If you’re a buyer looking for thought-leadership content on industry trends but receive a product marketing video instead, chances are you’ll never buy from that company again.
A poorly planned buyer journey can rapidly deter an otherwise good potential customer. Providing the wrong content at the wrong time — or the right content at the wrong time — interferes with buyers’ decision-making, lengthens the buying process and lowers conversion rates.
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As a technology product marketer, you rely on buyer personas to understand buyer demographics and other profile traits as well as how they approach the buying process. While personas do capture a buyer’s overall concerns and needs, they identify neither specific content requirements nor the information buyers seek during the different stages of their journey. This creates content gaps, and technology marketers end up giving out-of-context information to buyers.
“When product-centric messaging is presented to buyers at the wrong time, contextual information goes missing and technology product marketers fail to create a sense of urgency among buyers,” says Suzanne White, VP Analyst, Gartner. “This also leaves informational gaps pertaining to industry trends and other priorities that are important to buyers.” It's vital to prioritize content relevancy throughout the buyer’s journey. Do so by taking these three action steps to engage buyers with contextual information at every stage and improve your conversion rate.
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1. Capture the essential questions of technology buyers
Technology buyers have different sets of questions and concerns at each stage of their journey. At the exploration stage, they assess priorities relative to key market trends, and scope requirements for improving their situation before adopting a technology. They may also want to know what their peers or competitors are doing.
In the early stages of their journey, technology buyers may ask:
- What concerns CIOs the most in the manufacturing industry, and where are they making investments in technology?
- As healthcare delivery evolves, what are customer experience (CX) leaders doing to support more distributed patient and provider experiences?
At the evaluation stage, they want to shortlist vendors and assess the relevance, feasibility and impact of available options.
As they reach the engagement stage, buyers’ focus shifts to product-specific information such as performance, implementation, service and support. They are eager to know what actions are required for a successful implementation and what the experience will be like after their organization adopts a technology solution.
In the later stages of their journey, they may ask:
- Is this product compatible with our existing systems?
- Can we customize the solution to fit our business?
- Are there any migration tools?
Consider these questions when gathering buyers’ insights and defining the motivations and objectives of your buyer personas. Interview internal subject matter experts and customers, or hire a third party to interview both buyers and non-buyers in a quest for unbiased answers. Based on the insights, review your content and categorize your offerings or CTAs for each stage of the technology buyer journey.
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2. Create a common campaign theme for the buyer’s journey
Effective buyer experiences that engage and move buyers through the journey are delivered through multi-touch campaign strategies. Avoid out-of-context CTAs in your marketing programs, like asking for a meeting too soon or offering isolated content downloads that aren’t aligned with buyers’ journey stage, which only creates confusion.
Instead, align your messaging, CTAs and content with a common campaign theme that focuses on buyer outcomes and market trends.
Adopting Gartner’s situation-impact-resolution (SIR) storytelling format can help create a sense of urgency among buyers by:
- acknowledging their dilemma and pain points.
- highlighting the impact of their existing situation on the bottom lines.
- calling out the consequences if they continue with the status quo.
- suggesting an action.
Address technology buyers in a way that highlights their missed opportunities and the shortcomings of their existing solutions and approaches. Suggest the right action at the right step of their journey; otherwise, some of them may drop off and disengage.
3. Align your content with the buyer’s industry and role
A recent Gartner survey found that thought leadership content was an important motivating factor for 26% of technology buyers when engaging with technology provider solutions in the early stages of their journey. This includes content focused on future industry trends, the future of a buyer’s functional role and the future of technology.
While it’s easy to provide product-specific details, creating thought leadership content on emerging trends may enlisting require industry-specific research specialists or third-party agencies. When creating your content strategy, consider both your in-house expertise and outside resources. List out the content types you want to outsource and those you wish to produce in-house.
Your content should aid and expedite buyers’ decision making by presenting insights and data at the right time. Don’t rush or drag technology buyers into your story — instead present content offers that include information representing a path to value.