Content Matters

Discussing best practices in marketing automation, content marketing, and demand generation
What Will My Prospects Do Next?

A Surprising Analysis of Thousands of Buyers’ Journeys

In a recent study, over 3000 buyers’ journeys were analyzed in detail to determine the optimum mix of content needed to convert prospects to customers. What content will be touched the most, in what order, and by which classes of clients? What was uncovered was quite unexpected.

All 3000 buyers took different paths to becoming customers! No two even touched all the same content. What the researchers were able to uncover, however, was five hubs that all customers had experienced to some degree: WWW, video, print, mobile, and social.

Customers turned to the web for research, so they could better understand their options and make an informed purchase decision. They viewed videos for an overview and improved general understanding, and looked at print materials for detailed specifications and further contemplation. Reviews and opinions were sought through social media and networking, and opportunities further cultivated through on-line and in-person events, like webinars, sales calls, presentations, and trade shows.

And while these five touch points all have some overlap, the underlying motivations for engaging in each hub were consistent across personas, throughout this study. In general, prospects surfed the web to find thought-leadership, interacting with content-filled web pages containing informative articles, persuasive infographics, top-10 lists, web logs, product guides, detailed tech documents, and topic-centric discussion groups. The goal of their research was to facilitate better, more-informed decisions.

Prospects in the study quickly began watching videos. One of the most effective mediums for communicating ideas was storytelling through video content. From high-level concept overviews to hands-on product demonstrations, videos conveyed simple to complex ideas with speed and impact, providing increased clarity and improved retention.

For a deeper dive, printed content marketing materials provided the ability to effectively impart detailed specifications, build brand loyalty, and illustrate return-on-investment. From print advertising and product packaging through branded collateral, printable content was a big piece of the puzzle.

Through on-line forums and social interaction, prospects in the study gained improved understanding and trust by learning from others’ experiences. Content supporting these on-line conversations included user reviews, press and PR, contests and promotions, and general Q&A (via phone and/or e-mail).

Prospects in the study also showed a significant impact in conversion velocity after experiencing content shared in live events like trade shows, webinars, training programs, and product demonstrations.

At a high level, content needs to be created on each hub for every consolidated buyer persona set, and strategically designed to be impactful throughout all stages of the buyers’ journey.

Visibility into performance and impact is needed for live content, for new and upcoming content, and for how content has performed historically. While some content will cross multiple personas, all content needs to be strategically planned and tailored for each identified persona set. This creates a significant challenge, best overcome through the use of strategic content decision-making software that provides a scientific approach to uncovering the optimum content offerings that will have the greatest impact.