In today’s B2B digital marketing landscape, it’s increasingly important to provide information that is both timely and relevant for your prospects and clients. Time is critical for everyone and it is vital that your message grabs your readers attention and encourages them to engage with your content, ultimately influencing their purchase decisions. So, what is the magic bullet for making content that is appropriate for your various prospects but won’t be labor intensive for you? Adaptive content.
Adaptive content is essentially upgraded content marketing. Simply put, any inbound marketing initiative already has content as its foundation but adaptive content takes it up a couple levels with defined content personas that fit into a prospect’s progress during the buyer’s journey.
The role of personas, the buyer’s journey and social channels
Understanding the buyer’s journey is helpful when determining your adaptive content strategy. The steps logically occur as follows: awareness, interest, evaluation, commitment, referral. This is true whether the sales cycle for your product is two minutes or two months. The steps on the journey take a person through awareness of your product through purchase and referral. The beauty of adaptive content is that you can craft content to speak to prospects and clients at each point on their journey so that it hits home every step of the way.
Each prospect falls into a persona category which is loosely based on demographics, skills, patterns, goals and more to create a fictional, yet realistic, character group. Inbound marketing luminary, Hubspot, defines buyer persona as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client based on market research and real data about your existing clients.” Part science, part art, defining the scope of your buyer persona is critical in developing a relevant adaptive content strategy.
Content today must appeal to each persona at each stage of the buyer’s journey. So before content is created, it’s a good idea to map out the various persona categories for your prospects and then the channels for delivering that content. That will give you an opportunity to view the content strategy for each particular initiative before launching.
This may seem like an inordinate amount of work to create some content. Wouldn’t it just be easier to create some product information and be done with it? Easier, perhaps. But, smarter, no. It’s good to remember that the more you can personalize your content, the closer you are to a sale. If a prospect thinks that you not only understand his needs, but also anticipate solutions for him, you’ll be miles ahead of any competitive companies.
Adaptive content turbocharges B2B sales
Adaptive content is especially important in B2B inbound marketing initiatives because it lets companies build relationships and client loyalty. Businesses expect, or at least hope for, lifetime loyalty be it in the form or retention or referral, so companies that utilize adaptive content are ahead of the game in playing a proactive part in those relationships. Adaptive content helps a company maintain the dialogue.
Some more immediate benefits of adaptive content marketing include:
- A much quicker view on sales forecasts.
Sales cycles in B2B environments can extend for months, depending on the product. With the use of adaptive content supporting your inbound marketing strategy, companies can gauge buyer interest in products and solutions much earlier than possible compared to traditional marketing efforts. Client interest can be projected on a daily basis at times so that quarterly sales forecasts are more accurate and businesses can manage more effectively overall.
- Improved ability for continuous improvement in marketing and sales initiatives.
Businesses that utilize adaptive content have to ability to track and respond to prospects and clients as close to (if not) real time as possible. Channel communications increase the opportunities for messaging and follow-up based on response patterns which dramatically improves sales and loyalty.
- Collecting and analyzing client data fuels customization.
The trend of data-driven organizations to collect critical client and prospect information provides client insight which strengthens the circle of adaptive content. The more information is collected at each touchpoint the more information you have at hand to enhance the context of your B2B marketing campaigns.
- Companies that use adaptive content inbound marketing are perceived as leaders.
Industry thought leaders are generally better in the two-way conversation between their clients and their organizations. Adaptive content enables you to achieve this. Adaptive content lets you in on the pain points of your buyer personas, their moods, their perception of industry-related matters so you can proactively lead the conversation and earn a spot as a valuable and trusted resource for them.
- Positive engagement and empathetic messaging improve business perceptions.
Adaptive content strategies open up a multitude of possibilities to engage with prospects and clients. What makes the difference, however, is that the messaging is not only on-target, but also not threatening or pushy in any way. In the age of inbound marketing, an empathetic, warm, and welcomed approach to messaging can be much more effective than the hard-hitting tactics employed in the old days of push marketing.
Organizations all over the world are using adaptive content as a part of their inbound marketing strategies more and more. While it may take some time to get it right–there’s really no formula for guaranteed success–the very nature of adaptive content marketing is one of trial and error.
One thing you need to put in the center of your content strategy (and I stress this and over and over again in every blog I write about content) is “value”. Are you producing valuable content, and by that I don’t just mean high-quality content but most importantly relevant to your buyer personas and offering real insights, solutions, wisdom about the industry topics that matter to them? This becomes easier to achieve if you tailor your content to be adaptive.
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