- B2B buyers control the buyer’s journey, and the content experience must adapt to individual interactions
- A data-driven approach to content and delivery mechanisms provides a personalized experience tailored to the individual buyer
- Content assets and delivery mechanisms respond and adjust to individual profiles, previous interactions and known preferences
In the nineties, a genre of electronic literature called hyperfiction was introduced and explored by writers and literary critics interested in the influence of computing on storytelling. Hyperfiction, also known as hypertext fiction, redefined the boundaries of traditional narrative structure, providing a nonlinear experience driven by the individual reader’s interactions with the text, similar to the print-based Choose Your Own Adventure series.
In the hyperfiction creative process, what was once a clean, sequential storyboard became a multidimensional collage, with the writer arranging and rearranging the main characters and trigger events that develop the story on sticky notes full of annotations, decision points and branching workflows. Writers developed individual plotlines around what motivates one reader but not another, or how the introduction of a concept at a certain time affects the outcome or next step in the journey.
Like readers of hyperfiction, buyers control the plot throughout the buyer’s journey (and the customer lifecycle makes a great sequel). This means that B2B marketers need to provide an experience that adapts to buyer insights and individual interactions.
Adapting the Content Experience
B2B marketers must drive meaningful interactions at each stage of the buyer’s journey through a mix of tactics tailored to the individual buyer, at scale. A data-driven approach to content, creative and delivery mechanisms provides a highly personalized experience that adapts to the individual across delivery mechanisms, enabling more relevant messaging and timing, creative optimization based on key attributes and behaviors, and more effective tactical execution of automated marketing programs.
This data-driven approach to content delivery and experience design is centered on the individual and the message. Content format, creative treatment and delivery mechanisms are tailored using data from a variety of sources, including implicit and explicit contact data as well as data from artificial intelligence, intent monitoring and predictive analytics. These data sources and the rules governing creative treatment enable dynamic content delivery and optimization in the context of the individual audience, customizing for how, when, where, and by whom content is accessed according to any number of attributes.
Character Drives Action
The hyperfiction storyteller creates and arranges characters and events along branching plotlines, like the B2B marketer developing an intricate campaign architecture designed to motivate the individual buyer within the context of that buyer’s demand unit. In both scenarios, the audience chooses whether to activate and participate in the narrative. That response (or lack of response) shapes the narrative arc and overall experience for the individual. It’s prescriptive, yet individual and dynamic.
Contact data determines the messaging path and creative treatment using a unique combination of explicit profile data, behaviors and preferences, conversion history, and interest and intent indicators.
The Audience Helps Create the Narrative Experience
Within the messaging streams built for each segment, content assets, offers and delivery mechanisms respond and adjust on the basis of previous interactions and known preferences. At this level, the next message is triggered and components like copy and creative are assembled dynamically according to rules reflecting characteristics of the individual recipient and his or her stage in the buyer’s journey. This is when techniques like dynamic calls to action and creative testing should be leveraged to promote engagement and increase conversion rates.
An adaptive approach to content delivery is not dependent on any single tactic or tool, but rather an integration of technical and creative capabilities supporting the design and delivery of an experience unique to the individual buyer and optimized across delivery mechanisms and devices.