For B2B marketing to succeed, marketers must be able to nurture
their leads with the appropriate marketing content. Tracking visit patterns
such as a prospect’s online activity footprint, number of site visits, content
downloaded, sections visited, knowing whether forms are filled or not, can help
in identifying where he is in the buying cycle at all. This detailed
understanding of the prospect’s behavior is important to send him the right
type of content at the right time.
Buying Cycle and Content Mapping
There are 4 main stages in the buying cycle and the content that
needs to be provided to a prospect is different at every stage.
The ‘Research’ Stage:
This is the first and probably the most important stage where
content can make a great deal of difference. The prospect has taken the first
baby steps acknowledging he has a need and is looking for options. The B2B marketing automation content for lead generation at this stage should address the need expressed. Don’t talk much
about the product, just talk about how the company has a solution to his need.
Content formats recommended here are thought leadership content including
whitepapers, research reports, and interactive content like Webinars.
The ‘Consider’ Stage:
The prospect at this stage knows his need and is considering
various products/ services. He now knows that this particular B2B Company can help
him solve his need, but does not know much about its product. So it’s time to
tell him about it. The marketing content at this stage should talk about the
company’s product and its value proposition and how it can solve the prospect’s
need. The Content formats recommended are product/service oriented content like
features list, data sheet, product videos etc.
The ‘Trial’ Stage
In this stage, the prospect has moved beyond the consideration
phase and wants to try the product to see if it fits his requirements. He
might also want to compare the product features with a competitor’s. It is the
marketer’s responsibility to make it easy for him to make that comparison. The
content strategy at this stage should focus on how he can get the best out of the
marketed product and how it is the best product out there. Content formats
recommended for lead management at
this stage are detailed demos on how to use various features, support documents
to help him navigate easily, pricing and competitor feature comparison charts.
The ‘Buy’ Stage
This could be called the golden stage, where the prospect has
expressed interest in buying the product/service. This is where the marketer
has to assure him that he’s made the right choice and that he can trust the B2B
Company. The content strategy at this stage should be to make the whole buying
process simple. The prospect should opt for the marketed product knowing he’s
gone for the best. Content formats recommended at this stage are customer
testimonials and success stories, special discounts, privacy and product
security related documents.
In lead generation system putting the customer first and
understanding his need at various stages in the buying cycle is the key
in formulating an effective content strategy. Content is a powerful weapon in a
marketer’s arsenal, but it needs to be used at the right time and should
address the right person. Only then, will it be able to make a positive
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