- Buyers are overwhelmed with content and desire experiences
- Buyer behavior is changing rapidly and requires BIG insights
- Buyers are on a quest to be demand fulfilled
- Buyers are developing complex networks that collaborate
- Buyer decisions models are transforming
This article looks at how buyers are seeking to further their intelligence on challenges and goal achievement and how organizations can model intelligence seeking versus content mapping. (Image by Kenny Madden © All rights reserved)
Buyer Trend: Buyers are seeking to further their intelligence, not read more content
A growing need for existing customers and prospective buyers today is that of furthering their intelligence on how to tackle problems, meet challenges, and accomplish goals. While many may have college degrees or M.B.A.’s today, nothing has prepared them for the avalanche of rapid changes, tumultuous economic conditions on a global scale, and technological advancements on a scale never seen before. These global, economic, technological, and market conditions are changing the very nature of how people search and what they learn. Knowledge and Intelligence Search is becoming more prominent.
The growing surge of content as a strategy and a marketing tactic has resulted in the unintended consequences of content proliferation and a burden on the part of buyers to sort through a continuous stream of messaging in various forms. Messaging has been the dominant practice of marketing as well as sales for decades and despite the new label of content marketing - continues unabated. It is a habit that does not fade easily. Push messaging is clearly still happening through content marketing as one buyer interviewed suggested:
“The amount of incoming emails and information nowadays is just too much. There is just not enough time in the day to go through everything. And frankly, it still amounts to marketing promotions that I just don’t need. Way too busy for that!”
Contributing to this issue is the focus that’s been placed on content mapping. The idea of mapping content to the buying process or the trendy name of buyer’s journey has some inherent built-in problems. First, it suggests we presume to know exactly how buyers navigate decision-making through the prism of just the buying process. As mentioned in my previous article on buyer decision models – not only are decision models changing but so are processes. Buyer decision models and buying processes do not come in generic form. Second, mapping to the generic buying process has actually resulted, in some cases, in a constant stream of content that leave buyers gasping for air on intake. This is especially true when content marketing and content mapping are viewed in the context of sending out more messaging to buyers - with the presumption that they are relevant. Thirdly, there are in-house attempts as well as B2B marketing consultants who offer misguided knowledge of buyer personas as targeted profiles. This very notion embeds push messaging into plans that are created on the premise of content mapping to buyer personas. In many ways this misguidance is exacerbating the problem of content proliferation.
Previously, I had written about the relationship between buyer experience and intelligent engagement. What is happening when buyers find you? While labeled content marketing, the actual information amounts to disguised push messaging and does nothing to further the intelligence that existing customers and prospective buyers seek. Let’s hear from another interviewed buyer:
“Some of the sites I’ve visited can be annoying. What I mean is that I feel like I have to get through so much clutter and steps to even see if the information I am looking for is going to help me.”
Are your inbound efforts filled with clutter? Do they prevent buyers from finding the information they need that furthers their intelligence?
What Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s Do?
These inherent problems however does not devalue mapping to being non-usable. Mapping has value if performed in a different context. That context relates to understanding as well as modeling the intelligence that existing customers and prospective buyers seek. The C-Suite of today can begin to spearhead efforts that are designed to not only model the intelligence sought but how intelligence found navigates through buyer decision models.
The modern C-Suite of today must guide efforts to acquire deep business insights into how companies approach challenges and specific goals. Gaining insight into why they matter and why certain decision models are used over others. The business insights then leading to offering Intelligent Content that supports the buyer decision models in use as opposed to the outmoded approach of mapping push messaging to generic buying process views.
There comes a new responsibility with this approach for C-Suite teams. That responsibility relates to accepting the role of offering learning opportunities that contributes to furthering buyer’s intelligence on how to tackle issues. What C-Suite teams can and must achieve is establishing capabilities and services that invite buyers into a learning experience. As one senior executive interviewed put it:
“We are confronted with new situations every month. Situations we’ve not encountered before. When working with a supplier for example, we want to be able to learn something about how to handle these new situations.”
In the future, organizations will have to take on some resemblance to ongoing education. They will offer unique learning experiences to existing customers and prospective buyers. To do so, more emphasis will be placed on gaining deep business insights that is focused on how to model intelligence as well as learning that address challenges, issues, and goals. Intelligent Content will become an irreplaceable aspect of building trusted relationships with buyers.
The focus on content as a strategy and as a marketing tactic will continue to undoubtedly grow. However, the future of content strategy and content marketing will hinge on adapting to the growing need for intelligence on the part of buyers. Does your existing content strategy translate into an intelligent learning experience?