Who Are Your B2B Buyers?

Do you know who and where your buyers are? What types of content they consume? What their main pain points are? What industry events they attend?  Where they spend time on the web? Who makes up their buying committees? These sound like simple questions, but the answers hold the keys to developing essential Buyer Insights which are critical to your Demand Generation Strategy.

shutterstock_220397914If you don’t know the answers to these questions, how do know how to solve your buyer’s problems? Not knowing where your buyer consumes content or their preference for content format will significantly hinder your content marketing effectiveness. If you spend a lot of time and resources on social media, and your target buyers rarely have Twitter accounts, you are wasting your time – no matter how great your tweets may be. Your buyers just aren’t on Twitter. Maybe not even LinkedIn…so don’t assume they are. You need to be sure of it. You would be surprised by the number of marketing and sales executives that are not engaged in social media, including LinkedIn.

According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends –North America Study published by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, marketers are not nearly as effective as they need to be when it comes to content marketing effectiveness. Why? Although they continue to invest time and money in content marketing, almost half of those surveyed don’t have a documented strategy. They might have an editorial calendar, or a plan they come up with weekly on the fly, but not a strategy.

Are you one of 48% percent of marketers the study reports that say you have a Content Marketing Strategy, but just haven’t written it down? Come on. This has to be documented in order for it to be effective. You need to spend time and map out the various pieces of content, based on timing, content consumption in the buyer’s journey, not to mention, understanding the strategic level pain points or triggers of your buyer and align it to your content offers.

Before you do anything to improve your Content Marketing Strategy, start with understanding your buyer. You need to do some heavy lifting to accomplish this so prepare yourself.

Start with this short list for your internal and external interviews:

  • Sales (Inside Sales and outside reps)
  • Customer support
  • Marketing
  • Sales Engineers
  • Customer marketing
  • Sales Support
  • Current customers
  • Past customers
  • Lost prospects

Ask your customers what the first step was in their buying process. Ask them who was involved in the process, what issues they were trying to solve, and how long the purchase process took? And don’t stop at customers either. Interview prospects and competitors customers and ask them the same type of open ended questions that will provide you with the necessary Buyer Insights. Ask your teams open ended questions about customers and prospects to understand the questions they are asked during the sales cycle.

Think your customers might not want to talk to you? Give it a try- you will be surprised how many buyers want to share their stories. Your customers will talk to you because they want to help you, help them. After all, in the long run, that is your goal in delivering content, isn’t it? Take the first step to becoming more effective with your Content Marketing Strategy. Understand your buyer – everything about your buyer- and then work on developing a documented, Content Marketing Strategy that aligns to your buyer. Don’t be one of the 48% – aim higher and your revenues will increase as well.

Author: Erika Goldwater, CIPP @erikawg is Director of Marketing for ANNUITAS

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