It should go without saying, but even if they are laser-focused on business results and the needs of their customers, buyers have feelings too.
Earlier this year research firm CEB, which is now part of Gartner Inc, released a study that said 71% of buyers who see personal value in a B2B purchase will actually end up acquiring a product or service. At first, this may seem a bit confusing for marketers who have tended to focus on the logic or reason behind buying a new tool to solve a business change. What does “personal value” even mean, anyway?
Given that the same research showed 68% of buyers would actually pay more for something if it had personal value, it’s well worth it for marketers to figure this out. Using the kind of data they can manage through Marketing Cloud, for instance, there could be an entirely different experience a company will want to create with its blog posts, white papers, videos, infographics or other assets.
Just think: a lot of marketing campaigns may focus on the target organization or their sector as a whole — and all the content may be relevant, but doesn’t have as deep an impact on the buyer as something more personal. In that sense, to talk about “personal value” is better than merely talking about “personalization” in marketing, which can sometimes be limited to having a real name in the salutation of an e-mail message.
The more you delve into the analytics around specific customers, the better you’ll be able to figure out what kind of personal value you can offer. In general, though, take a look at what your marketing team is producing and ask yourself:
Will this content leave my buyer feeling . . .
Of course all marketing content tends to contain some facts and figures about products and services, but does it give them the information they need to move the decision-process along?
Think of the extended team around your buyer, for instance, which could include stakeholders in sales, IT, HR or even the CEO. What kind of questions or objections will these people have, and does the content do the legwork the buyer would otherwise have to do on their own? That’s personal value they can use immediately.
Yes, organizations want to solve a problem, but buyers want to be excited about the work they’re doing. Maybe the content you’re offering can give them a vision of the future they hadn’t considered before, or a fresh sense of how the role plays into the strategic execution of a business strategy. This kind of content takes them well beyond merely being more productive but showing them possibilities. You should be unleashing their creativity and their sense of hope.
Based on the marketing content they’ve seen, can buyers make the business case? Many assets seem aimed at luring a buyer into a demo session or meeting, but there is real personal value in buyers feeling as though what they’re learning builds upon the work they’ve already been doing, or complements their skill sets in some way. Great content should fuel the fire that’s already burning inside them.
Marketing departments can often look at benchmarks and other third-party data to make sure their content they’re creating describes the way their products and services offer businesses value and meet their goals. What about the buyer’s goals, though? The buyer, for example, may have an objective to reduce costs in a certain area by 10%, or improve the results of certain areas of the company by a third over the course of the next year.
You need good data to create content this granular, but Marketing Cloud was designed to make sure you can grow your knowledge of each client as you nurture them through the funnel of awareness, consideration and so on. When you can prove you’re invested in the same areas that they are, marketing becomes far more powerful than ever before.
The most frustrating thing for some marketers is a buyer who decides to simply play it safe by doing nothing. In other words, they won’t make a purchase — even if it has the potential to help them — out of fear it won’t work or exposes the organization to too much risk. After all, it’s their name and reputation on the line if things go wrong in many cases.
Great content should tackle fears of failure head-on, and look for ways to help buyers mitigate unnecessary risks. The more confident they feel in their decision, the more likely the decision will be in favour of doing something that makes them look good — like making a strategic purchase.
When we talked earlier about making buyers feel informed, we referred to the other stakeholders who might be part of the buying committee. In some organizations, though, those committee meetings and a few staff meetings may be the only place they really get significant time with those other people. The rest of the time, the motivations, desires and fears of their co-workers in other parts of the business might be shrouded in mystery.
Marketers can often have a more holistic view of an organization, or more insight into the common challenges and interests of similar people among their other customers. Make sure your content not only responds to the “No’s” from co-workers but helps put everyone on the same page.
Even if you have a call to action on every piece of content that encourages buyers to learn more or to talk to a rep, they might feel they have all the time in the world to do so. That won’t get you very far as a marketer.
Instead, part of the personal value of great content is creating a viable sense of urgency. Maybe acting more quickly will put the buyer ahead of his or her competitor. Maybe it will help meet a goal that’s due by the time the next budgeting cycle kicks in, or the fiscal year ends. Again, the more specific this sense of urgency is to a particular buyer, the more likely they are to respond.
When marketers tap into the right emotions, what is sometimes a nerve-racking process of researching and selecting a product or service becomes fulfilling — as will the process of creating content in the first place.