I really enjoyed Stephanie’s recent post on Fiberlink’s content strategy especially in reference to how Fiberlink is mindful of mapping content to a buyer’s stage. My team and I have spent considerable time interviewing IT buyers and running research studies related to this subject. Findings over the years have consistently pointed to how predictably a prospect’s media consumption habits online point to where they are in a buy cycle.
Educational content is particularly effective in what marketers consider awareness stage, solution specific content , validating third party case studies and product collateral are in demand during their consideration phase and content that compares one vendors’ solutions to others is the most popular in end/decision stage for the prospect . Interestingly enough, whereas trial downloads used to be sought out primarily in end stage, our recent studies show they are as popular early stage as well. Primary interviews have revealed that prospects sometimes like to check out the “real deliverable” before they even start considering the vendor.
The most recent complexity we see associated with marketers filing their pipelines with nurturing content is that this type of content needs to be stratified based on the prospect’s most recent activity around a topic and their vertical interests. This of course, necessitates triaging of content streams to address the particular stage, interests and industry orientation of a prospect. Undoubtedly, content streams and management of them continue to evolve.
In our position, working with lots of customers running lead gen campaigns, we find it’s best to lay out a “content matrix” mapped to the ultimate objective of a campaign; the more complex the prospect target goal the more complex the content needed to fulfill on delivering that prospect, especially related to the nurturing aspects of the campaign.