SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Gary Arora

Blog Feed Post

Design B2B Marketing Content in Pursuit of Inquiry

502867777

In writing my new book, Digital Relevance, I spent a lot of time thinking about how a digital approach changes a lot of things, including the opportunity we have to become more relevant to our audiences.

An obvious line of thought, given the title of the book, right?

But here's the thing. Most marketers have gotten so tied around the axle about wanting their content to perform from an audience perspective that they've not given much thought to how it can perform as an inquiry to improve that very relevance and engagement that they're after.

The big question to answer is - What is my content designed to help me - as a marketer - learn about those who engage with it?

What I see mostly is the assumptive stuff based on format, such as:

  • If the audience engages with an ROI calculator or views a demo they're late stage
  • If they complete a form they may be a "lead"
  • If they attend a webinar they're in the evaluation stage

But, how do you know? Because someone said so? Hmm.

We need to be better than this. We need to develop a rousing curiosity about what our audiences are interested in and what engaging with a specific piece of content could mean to them.

Based on the information in the content, not the packaging.

Content must be designed to have mutual value. It must deliver something your audience cares about AND it must deliver an answer to a line of inquiry that can help you improve relevance in a way that leads to additional engagement.

Part of the issue with this is that, as marketers, we're conditioned to think in a perspective based on one-to-many rather than one-to-one. I'm not saying that we yet have the tools or skills to excel at the latter, but I do think we have a huge opportunity to move in that direction. We may as well start now, because that's what's coming.

Think about nurturing for a moment. The point of nurturing is to create continuous engagement based on enticing prospects to take steps toward purchase over the course of their buying process.

This doesn't mean sending out an email with a link to your latest blog post every two weeks.

It means unfolding a story that creates curiosity and anticipation for what's next in the journey to solve the problem on their plates - aligned to their perspective (persona).

So what can you learn if you design your content both to serve prospects and as an inquiry?

Start simply by considering how the dots can be connected to reveal insights you can act upon to find improvements.

For exmaple, if they read A, what's the propensity for them to read B? Or do more of them skip right to F? If they do skip to F then perhaps your content is out of order for how the problem presents to them. Perhaps a change to the way you connect your storyline would improve response and next steps.

As another example, let's get to the meat of the content. Let's say someone reads a content article about determining whether to build or buy the solution to a problem and they share the content with their colleagues. What can you learn? Obviously, if you're selling the "built" version, the slant of the content would be toward that choice.

So could you discern that the person who forwarded the content is trying to convince others involved in the decision that buying is the better option? Or, is that too much of a leap and maybe the group is still wrestling to answer that internal question? If you have a "see also" about how to make that choice and the person also clicks to read that, you may have an answer.

But, more importantly, what you also learn is that where they are in the buying process. They're still considering whether or not to move forward with buying as a means to solve their problem. Until that question is answered, they won't move forward. They are early stage. Does that tell you how to move forward with engaging them? It should.

However, if you're only looking at the format or the number of content assets they've engaged with, you really have no idea about what stage they're in or what they truly care about. The content of the content is what can tell you. If you design it in pursuit of inquiry. The way in which you connect the content about a topic together can also tell you which way they're leaning.

What does your content and the way you share it help you to learn about your audience?

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

Latest Stories
Moving to Azure is the path to digital transformation, but not every journey is effective. Organizations that start with a cohesive, well-planned migration strategy can avoid common mistakes and stay a step ahead of the competition. Learn from Atmosera CEO, Jon Thomsen about the opportunities and challenges found in three pivotal phases of the journey to the cloud: Evaluation and Architecting, Migration and Management, and Optimization & Innovation. In each phase, there are distinct insights tha...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science" is responsible for guiding the technology strategy within Hitachi Vantara for IoT and Analytics. Bill brings a balanced business-technology approach that focuses on business outcomes to drive data, analytics and technology decisions that underpin an organization's digital transformation strategy. Bill has a very impressive background which includes ...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
While a hybrid cloud can ease that transition, designing and deploy that hybrid cloud still offers challenges for organizations concerned about lack of available cloud skillsets within their organization. Managed service providers offer a unique opportunity to fill those gaps and get organizations of all sizes on a hybrid cloud that meets their comfort level, while delivering enhanced benefits for cost, efficiency, agility, mobility, and elasticity.
On-premise or off, you have powerful tools available to maximize the value of your infrastructure and you demand more visibility and operational control. Fortunately, data center management tools keep a vigil on memory contestation, power, thermal consumption, server health, and utilization, allowing better control no matter your cloud's shape. In this session, learn how Intel software tools enable real-time monitoring and precise management to lower operational costs and optimize infrastructure...
Most organizations are awash today in data and IT systems, yet they're still struggling mightily to use these invaluable assets to meet the rising demand for new digital solutions and customer experiences that drive innovation and growth. What's lacking are potent and effective ways to rapidly combine together on-premises IT and the numerous commercial clouds that the average organization has in place today into effective new business solutions. New research shows that delivering on multicloud e...
Cloud is the motor for innovation and digital transformation. CIOs will run 25% of total application workloads in the cloud by the end of 2018, based on recent Morgan Stanley report. Having the right enterprise cloud strategy in place, often in a multi cloud environment, also helps companies become a more intelligent business. Companies that master this path have something in common: they create a culture of continuous innovation. In his presentation, Dilipkumar Khandelwal outlined the latest...
Data center, on-premise, public-cloud, private-cloud, multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, IoT, AI, edge, SaaS, PaaS... it's an availability, security, performance and integration nightmare even for the best of the best IT experts. Organizations realize the tremendous benefits of everything the digital transformation has to offer. Cloud adoption rates are increasing significantly, and IT budgets are morphing to follow suit. But distributing applications and infrastructure around increases risk, introdu...
DevOps has long focused on reinventing the SDLC (e.g. with CI/CD, ARA, pipeline automation etc.), while reinvention of IT Ops has lagged. However, new approaches like Site Reliability Engineering, Observability, Containerization, Operations Analytics, and ML/AI are driving a resurgence of IT Ops. In this session our expert panel will focus on how these new ideas are [putting the Ops back in DevOps orbringing modern IT Ops to DevOps].
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
FinTech is a disruptive innovation that denotes the adoption of technologies that have changed how traditional financial services work. While FinTech is now embedded deeply into the financial services ecosystem, the rise of digital age has paved way to FinTech 2.0 - which is rolling out innovative solutions through emerging technologies at a disruptive pace while maintaining the tenets of security and compliances. Blockchain as a technology has started seeing pilot adoption in FinTech around ...
On-premise or off, you have powerful tools available to maximize the value of your infrastructure and you demand more visibility and operational control. Fortunately, data center management tools keep a vigil on memory contestation, power, thermal consumption, server health, and utilization, allowing better control no matter your cloud's shape. In this session, learn how Intel software tools enable real-time monitoring and precise management to lower operational costs and optimize infrastructure...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...