Article

Maria Price
Maria Price 12 September 2019

Next Generation Content Marketing: How Buyer Intent Is Changing the Game

The power of content marketing in the B2B space is growing, learning from its B2C cousin. In fact, research shows that 86% of B2B, B2C and combination marketers are now using it in their organisation, spending an average of 30% of their total marketing budgets on content marketing. While the objectives of content marketing can vary – from promoting a product, brand, solution or event, to creating awareness around a particular issue, the majority of organisations turn to content marketing for lead generation.

Of course the content itself isn’t just sales driven. Instead, it’s relevant, engaging information that helps readers solve a problem or reach understanding. Content marketing can also be used to leverage an industry trend to promote a point of view. In terms of how that’s delivered to market, the most common assets include anything from video, case studies, articles, blogs and email, to social media posts, eBooks, reports, and infographics.
 
Putting the audience at the forefront

Regardless of the asset, 90% of marketers agree that the audience is the most important part of content creation. And therein lies the rub; in today’s competitive landscape, the audience isn’t a homogenous mob. It’s made up of different personas, who not only have different needs and expectations, but are also in varied stages of the buying journey.
 
For those who are just starting out on the buying journey, the influencers and researchers, for example, content should be more educational and awareness focused. In the same vein,  content for those in the middle of the journey provides context, such as thought leadership, while those further in the journey and closer to making a decision are looking for credibility, which is where case studies add value.
 
The important thing is that marketers give the audience different touchpoints to suit their preferences and deliver multiple assets for them to engage with.
 
But how do marketers ensure they’re reaching the right audience, with the right message at the right time? Marketing automation platforms have a key role to play here, but increasingly it is the likes of behaviour-based marketing, driven by buyer intent, that is making a real difference in helping marketers hit that trifecta of audience, relevance and timing.
 
Adopting a behaviour-based approach

Behaviour-based marketing (BBM) is a qualitative approach that is based on buying intent data. This data is all those signals that buyers display during the online research process, like what they’re actually looking for, where they’re looking for it, what they’re looking at, and who they are talking to about it. BBM is delivered via a marketing technology platform and identifies and collates these buying signals based on pre-agreed, relevant keywords across tens of thousands of websites, forums and downloaded marketing collateral. This data is gathered via cookies and the platform helps marketers understand the intent of buyers by analysing these online activities. When it comes to content marketing, this where customised content is triggered, based on intent.
 
Hitting the timing, relevance and context marks is one thing. But with the addition of behaviour-based marketing, marketers also have the luxury of being more flexible. The platform is always on, taking into account industry changes and trending topics, and adjusts insights accordingly. Marketers can keep an eye on the success of campaigns, and adjust their approach as needed if something isn’t working well. It also helps marketing teams better focus resources, especially when it comes to content creation.
 
Nurturing existing relationships

Intent can also be used for more than just lead generation. There is a significant opportunity to foster better relationships with existing customers. The platform can track what customers are doing online and whether they are looking for additional services or even at competitors. Content can then be created to meet the needs of those customers, keeping them happy and building customer success. It can be also used to cross and upsell opportunities helping to grow existing relationships.
 
Marketing is an evolving discipline. As marketers are tasked with proving ROI and developing better quality leads for sales, using the right tools will be crucial. Integrating BBM into existing campaigns, especially content marketing campaigns, will ensure marketers are better able to achieve the holy grail of timing, relevance and context, and work more effectively with sales in driving conversions.
 
Regardless of whether a campaign is focused on acquisition, retention or loyalty, using behavioural data at the right time in a customer’s buying cycle elevates campaign success exponentially.

Putting the audience at the forefront

Regardless of the asset, 90% of marketers agree that the audience is the most important part of content creation. And therein lies the rub; in today’s competitive landscape, the audience isn’t a homogenous mob. It’s made up of different personas, who not only have different needs and expectations, but are also in varied stages of the buying journey.

For those who are just starting out on the buying journey, the influencers and researchers, for example, content should be more educational and awareness focused. In the same vein,  content for those in the middle of the journey provides context, such as thought leadership, while those further in the journey and closer to making a decision are looking for credibility, which is where case studies add value.

The important thing is that marketers give the audience different touchpoints to suit their preferences and deliver multiple assets for them to engage with.

But how do marketers ensure they’re reaching the right audience, with the right message at the right time? Marketing automation platforms have a key role to play here, but increasingly it is the likes of behaviour-based marketing that is making a real difference in helping marketers hit that trifecta of audience, relevance and timing.

Adopting a behaviour-based approach

Behaviour-based marketing (BBM) is a qualitative approach that is based on buying intent data. This data is all those signals that buyers display during the online research process, like what they’re actually looking for, where they’re looking for it, what they’re looking at, and who they are talking to about it. BBM is delivered via a marketing technology platform and identifies and collates these buying signals based on pre-agreed, relevant keywords across tens of thousands of websites, forums and downloaded marketing collateral. This data is gathered via cookies and the platform helps marketers understand the intent of buyers by analysing these online activities. When it comes to content marketing, this where customised content is triggered, based on intent.

Hitting the timing, relevance and context marks is one thing. But with the addition of behaviour-based marketing, marketers also have the luxury of being more flexible. The platform is always on, taking into account industry changes and trending topics, and adjusts insights accordingly. Marketers can keep an eye on the success of campaigns, and adjust their approach as needed if something isn’t working well. It also helps marketing teams better focus resources, especially when it comes to content creation.

Nurturing existing relationships

Intent can also be used for more than just lead generation. There is a significant opportunity to foster better relationships with existing customers. The platform can track what customers are doing online and whether they are looking for additional services or even at competitors. Content can then be created to meet the needs of those customers, keeping them happy and building customer success. It can be also used to cross and upsell opportunities helping to grow existing relationships.

Marketing is an evolving discipline. As marketers are tasked with proving ROI and developing better quality leads for sales, using the right tools will be crucial. Integrating BBM into existing campaigns, especially content marketing campaigns, will ensure marketers are better able to achieve the holy grail of timing, relevance and context, and work more effectively with sales in driving conversions.

Regardless of whether a campaign is focused on acquisition, retention or loyalty, using behavioural data at the right time in a customer’s buying cycle elevates campaign success exponentially.

By Jon Clarke, CEO of Cyance

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