Summit 2014 Highlights: The Science of B2B Messaging
To create relevant messaging, B2B marketers need look no farther than nautilus shells lying on the beach, leaves rustling on trees, or the seeds in a sunflower.
All of these elements – and many others in nature – feature a Fibonacci series (or the closely related Golden Spiral), in which pairs of numbers are successively added (e.g. 1+1 = 2, 1+2= 3, 2+3 = 5) to create a distinctive pattern of progression.
This pattern also forms the structure for the new SiriusDecisions Messaging Nautilus (named after the swirling shell), unveiled today at SiriusDecisions’ Summit 2014 in Orlando.
The Messaging Nautilus™ represents a new way of thinking about messaging, according to its creators, Marisa Kopec, vice president and group director at SiriusDecisions, and Erin Provey, service director.
“This is the logical, sequential additive order to the creative process of B2B audience-centric messaging,” Marisa said.
Many organizations’ existing messaging templates focus on the company itself and its key business objectives, and build messaging to support those objectives instead of focusing on buyers’ and customers’ concerns. This backwards approach results in content that fails to resonate with buyers, Erin explained.
To address buyers’ needs, messaging must instead begin with the audience. The first of eight arcs in the Messaging Nautilus™, the audience isolation arc requires that marketers identify their target audience. Marketing must reach agreement with product and sales on which industries, regions, subverticals, organization types, buying centers and personas are included.
In the next arc, once marketers identify their target buyer personas, the work of understanding those personas must be completed. “You need to understand their roles, their attributes and preferences, and when they engage in the buying process,” Marisa said. “All of that must be defined before pen meets paper.”
The next several arcs of the Messaging Nautilus™ continue the progression by examining the market context and developing a value proposition, a crucial element for creating content during subsequent steps.
Successful value propositions contain five components, explained Marisa. They identify their audience and that audience’s needs, make an assertion, state the outcome of purchasing the offering and, finally, describe the offering’s “special sauce,” which can be a unique capability of the offering, organization or brand.
The actual creation of messaging components begins in the sixth arc of the Messaging Nautilus™. Before crafting narrative elements, marketers must understand buyers’ knowledge requirements at each stage of the buying cycle. Later, core messaging components must be mapped to delivery methods and formats in order to shape their tone, style and structure.
As SiriusDecisions’ research has repeatedly shown, the traditional company-centric style of developing messaging does not meet the modern B2B buyer’s needs. “If marketers don’t change their messaging, they run the risk of becoming extinct,” Erin warned.