B2B Marketing Battle Map resized 600B2B marketers who map their content moves with the same thoroughness and precision as Stratego players can increase awareness, generate business opportunities and get more bang for their marketing buck.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing this way:

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Amidst the growing number of content marketing tactics, it’s easy for B2B companies to get overwhelmed by all the different options available. It’s no surprise that one of the biggest obstacles for content marketing is getting started.

Or, companies jump into specific content marketing tactics without much planning. A “ready, fire, aim” approach takes over.

The best content marketing battle planning begin with developing buyer personas.

Adele Revella, an authority on buyer personas, defines them as “…an archetype, a composite picture of the real people who buy, or might buy, products like the ones you sell.” The buyer personas include not just the buyers of the product, but anyone who can influence the purchase (e.g. CFO, operations, manufacturing, end user, etc.).

But buyer personas go beyond the buyer’s demographics and job titles and explore their emotions, goals and what’s keeping them up at night. And your buyer personas might not necessarily be your current customers, but your desired customer.

The next order of battle in content marketing calls for mapping the types of content needed to move that buyer persona through each stage of their buying/information-seeking cycle (or sales funnel).

In Eloqua’s “Content Grid (Version 2),” the seller‘s objectives go from 1) awareness to 2) consideration to 3) closing. Pretty straightforward.

sellers objective resized 600

The buyer’s journey, however, goes all the way from “Bored at Work” to “Purchase.”

Buyer's Purchase Cycle

As your prospect travels down that purchase cycle funnel, there are certain types of content that are more effective than others at nurturing them toward a purchase.

When a prospect is first gathering information to solve their problem, it’s more important to educate than to sell. That’s where content tactics like ebooks, guides and lists can help you get found online and capture the lead.

Later, as the prospect moves down the funnel and is researching vendors, company-specific information becomes more relevant such as webinars, feature guides and demo videos.

Finally, when the prospect is ready to purchase, effective tactics include industry and customer reviews, data sheets and ROI calculators.

Content marketing is not a “fire and forget” missile, however. Throughout the entire process, key performance indicators should be measured and analyzed. Doing so enables you to “lift and shift fires” as needed and do more of what’s working and less of what’s not working.

The key performance indicators outlined on the above chart are easy to measure/monitor and should serve as solid marketing analytics to guide your ongoing content marketing efforts.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on content marketing? Please leave your comments below.

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