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I attended the Content2Conversion conference in Phoenix in mid-February. The conference focuses on how companies drive demand and is attended by manufacturers, vendors, and experts in the field of content marketing. In the sessions, many references were made as to CEB's "big blue arrow" which states 57% of the customers journey takes place prior to them contacting a sales person. This places a significant burden on content marketing and one which this conference's sessions addressed quite well. Here are are two of the more provacative presentations and one interesting vendor:

Erin Provey/Sirius Decisions

Great wakeup call as to how we approach building our narrative for the customer. Erin showed a typical chart where a customer journey was described in steps using the title of the asset and the media to be used. We all nodded our heads as many of us had seen similar charts, if not created them ourselves.
"Stop!" She said and explained that this minimizes two critical aspects of creating content for the customer, namely proof and intent. Proof, what is the information required by the customer and intent, how are you going to frame it? Without these two elements, the journey is not compelling. Without these two aspects, the content we are creating is more than likely going to be ignored.

In addition, she implored us to stop trying to "brand the lexicon" of our customer's journey. In other words, if the accepted language describes a concern as a "disruption", call it a disruption and not another terms like "transformation". This confuses the customer and most importantly to the company, it leaves them out of the conversations. If the lexicon of the customer's problems has been defined, don't redefine it in your words, its a dis-service to both the customer and you.

Tim Riesterer/Corporate Visions

In his presentation, Tim did two things particularly well; his presentation was entirely via whiteboard (sketchpad) and the content was outstanding. In speaking with Tim after the presentation, he offered that sketchpad presentations scored much higher on credibility than using a canned slide presentation.
As to his content, Tim's point was "we need to stop thinking about how great our solutions will be for our customers and start thinking as what will get them to 1) change their current state and 2) why you?"
His point was that most people (75%) make decisions based on the pain they are experiencing vs. the gain they might realize. This means almost all purchasing decisions are going to start with "why should we change?" as compared to "wow, if we buy an this our lives will be so much better!" He supported this concept with data from neuroscience, social physics and behavioral economics. The data is critical as this type of approach is counter-intiutive and dramatically different than what is being created in most marketing campaigns.
He offered three types of concepts to consider:
1. Amplify an under-valued need and explain the problem is worse and has greater impact than previously thought.
2. Reveal an un-met need as work-arounds are masking the real need
3. Expose an unknown need, in this case many vendors have the ability to meet with many customers in similar situations thus they can "see around the corner". Therefore, help the customer understand what you see from a survey of similar customers facing similar situations.

How we can help

How are you approaching your customer journey? Does it take into account, the big blue arrow? Does your presentation reframe the conversation with the customer? Are you still showing return on investment (ROI) as compared to return on pain elimination (ROPE). The former doesn't help the customer understand why they need to change, which is their number 1 concern. The latter shows them the cost of not making the decision to change so they can move to the most important question, why you? Have you determined "why you?", what makes your solution so special and unique that the customer can only pick you?

We can help ensure that you are answering these questions and are more successful with the customer.

Official Summary

#C2C15 Recap: What You Missed

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Lief Koepsel


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