I recently had the opportunity to attend a seminar hosted by NEOSA and COSE. The NEOSA Sales and Marketing SIG: Effective Strategies, Tactics and Best Practices in Content Marketing session was hosted by Erin Provey, the Senior Director of Strategic Communications Management with SiriusDecisions, Inc. She talked about the driving issues and best practices in content marketing today and how we can apply solutions to our companies.
One of the issues that Erin addressed is that many B2B companies create a lot of content that goes unused. An organization may publish ten articles or blog posts that they are interested in, but only one of those resonates with the intended audience. Whether it’s an irrelevant topic, difficult to find, or of poor quality, it all leads to one thing: a waste of time and resources. As Erin went on to explain, the best way to solve this problem is to better understand the lifecycle of a piece of content and address your audience’s questions each step of the way.
The first step towards creating audience-centric content is to identify buyer personas and begin targeting their interests and answering their questions. SiriusDecisions has a Persona Template that they use to start that process and really hone in on what makes each persona tick. At this point, everyone in attendance was asked to fill out a Persona Template for a buyer they would encounter at their own company. This was a great, hands-on way to learn about the process.
Another aspect that Erin introduced was the concept of Buying Cycle Stages. This addressed the idea that although you may have your audience split into personas, those of the same persona may be receptive to different pieces of content depending on what they are looking for. Those readers who are simply exploring their options are looking for different content than those trying to justify a decision. Erin again turned this onto those of us in attendance and asked us to consider different pieces we would produce based on stages of the Buying Cycle. She asked us to consider what phases our company’s buying cycles would include and what questions our buyers are asking. This was a great way to learn about the SiriusDecisions method as well as apply it to our own situations.
The most interesting part for me was when Erin addressed the Demand Spectrum. The SiriusDecisions Demand Spectrum is broken up into three categories: New Paradigm, Established Market and New Concept. Each category requires a different approach to the situation. For New Paradigm, you want to provoke the buyer persona to consider a new approach to a previously solved problem. Those targeting the Established Market category have to compete with other, similar organizations to provide the best possible solution for the customer. The New Concept category is all about evangelizing a solution to a previously unrecognized need or problem. While each of these categories requires a specialized approach, addressing those needs is a crucial part of the content lifecycle.
This marketing seminar was very informational and brought up some important points to consider for our marketing program. It was great to learn some new things that will be helpful for Briteskies as well as gain assurance that we are headed in the right direction with many of our current marketing tactics.