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Delivering Relevant Content in the Right Context Is No Brain Teaser

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by: Philo Howard (@aphoward3)
19 July 2013

If you’re a B2B marketer, consider the following riddle:

Q: What’s more annoying to a prospect than a sales rep who contacts him or her without first researching how or if the product might apply to the marketer’s role, industry or business needs?

A: A sales rep with digital behavioral resources who does the exact same thing.

To avoid annoying prospects, and instead guide them through the buying process, personalization is key. I don’t mean personalizing content to an industry or tailoring your emails to simply include prospects’ names. While that’s an important step in developing a strong content library that allows you to “market like Amazon,” it isn’t enough.

Personalization today involves using behavioral marketing automation to not only provide the most relevant content, but also to deliver it in the appropriate context at the right time. That requires you to capture and understand your targets’ individual behaviors.

You’ll hit a content and context bull’s-eye when you keep these four key riddle busters in mind:

1) Understand your ideal buyers’ profiles. I’ve heard it said that selecting just the right content for your library (and, ultimately, your audience) is like the choosing the right bait in fishing: You have to know what type of fish you hope to hook in order to use the perfect bait. So, assess your content library to assure you fill the needs of your ideal buyer profiles. If you find gaps, fill them with content that will help you engage and convert prospects.

2) Sculpt a model. Assess behaviors to determine which actions are likely indicators of a future buyer in each phase of the buying funnel. For example, a buyer of financial software applications in the “Awareness Phase” might download a case study on how one of your customers reduced his Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) for accounts receivables. This and other behaviors should be reflected in your lead scoring system to create a total picture of your prospects’ propensity to buy.

3) Leverage automation for scale. To understand the broad context for your ongoing conversation with a prospect, use behavioral marketing automation to capture his behaviors across various digital channels. You’ll need to set the tracking and designate the actions in order to be successful in delivering the corresponding content in context across channels. Then, expect big returns! Leveraging buyer behavior and automation are the keys to retention marketing success.

4) Fine-tune both content and context. Approach the design of your content as a process that will be continually optimized. Because buyers’ behaviors are constantly changing — just think about the explosion of mobile devices and the decline of the PC in the past few years — your strategy should evolve accordingly. Tweak your content, and do so often, to successfully nurture prospects throughout the buying cycle. To learn more, read my last post: “10 Tips to Improve Your Marketing Messaging Online.”

As B2B consumers continue to become more digitally sophisticated, their expectations that sellers know their interests (“likes”) and needs increase. While many individual consumers are still considering the implications of automated behavioral marketing, corporate consumers understand the power of marketing automation, which just might be the main reason why they are initially drawn to your site. Show them when they get there that they’re being heard — give them personalized content that’s timely and speaks directly to their needs.

Related Resources:
1) White Paper: “20 Ways to Personalize Content and Enhance the Customer Experience
2) Blog: “Website, Meet Marketing Automation
3) White Paper: “The Ultimate Guide to Scoring Customers and Prospects” 


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