When I talk with clients about how to build a storyline across the entirety of the buying process, they often express hesitation…
- What will we write about that will be interesting over 6-month span (or longer)?
- How will we prove value when the end of each month or quarter comes?
- We must generate MQLs faster than that!
These questions are somewhat based in fear, but more likely based on “the way we’ve always done it.” The campaign mentality. The idea that if we cram everything into a 3-week campaign, we can force our prospects into speaking with our sales reps and buying.
The problem with the campaign mentality is that we think BIG. What pillar pieces can we build that will tell them everything they need to know to decide to buy?
This type of thinking has a few flaws, not the least of which is that marketers aren’t in charge of the buying process—their customers are. Yet we still think we can force buyers to buy on our timeline.
We can’t push buyers forward by burying them in information and expecting them to embark on an archaeological dig to extricate what’s meaningful to them.
Who has time for that? The thought alone is overwhelming in its lack of appeal and relevance.
Our attention is limited, given everything on our plates. The same is true for your customers. Buying is a secondary job. They come to it when they have time. Then they put it aside and return when the next window of time is available.
We need to size our B2B content to fit into those windows of opportunity in a way that’s meaningful and fuels purpose.
Otherwise we may find our audiences’ response is TLDR (too long, didn’t read). They may skim through your piece noting a few things here and there and move on without ever grasping the impact. It’s simply too much, too soon. Quite possibly it’s too much of the wrong thing, since many buyers say that even though content appears to be high quality, it’s just not relevant to them. What a waste.
Go Small and Deep with B2B Content
Becoming the answer to your customers’ challenges isn’t a one and done effort. It’s an accrual over time. Just as was true for Rome, trust isn’t built in a day.
I’ve been doing a lot of work around Microlearning for a client project. There is an argument (and research) that proves the validity of just-in-time learning vs. just-in-case learning. In other words, learning something when you need to know it so that you can apply it helps with retention of that information.
What if marketers were to take a “microlearning” approach to content?
You may be sitting there thinking, yes, but they can’t use the information we’re sharing until they buy our solution, so what’s the point?
Stick with me.
Your solution solves a big problem – one worthy of the length of consideration it takes to overcome all the doubts and risks about change to buy it.
Within that big problem are lots of little challenges along the way. Some of which they could address to alleviate smaller pains and as a testing ground for the helpfulness of your expertise. With every small win you win a bit more trust and build a bit more confidence toward the idea of change.
People hate change. It’s disruptive and messy and takes a bunch of effort that they’d rather avoid. And then there are all the other people involved who must get on board and have lots of reasons not to.
What if your small content helps them address concerns and have better conversations that help them resolve the conflicts of the beliefs each person in the buying committee brings to the table?
The Power of One Applied to B2B Content
The most relevant content is often that which provides one actionable idea and makes the case for it, shows how to apply it, and why your customer should. It’s the focus on the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) that motivates action.
By stringing these small and deep pieces of B2B content together in a way that orchestrates progression—one step at a time—we’re helping our buyers take ownership of the story, thereby strengthening their belief that they can solve the problem with our solution and expertise to help them.
If we take a microlearning approach and string together a lot of small wins in trust by being helpful, we’ll accrue the confidence and affinity needed to get to the BIG ask. The ask that results in the decision to buy. And, it’s totally possible your buyers will be making that BIG ask of you, rather than you of them.