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Most companies are struggling with digital transformation. According to a recent study by Forrester commissioned by Accenture Interactive, while 62% of businesses plan to improve the online customer experience this year, only 26% of organizations are completely ready to execute digital strategies operationally. When speaking with my fellow marketing executives, I see the same challenges over and over: campaigns that are productcentric and deployed manually, channels that are managed in silos, and poor data and analytics, just to name a few. I can certainly relate. When I started leading marketing at PR Newswire over two years ago, we faced the same issues. What we needed was a radically different go-to-market approach. By thinking holistically in respect to content, people, processes, technology and data, we implemented a buyer-centric, integrated digital marketing framework that engages, nurtures and converts buyers across the entire lifecycle. You can use these seven steps to accelerate your digital marketing transformation to effectively drive demand:

1. Understand Buyer Behavior When you first set out to develop your content marketing strategy, it’s critical to understand where and how buyers consume information. We know that a large majority of purchases occur across a multichannel journey. It is also important to keep in mind that buying decisions - both B2B and B2C have multiple influencers. For example, the average B2B buying decision has between 7-10 key decision makers and influencers.

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The average B2B buying decision has between 7-10 key decision makers and influencers

If you want to create compelling and cohesive interactions, your content strategy must be founded on comprehensive buyer personas and journey maps that take the entire customer lifecycle into account. Through ethnographic research, survey and focus groups, identify the trigger catalysts for each stage of the buyer’s journey, then hone in on the informational needs and content preferences that will propel prospective buyers from stage to stage.

2. Map Content To Purchase Paths Providing value is the key to creating content that converts and the only way to provide value, is to tailor your content topics and formats to the specific needs identified in your research by type of organization, role/persona, and stages of the lifecycle. Before you create anything new, catalogue your current content offers according to the topics, personas, and lifecycle stages each piece addresses. Then, you can pinpoint any content gaps and map out additional offers along the buyer journey. Collectively, your content should provide a logical activation progression for your audience with more specifics assigned to each stage. Early-stage content should focus on higher level topics that address buyers’ core needs. Mid-stage content should address strategic priorities and establish a context for your late-stage content. In turn, your late-stage content should offer your brand’s solutions and present a trigger catalyst for purchase.

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Brand Quarterly #21  

Does your brand inspire loyalty? Find out how top brands do it, in this latest issue.

Brand Quarterly #21  

Does your brand inspire loyalty? Find out how top brands do it, in this latest issue.

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