The Informed Marketer

May 19 2011   1:08PM GMT

The complexity of content mapping

MarilouBarsam Profile: MarilouBarsam

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.

3  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Samuraiwriter
    Re: "Primary interviews have revealed that prospects sometimes like to check out the “real deliverable” before they even start considering the vendor." Is this also happening for network infrastructure hardware? I once knew of a company where the CIO and direct reports were 'invited' to test a leading vendor's desktop video solution. This had its teething problems but soon non-IT peers discovered the new toys and wanted in... the outcome was a large desktop video conferencing roll out and all sorts of behind the scenes heroics from IT as they attempted to deal with quality of service issues over an aging WAN.
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  • Jpennypacker
    Also re: "whereas trial downloads used to be sought out primarily in end stage, our recent studies show they are as popular early stage as well." Are you able to determine whether type or complexity of software make a difference, or the number of competitors in the market? Reason I ask is that folks are really busy, and taking time to download software and learn how to use it well enough to make a buying decision is a lot of effort. If there are lots of competitors, I would think this wouldn't be a great way to compare products. And if the software is complex, I would think you'd want to already be looking to buy before you invested a huge amount of time and effort to make the final jump.
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  • MarilouBarsam
    To Jennypacker's question In most cases the popular interst for trial downloads are for less complex software applications and for downloads that are free for a limited time period. in fact our sponsors cite really strong conversion ratios from trial users to buyers. Feedback from users suggests it is well worth their time to check out a download before writng a check or even recommending a solution, which is why in the research the responses point to users wanting them early stage in their buy cycle.
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