Part 2 in a 3-Part Series on Content Marketing for the B2B Buyer’s Journey
In Part 2 of this 3-Part series, I share the top challenges B2B marketers face when developing Consideration stage content. I also provide tips for overcoming these challenges. In Part 1 I reviewed the Buyer’s Journey and provided tips for conquering challenges in the Awareness stage. The buyer moves into the next stage, Consideration, after clearly defining their problem, or opportunity for improvement, and determining it’s worth finding a solution. Now let’s take a look at the Consideration stage to understand the top challenges B2B marketers face.
Consideration stage buyer activities
The buyer in the Consideration stage first researches and evaluates the different approaches, methods, or solution strategies available for solving their problem or making improvements. The buyer wants to understand and think about which approach best fits their needs, so they are comparing solution strategies (make or buy, hire or outsource are two examples of solution approaches). They also begin comparing specific solutions, vendors, and suppliers within the approach that best fits their needs. They are looking for content that helps them understand the pros and cons of available approaches and why it would be the best fit for them. Content should also begin comparing product/service features and functions. The goal for a content marketer during the Consideration stage is to convince the buyer your solution method is the best fit for them and that your specific solution should be on their short list.
Top 2 content marketing challenges in Consideration stage
Especially for B2B companies, the buyer usually spends more time in the Consideration stage than the awareness stage because they want to devote time to researching to ensure they make the best decision. The content marketer should provide more in-depth information and industry expertise to continue building a trusting relationship with the buyer and reinforcing your brand as a thought leader.
Content that’s most effective speaks to the Personas active in this stage. Active personas are usually the technical and user buyers, but may expand to include management influencers or decision maker buyers, especially toward the end of this stage. If you need help creating Personas read my post, B2B Buyer Personas: 6 Easy Ways to Research & Develop. Content formats are usually medium to long form such as white papers, guides, and webinars to deliver more detailed information.
The top 2 challenges for B2B content marketers in the Consideration stage, lacking in-house capability and time to develop content.
- Lacking Capability: The AMA’s 2017 Marketing Confidence Index revealed that only 43% of marketers are confident that their organization’s marketing team has the right capabilities to be competitive, trending down 6% since January of 2016. Especially for businesses selling complex technical products and services, like software or industrial manufacturing equipment, marketing teams may:
- lack a deep understanding of their prospects’ business
- rely on subject matter experts in departments outside of marketing
- have difficulty translating complex technical information into effective content
And if you can’t develop the right content, then how will you fuel your lead nurture campaigns. Unfortunately, marketing automation software won’t write the content for you, at least not yet!
Read my previous post to learn 3 ways B2B marketing teams can overcome these capability challenges.
- Lacking Time: Most content in the Awareness stage is shorter and about higher level topics. So quite often, marketing teams can create this content themselves. However, the longer form content needed for the Consideration stage requires more time to develop. You need time for interviewing SMEs, researching, writing and the creative design — due to the increased depth and length. If you sell your product or service into many different industries, you need industry specific versions for each content piece. For example, using language, data, and photos that will resonate with each industry. Many B2B marketing teams, especially those in small to medium size companies, don’t have enough time to do this.
Focus first on only the top one or two priority industries. Once you can show results here, then hire vertical marketers who can help you expand into additional high priority industries.
Repurpose Consideration stage content into different formats so you can use it in different channels or appeal to different prospects. For example, create an article or EBook from a webinar or presentation slides.
If you’re overburdened with even a few industries or can’t get approval to expand your team, find a freelance team or agency to work with. Prior to becoming a freelance marketer, I used agencies and freelance writers and designers to get more done quickly. Just make sure they understand your business and your prospects.
From consideration to decision
In the Consideration stage the B2B content marketer is convincing the buyer their solution method is the best fit. You are convincing the buyer that your specific solution should be on their short list. By expanding your marketing team’s capabilities for developing in-depth technical content, focusing on priority industries first, and expanding your in-house team or using outside resources, you can successfully convert more buyers from the Consideration stage of the Buyer’s Journey to the Decision stage, which I’ll discuss in my next blog – Part 3: Tips for Conquering Top Challenges in the Decision Stage.
How has your team been able to develop in-depth, technical content? What’s been most effective for developing industry specific content – in-house or outside resources?