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Content Strategies That Speak to Your Customers

Creativity and context nudges the conversation forward

Episode Summary

“Content” can mean very different things to different audiences. For some buyers, a useful experience with a chatbot is compelling content. Other buyers actually do want in-depth case studies, or even immersive conversations at in-person events. Finding the right mix of message and delivery is the essence of successful content strategy, and it requires marketers to embrace the fact buyers are calling the shots in how they want to interact with you.

Rachit Dayal, the CMO, APAC, for customer experience management vendor Merkle, says that embracing the long game in his own content strategies is paying off.

As a platform vendor, many of Merkel’s deals take months or even years to bake, so Dayal is happy to simply talk to high-funnel prospects about whatever interests them. Merkel has even brought in futurists to speak at events, because at that moment it was the best tactic for starting a true conversation and building a relationship.

Episode Insights

  • Insight #1: You don’t need to own a prospect’s feed. If you show up regularly in the channels where your prospects live, and add a little something to the conversation each time, that’s enough. Dayal says he’s not overly concerned with the “content onslaught,” as many observers now call it, because he’s not trying to hit a homerun with every email or social post. He just wants to talk.

    In fact, his team is focusing most of its energy in the high funnel these days, and are limiting the length of content to two or three sentences, or 15 seconds of video. Long-form content, such as whitepapers or case studies, are limited to very specific inflection points in the buying journey, and usually for technical audiences.

  • Insight #2. You need a good tech stack to back you up. In order to find the content experiences that ultimately move accounts to buy, you need an attribution system that identifies all contacts with a won account. Dayal says the most powerful reporting screen he’s ever seen is one that says “this user has interacted with 41 touchpoints before converting.”

    With the “walled garden” so many social platforms are building around their data, analytics may not always be clean, Dayal says, but marketers should strive to build some behavioral templates they can rely on. Marketers should try to dedupe multiple touches with core content, to be able to identify and re-invest in the most important assets.

  • Insight #3: Your last big deal is the best teacher you have. In enterprise sales, there just aren’t a ton of exact matches to your ideal account profile for “big data” statistical analysis. Since there are such a relatively small number of real wins, Dayal says, any feedback you can get from these customers is golden – if three customers tell you that a specific tactic or message really moved the needle for them, that’s incredibly valuable information. Dayal is a big believer in close cooperation with sales to gather this kind of intelligence.

    For smaller deals, in the “few hundred grand” range, he still endorses A/B/C testing of content at an economical scale. Here, you should think like a “growth hacker” and whittle good ideas down to a number of actionable tactics.

Key Takeaways

What you will learn from Rachit Dayal’s episode?

  • How to build distinct content strategies for long-range enterprise campaigns and for smaller B2B deals that fall within existing budgets.
  • Why B2B marketers need to stick with their creative ideas and tactics beyond “Season 1” and give them time to build momentum.
  • How B2B marketers can learn alot from B2C’s focus on just making potential customers want to get to know you.

Guest Profile