Peter O’Neill here with some comments about being truly effective at content marketing. Did you know that B2B buyers say that 70% of the content they read and study before making a purchase decision is actually found by themselves; as opposed to being given to them by marketing or sales? At Forrester, we like to talk about the new interaction model of need-match-engage, where the buyers now initiate the interaction and spend a major part of their buyer journey doing their own research before calling in potential suppliers.

Content marketing has therefore become much more than product and solutions collateral, campaigns, mailings, and fulfillment. B2B marketers have to be great at being found by buyers in their early research phase (the phases we call discover and explore). In a way, successful marketers will “fool” their buyers into consuming their thought-leadership and educational content in stages 1 through 5 — while hardly realizing its source. And the most successful marketers will learn how to mix their brand "scent" into that content without appearing to be selling — to the extent that buyers will count it as part of their 70%.   

How do they achieve this success? Among other things: by understanding the buyer journey; by researching the buyer roles and their preferences; and by using an “outside-in” taxonomy and point of view. I will be talking about this in more detail at our upcoming Marketing Leadership Forumin London on May 21 and 22. Come along and discuss these challenges with me.

By the way, those of you who have been following my blog so far have perhaps noticed a change. We have consolidated some of the roles we serve here at Forrester, and my research is now under the sales enablement role. The same applies to my colleagues Lori Wizdo, Tim Harmon,and Jonathan Silber. As I mentioned to you in a previous post, our understanding of sales enablement is more like revenue acceleration: It includes demand-generation marketing for new business or expanding business with existing customers; marketing through channel partners; plus supporting a B2B sales force facing new challenges and expectations as their customers change their behaviors and expectations radically.

We think we are leading the way for our clients by breaking down our own siloes between marketing and sales-related research. We hope that by next year, enough of our clients will have done the same so that we can change the name of our role to revenue enablement or management. What do you think? Need more details? Drop me a line. As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics.

Always keeping you informed! Peter