of social media shares, reposts and reviews.
Content along the buyer’s journey
Looking at the buyer’s total journey, different types of content can be more appropriate at different times.
But the most effective time is early in the process – status quo shattering. In this way, interruption marketing is not such a bad thing if it means creating disruptive insights.
To read more about content marketing and the new buyer journey, see our whitepaper: The rise of Challenger marketing: 7 guiding principles on how to challenge the customer.