Creating Content Specific to Customer Information Needs

By | August 28, 2010

I’ve been plowing through Joe Pulizzi’s Get Content, Get Customers (through my Droid’s Nook application, a bit tedious for books longer than about 80 pages), and I came across a statement that really knocked me out:

Businesses create specific content so that customers react in a very specific way.  Without a clear understanding of the customer’s information needs, any reaction that is close to the end goal is pure dumb luck.

I like the conciseness of what he expressed.  One of his core messages is that all marketing materials, such as custom content, must be designed to evoke an action, an action consistent with organizational goals.  I talk a lot about product simulations as if there is almost a single type.  The kind I’ve seen mostly around are product orientations, walkarounds, and the like (a lot of 3D spinning products), and they do have a place.  However, it is all about recognizing what that place is, and what informational need that serves for the buyer or customer.  Here are some initial thoughts on phases of the product marketing/sales process I can see relevant in focusing a sim (or really any content) to drive viewer behavior along the sales process.  In each phase, customer’s/prospect’s will likely have different information needs:

  1. Attraction/Awareness
  2. Garnering Interest
  3. Engagement
  4. Conversion
  5. Buy / Recommend
  6. Reinforce
  7. Support

Especially in B2B markets, but also in consumer purchases that take some time to occur, we often do not factor in sufficiently how our content relates to where the prospect is in the buying cycle.

It is probably obvious, but something that works in attracting interest may not be sufficient to convert the interest into the sale.  Just as we want to design our marketing materials to give the viewer a “purpose-driven activity” (Game-Based Marketing, Gabe Zichermann and Joselin Linder), we also need to apply content in our marketing strategy to keep moving the prospect along our sales process.

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