When I deliver content marketing workshops one of the first questions I ask is "when was the last time you went to see a customer?" and most (if not all) of the time they never have.
In all honesty, in the 20+ years I spent in corporate B2B marketing roles I didn't often speak to customers either.
As marketers, our role has traditionally been to setup sales for success. Organise the meetings, create content that accelerates pipeline and sometimes support sales to close deals.
However, the buyer journey has gone digital. Marketing is now having to get quite sophisticated in crafting content that speaks to the buyer very early on in their buying process.
If marketers aren't talking to buyers, how do they know what those trigger issues are?
Rather shockingly, this research shows that 36% of B2B marketers believe their organization demonstrates a solid understanding of customer needs, pain points, and desires.
If we (as marketing) are to create digital content for the Awareness stage of the buyer journey, we have to get closer to the customer. We have to speak to them, learn from them and turn those conversations into relevant content.
Gone are the days where we just pump out content to tick a box to tell Google our website is refreshing often enough.
Google has got smart. It looks at quality of content. When people click through from Google do they stay on your website or bounce off? Do they move around your website once they're on it?
All of these signals indicate that brands need to focus less on quantity and more on quality.
Relevance is key when it comes to digital content - know your buyer and build your content strategy.
89% of business decision-makers say thought leadership increases their perception of brand capabilities at the awareness stage. When prospective buyers first search for a solution to a problem, they often don’t know they need a product at all—and certainly don’t know which product. It’s critical for thought leadership and search strategies to focus on business pain points rather than product features. In addition to neglecting the role of awareness within the B2B marketing funnel, many B2B brand communication threads drop off after purchase—but this is the most important time to keep in touch with customers. If B2B marketers want to increase customer lifetime value and cultivate future investments, they need to stay in touch with buyers to help them justify their recent investments, build brand loyalty and ensure proper adoption of the solution.