One of the benefits of living in a Boston suburb is that you meet smart people wherever you go. Even on the neighborhood soccer field – where I share cheering duties with Frank Cutitta, the General Manager of IDG Connect. Our talented daughters are on the same team.
IDG Connect is an “information technology resource for the latest research and product information in the IT Industry. The library includes technical white papers, webcasts, podcasts, case studies and product information.” And more to the point, Frank is always smiling. Yes, even nowadays, through the gyrations of the stock market and all that.
According to Frank, what IDG figured out is how to help marketers meet the expectations of prospects who are seeking various levels and types of information, about industries and products.
“You need to understand the buyer’s precise knowledge needs. What does your buyer expect at each stage of the purchase process?” Frank explains. “Once you know that, you can optimize content in the best format to match the buyer’s learning style.”
In other words, you may need to create a white paper and/or a podcast and/or a videoblog and/or a webcast of the same content because different types of prospects will have different engagement preferences.
It all starts with a “content asset audit.” With an average tenure of just under two years, most corporate marketing executives can’t even find most of the content on file at the corporation, much less map it to a strategy. Think, “random acts of content.”
“Once content assets are cataloged, marketers need to map assets into a sequential lead nurturing ‘curriculum,’ i.e., moving prospects through a series of content-focused engagements – each of which signify a higher degree of complexity/value and a closer proximity to sale,” Frank notes.
Here’s an example of that “sequential lead nurturing” … Rather than create a 45-minute webcast (zzzz), why not create smaller content bundles delivered in “chapters?” A 2-minute introductory webcast can lead to the prospect to “graduate” to a more in-depth 10-minute video demo or a slideshow, and so on… Each request for the “next in the series” signals additional movement through the sales funnel, and can be tracked accordingly (which videos work best? which are responsible for the most drop-offs?).
Let’s get tactical.
Say you head up marketing for a CAD/CAM software maker. Various types of buyer types (and purchase influencers) come to mind: design engineers, CTOs, CEOs, pencil-pushers from purchasing, etc.
What content marketing strategy can you employ to meet the highly variable information needs of these audiences, across different stages of the purchase process?
Well, design engineers and CTOs are a technical audience, right? They are likely going to want to see white papers and demo-style webcasts. But, these folks are also on-the-go and of many different industries, so you might also want to develop a podcast series that literally talks them through your product demo, in chapters that synch-up to the prospects’ needs. You can also “verticalize” the content, by making tweaks that speak to specific industries. Spice it all up by asking a couple of customers to submit to interviews that you can splice into the dry stuff.
Now, you’ve got those customer interviews on-hand, and you realize that CEOs and Purchasing execs who don’t understand what your product does will still appreciate assurances of your product quality, viability and customer support! If you’ve got those customer interviews on video, these snippets can become part of a vlog; they can be emailed by salespeople during the courtship; etc.
And if part of your strategy does include white papers and other text-based content, be sure to offer both prettified PDFs as well as “atomized” HTML versions. The former can be printed or forwarded to old-school executives, whereas the “atomized” version ensures that bloggers and/or prospects can point their readers and colleagues to specific datapoints that help them make the case for your CAD/CAM solution.
The right content delivered to the right people, at the right spot in the sales cycle. Sounds so simple, right?
Posted on: October 30, 2008 at 8:53 pm By Todd Defren