Help B2B Buyers Find Their Place in The Story

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For years I've talked about writing content from the perspective of your buyers. I was reading an interview with David Willows over on Kathy Hansen's blog, A Storied Career, and came across an idea that can be very useful for helping B2B marketers think about why they need to develop marketing content for perspectives beyond just the decision maker's.

"…I often say that my role is all about ‘telling the story of my school
and helping others find their place in that story.'" – David Willows

This statement illuminates the need to consider that each influencer, recommender and stakeholder holds a potentially different place in the story about how to solve the company's problem.

Assorted research finds:

  • there are more people involved in the buying process
  • they're spending more time in the consideration and research phases
  • confusion results in no decision being made

So when you set out to develop content, consider which place each persona holds in the story. Yes, this likely means that you'll need to write different versions for each persona for the idea to be really effective.

Marketers need to understand why generic content won't help all of the people involved in the decision find their place in the story of how to get from problem to solution. WIIFM (What's in it for me?) is more personal than that.

Here are a few examples to consider:

  • Would an end user care about return on investment ratios?
  • Would an IT developer care that the marketing department will need less headcount once they have your system?
  • Will the CFO care that the ease of use for end users will increase employee satisfaction and morale?

Likely, the answer to each of these is "not really."

Unfortunately, marketing content is often written to address a whole kitchen sink full of benefits that apply so widely that no one can find their place in the story. But, when content is narrowly focused to provide clarity for a specific persona, this changes. Once they can find their role in the story they can see your solution or product from a new angle. They can personally identify with the value that's just for them.

Why should you care? Because with this clarity they can then visualize how your solution can be helpful to them. When they decide it's worthwhile to pursue, they'll start helping others figure out their places in the story. That's what happens when your prospects can ingest your ideas and share them with others.

When your prospects find personalized value, pipeline momentum builds. Through them, your reach extends to others within the company that you haven't been able to engage on your own. They become more active in taking the next steps toward purchasing.

What are you doing to help your prospects find their place in your story?

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