This is the fourth installment of a five-part blog series that makes up The B2B Content Guide. In this series of blogs, Forrester used existing B2B marketing research and data from our 2021 Content Preferences Survey to provide marketers with best practices for creating content and content strategies.
Organizations typically recognize the business problems that buyers are trying to solve, but they don’t always understand buyers’ needs at different points in the journey or how their needs change depending on their role in a B2B buying group.
B2B marketing organizations (e.g., campaign, portfolio marketing, regional marketing, and content leaders) can improve their messaging and content strategies by using audience insights, leveraging a campaign theme, and using program families (i.e., collections of tactics to achieve campaign goals across reputation, demand, engagement, and enablement) to achieve specific objectives across each stage of the buyer’s journey and customer lifecycle. See the Forrester Campaign Content Strategy Process for a rigorous, scalable, and repeatable approach to insight-driven content strategy development that aligns to the campaign implementation process.
Buyers Want Content Tailored To Their Journeys
According to Forrester’s 2021 Content Preferences Survey, nearly 90% of tech decision-makers highlight that it’s important for tech vendors to provide relevant content at each stage of the buying process.* Forrester’s research into modern B2B buying and selling reinforces this; marketers must ensure that content assets address every stage of the customer’s lifecycle beyond just the acquisition and purchase stages. As technology buyers progress through their purchase journeys, their content format and length preferences change.
For example, when first learning about solutions, some buyers prefer short-form content for written, video, and interactive formats. These short, snappy content formats allow customers to quickly learn about multiple potential solutions. Written long-form content can enter the picture when buyers start to shortlist, engage with, and select a vendor, because they need specific, detailed information to justify a decision. But this is not a one-size-fits-all solution; the content formats and lengths that work for one specific buyer may not work for another. What does this mean for content teams? Build a variety of content for each stage in varying lengths and formats.
Extend The Reach Of Your Primary Asset Throughout The Campaign
Besides meeting buyers’ preferences across their journeys, creating a variety of lengths and formats also enables marketers to maximize their campaign efforts. These formats must be anchored around a primary asset, however, that presents thought leadership, covers a topic in depth, and is rich in data. Content strategies that are grounded in a primary asset enable content teams to create derivative assets such as infographics, case studies, industry-specific pieces, and more. In an earlier study, 81% of tech decision-makers said that short-form content is more valuable when it’s linked to more-detailed studies (e.g., white papers or research studies).* Taking this approach is a win-win for both marketers and buyers.
*For Forrester’s 2021 Content Preferences Survey, we surveyed 655 technology buying decision-makers globally: 33% were in North America; 33% were in EMEA; and 34% were in Asia Pacific. It was a cross-industry study, including companies with at least 500 employees. All respondents were leaders (manager level or above) who were involved in a technology purchase of at least $10,000.