How deep does your marketing content dive into the problems and priorities your B2B prospects are facing? In B2B marketing, we talk a lot about addressing problems, but quite often we don't talk about what that really means or how to truly help our prospects solve the systemic issues that cause the problems in the first place.
This post is inspired by the following point in a list of reasons about why managers struggle on Leadership Now blog. This is reason #9:
They Fix Problems, Not Causes. Unless the manager fixes the cause of the problems they encounter, valuable time will be spent fixing the same problem over and over again.
How often do you think about why a problem exists for your prospects? As marketers we need to look beyond the obvious and get to the root of the issue to elevate the value our content provides. That's when we start to become interesting to our prospects — when we invite them to think.
I love blog posts about people who are representative of my client's prospects. Posts about managers and leadership are really good sources of information to help you help them by gaining a bit of insight to things they may be struggling with or how they view opportunities.
This particular insight can help us begin to consider the potential causes behind the problems that prospects say they want to fix.
Here's an example:
If your prospect says he wants to improve team productivity and collaboration, why might that be an issue? Some possible causes may include:
- Did the company grow too fast without the infrastructure in place to support it?
- Did the company expand via mergers or acquisitions and is trying to mesh cultures?
- Is the company's culture old school but the manager is trying to force the adoption of new trends?
- Was there insufficient onboarding to drive adoption of the last solution he tried?
- Is IT not responsive to resolving issues with the system reported by users?
Given whatever you determine might be the cause of the issue your prospect is trying to resolve, can you see opportunities to create content that helps them get to the root cause rather than just buying another bandaid?
I can see you reading this and thinking "Hey, how would I know which cause to focus on because I don't market to one prospect at a time!"
The trick to this is to figure out which are the most likely scenarios and create content that addresses those. Theoretically, in the scenario above, each of those causes may exist for some percentage of your prospects. Think about it this way, if you can validate that customers have addressed specific root causes and salespeople tell you similar stories, you know that content designed around the cause will be on target for some prospects.
Monitor who spends time with which "cause" content and continue nurturing them appropriately with extension pieces. There's always more than one angle to any story. Use as many as you think are relevant. It also makes sense to have salespeople ask what's behind the issue in their follow-up and share those insights with marketing as part of the validation process.
When marketers consider how they set up the problem-to-solution stories they share to build a buyer experience, they must also consider the longevity of customer lifecycles. After all, if the cause of the issue is addressed during the implementation of your solution, it's less likely to happen again. And that means higher customer satisfaction and adds to the value derived from each customer for your company.
Are you thinking beyond the surface of the problem when you design your content marketing programs?