Why Buyer-Centric?

Today’s modern marketers struggle to maximize every piece of content, drive the highest conversion rates possible, increase velocity of opportunities through the sales funnel and of course, drive more revenue. The question is how do top-performing organizations do it? What does it take to significantly increase your conversion rates or increase your revenues quarter over quarter? Is it possible to do this? Really?

The short answer is yes. However…it takes a lot work and it requires a lot more than a new, fancy infographic or ebook to make it happen. The secret is in developing a buyer-centric Demand Generation Strategy. What does that mean? Everything you do as a marketer needs to be about your buyer…from content creation, to choosing which tactics to use to share that content, to building out your nurturing streams to how you structure your teams. Your marketing must allow buyers to choose their individual path and receive the information they need to aide them in their quest for information. And remember, the typical buyer’s journey isn’t linear and it most likely is not what you thought it would be.

I read a great article this week written by Jeffrey Eisenberg called Heros Don’t Play It Safe: A Customer-Centric Case Study on the success Timberland experienced when they became buyer-centric. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to read it and then take a hard look at your current Demand Generation Strategy and evaluate it for its buyer-centricity. Or, lack of it.

Think about two elements when you evaluate your Demand Generation Strategy:

Don’t be afraid to start over:  It’s often a daunting task to think about starting from scratch. When looking at your current Demand Generation Strategy, try to forget all the work that has been done in the past and look at things with a new perspective, a buyer-centric perspective. Conduct a content audit and note where improvements can be made or where there are gaps. Evaluate to see if you are enabling a frictionless-exchange with your buyer.

Do you make it easy for your buyer to obtain the information they want, when they want it? Don’t assume buyers want to talk to you because they downloaded three white papers in one day. Perhaps they just wanted to learn more about your solution and not necessarily to buy from you…yet. Buyer content consumption patterns vary and unless you really know your buyer, you can’t predict their path. Ensure you provide them with a variety of ways to consume content.

Buyer-persona development: Where did you obtain your information about your buyers? Did you conduct interviews of the sales team? Marketing team? What about asking the customers themselves or the customers that got away and your prospects? You can learn great deal about your buyers by asking them. Don’t rely on anecdotes from sales and marketing alone…go to the source. According to the recent ANNUITAS B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Study, less than half of enterprise marketers use buyer personas in demand generation planning. This explains a great deal in terms of why marketers struggle to connect with buyers. Customers and prospects will share information that can lead to buyer insights you never would have dreamed of. Learning about your buyer is one of the most significant steps you can take to become more buyer-centric.

There are many essential elements to becoming more buyer-centric in your marketing, but start by looking at your current strategy with a fresh set of eyes. Be open to change. The change management aspect of becoming more buyer-centric cannot be underestimated – it often takes bold moves to enact real change in an organization. However, begin by evaluating your current Demand Generation Strategy and be open to necessary change. If you are not thinking about your marketing in terms of becoming more buyer-centric, you are at risk of losing your existing customers, and not connecting with your future customers. It’s all about the buyer for successful, best-in-class organizations. It’s time to embrace it.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg Vice President, Marketing for ANNUITAS

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