Make your content fit your customer’s frame of mind

Posted: June 2, 2011 in Uncategorized
Buying New Car

Tom Pisello’s thoughts on content marketing and the “buyer’s journey” reminds us, again, that great customer knowledge is the cornerstone of great content for customers. Great content marketing, in other words.

There’s a specific category of content for suspects and prospects that call for careful sorting of the content to present to each at various points along their decision path.  It may not necessarily accelerate the buyer’s journey from kicking the tires to writing the check, but it ensures a better ROI for each individual piece of content. What you make available to each group can effectively nudge them along their way.

In a world where skepticism and frugality reign supreme, knowing which stage your prospect is in will determine whether your carefully crafted content is useful or irrelevant. It can make the difference between material the prospect considers valuable or useless.  As with most things in life, timing is everything.  Note that there is always overlap in groups such as those described below, but Pisello’s rule-of-thumb still applies:

1. Think of the first stage of the journey as the discovery period.  Here, buyers are in fact-gathering mode.  They may have made the decision to purchase something, but not necessarily your thing.  This is the group to which white papers, webcasts, events and diagnostic assessment tools are most useful.

2. In the consideration stage, the buyer is looking to justify the purchase.  This is the decision-making time when specific vendors are put on a short list and their offerings more closely scrutinized and screened.  In this phase the prospect (no longer a “suspect”) may be particularly influenced by your solution case studies, video testimonials and white papers that are less theoretical and more solution-minded.

3. Finally, it’s decision time when the buyer will be most influenced by content that demonstrates the rightness of your value proposition.  They want a compelling answer to the question, “Why is this the right decision for me?”  Any content that reveals ROI will be most appropriate at this stage: interactive business-case tools, feature-function comparisons, value-oriented white papers and total-cost-of-ownership comparison tools.

There are horses for courses.  And there is specific content for specific mindsets.

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