© Tweeter Linder 2017 – All rights reserved. Photo by iStock.
All digital assets created in a business serve can support your customer decision journeys. With a hidden potential to increase your marketing effectiveness. Where the secret sauce is in both the design of the journey and which assets you map where.
Understanding the context for B2B engagements
Customer engagements for B2B companies are becoming both more complex and more digital. With stronger dependencies between marketing and sales efforts. A reality where you can make the following assumptions
- The number of decision stakeholders on the customer side is growing. creating a need for vendors to enable buying decisions.
- Customers progress along customer decision journeys. Taking incremental decision steps towards the final buying decision.
- Customers expect to learn in each step of the journey. Moving vendors’ engagement focus from selling to teaching and sharing.
- The initial steps in a customer decision journey are digital. Demanding exciting and effective digital assets.
- Different digital content formats play different roles in the different steps. Tune your focus to what you know works best.
- All your assets represent an opportunity to link to the next step along the decision journey.
With this context in mind we can lay out a digital asset strategy for the customer decision journeys you operate with.
Passive browsing for information
Passive information browsing is the first stage in a customer decision journey. The buyer does not yet have an active project defined for a planned buy. Key stakeholders have started to build up their own knowledge about a new opportunity field. Understanding basics before engaging with vendors. This stage is close to 100% digital.
Examples of digital asset types here are
- Main market trends and drivers – creating market momentum.
- Global insights – what is going on outside the market at hand.
- Opportunity overviews – articulated as opportunities for buyers to take action.
- Crucial business contexts – enabling customers to see implications for their business.
Your asset strategy is to develop a strong library of assets supporting the passive browsing. And supporting him/her where you expect them to search for information on their own. Your goal is to secure you are in the mix as a player at this stage.
Active in addressing of critical considerations
Information search move from passive to active in the second stage of the customer decision journey. Individuals are now a team with a joint agenda. Tight deadline exists for the team to deliver towards. Focus have shifted from understanding contexts to outlining critical considerations. Engagements can be digital or a hybrid between digital and face to face.
Examples of digital asset types here are:
- Stakeholder needs – articulation of different pain points for key customer stakeholder groups.
- Strategic choices for customers – outline which strategic decisions your buyer face.
- Jobs to be done for you customers – the job your customer will hire you to get done.
- Metrics for critical business outcomes – bring clarity to improvements expected.
Your asset strategy here is to develop solid material to guide customer choices. In the areas that matters the most for the direction of the purchase. At this stage focused on decisions affecting customer direction. With an indirect impact on vendor preferences. In impact coming from you demonstrating your customer understanding. And less about what you can offer to meet the need.
Choices guiding purchase decisions
The third stage is driving decisions towards a purchase. The buyer and vendors have interacted through two-way communication. Still digital if you have a path to closure along a pure digital journey. Critical challenges in this stage is to enable buyer decisions across diverse stakeholder groups. And making your value propositions stand out as delivering a better value than alternatives.
Examples of assets in this step if the journey are:
- Customer business case insights – supporting customers in building their own business case.
- Your value proposition – – sharp propositions tailored for different opportunities.
- Business model overview – outlining your customers and your business model.
- Why you customer benefits from selecting you – covering both soft and hard factors.
Your asset strategy here must support a mix of digital and face-to-face interactions. Balancing solid customer understanding with clarity of propositions.
Engage on use of products and services
The fourth stage along the journey is about how buyers best can realize the values enabled by your offerings. Learnings from how other customers have used your offerings. This step can either be part of the vendor evaluation process or a step immediately afterwards.
Examples of assets at this stage of the journey are:
- Target end-game – what to expect after completed realization.
- Global best practices – sharing of examples from your best customers.
- Proposed realization steps – how you take customers from as-is towards to-be.
- Offerings towards end-customers – how your customer can serve your customer’s customers.
Your asset strategy focuses around propagating best practices fast. To secure each of your customer can leverage your offerings to their potential. Eliminating the risk of customers not reaching the potential of what you have to offer.
Reinforcing customer satisfaction
The fifth and final stage of the journey is a two-sided coin. Either the tail of the opportunity and hand or step zero for the next opportunity. An area where you want to reinforce made decisions. A build preference for the next opportunity.
Examples of assets in this step are:
- Customer references – who you have supported and outcomes you enabled.
- Market share overviews – for relevant segments and value propositions.
- Quality measures – about your offerings at work.
- Third party opinions – quotes, industry awards etc.
With the objective to secure a long term fruitful relationship. Resulting in new business on a repetitive basis.
Questions to ask yourself
- What are the stages we target in our customer decision journey – focus on what our customers decide in each stage.
- How do our content assets map on customers’ decision journeys today – expect a potential for effectiveness gains.
- What do we have the biggest improvement potential – decision journeys, assets or both.
- What are the vital few assets for each stage – creating a baseline for asset creation.
- Which digital formats should we target for each asset type – tune to the most effective ones in each step.
Additional reading suggestions
- How to succeed in your agile marketing journey [BLOGPOST] – by ClearVoice
- 14 visualizations mapping the B2B Buyer journey [BLOGPOST] – by Komarketing
- Digital Transformation: Visualize your journey, not your rivals [BLOGPOST] – by FICO
- How to unlock your most valuable content marketing asset – Your employees [BLOGPOST] – by Entrepreneurs