The kick-off keynote at this year’s B2BMX Conference got everybody talking. Brian Solis, who focused on the humanization of B2B Marketing, made several interesting points. Most are summarized in this cartoon that he created. Solis emphasized the need to understand customers and put their needs first in the conversation.
One statistic was telling: only 35% of companies mapped their customers’ journeys last year; down from 54% the year before. One person opined that this was perhaps because many companies had already created journeys. In ComBlu’s work, we find that the journey is never done. People are always searching for new or useful information. And, new decision-makers are always entering the equation which necessitates new cuts of the journey. Many journeys also fail to provide insights into channels and devices which is essential for a smooth omnichannel experience.
Solis also talked about the role of websites in the era of Tinder. People want instant gratification when they seek information. Traditional websites often fail to deliver relevant content that is easy to engage with and find. When people search, they are not looking for a website; they are looking for both information and advice. They want ideas and inspiration before they know what they need or want. In search results, Google is starting to bypass websites and give preference to voice of the customer and other peer-generated content. People are searching differently today. They are highly specific, personalized and contextual. The inclusion of terms such as “for me”, “near me”, “should I” “how to” and “best xyz”, such as “best umbrella” or “best running shoe for overpronation”, has grown significantly in the past two years. People want to cast a wide net and suss out all the information available. They do not want to miss any ideas or data before narrowing their options.
This trend has deep impact on enterprise content strategy. Companies need to take on the role of an assistant, helping customers find highly personalized content and solutions to meet very specific needs. Content should include curated lists, checklists, guidebooks and other assets designed to accelerate inclusion in a consideration or preference set.
Google calls this the rise of the assistance economy. Brands need to create experiences that put them in the center of a customer’s discovery. Journeys should identify the moments when people are open to new ideas and approaches. This informs a content roadmap that provides differentiating content that truly resonates.
Kathy’s forte is enterprise content strategy, content marketing and thought leadership. Over the past 40 years, she has worked with both emerging brands and large enterprises in developing content and thought leadership strategies. She has written several research reports, white papers and has been a key contributor to Forbes Publish or Perish Report.