Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep. 38: Content Marketing To The ‘Do’ State

Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep. 38: Content Marketing To The ‘Do’ State


Hello Iterative Marketers!
Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast where each week we give
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of your fellow Iterative Marketers. Now let’s dive into the show. Hello everyone and welcome to
the Iterative Marketing podcast. I’m your host Steve Robinson and with me as always is
the relevant, always relevant and sometimes on topic
Elizabeth Earin. How are you doing today, Elizabeth? I am good. How are you? I’m doing great. You’re letting them into the inner
workings of our meetings where I bring up random
stories all the time. Yes, but it’s always relevant
just not always on topic. No and entertaining,
usually entertaining. Yes, yes. So, I am in the throes of
holiday gift selection and giving which I have to say is generally not that
big of a deal in our household for me because my wife Kim does
a phenomenal job with it but how about yourself? I am one of those people who has
their holiday shopping done early. I’ve been done for a few weeks now minus we’re doing a gift exchange
with my parents over Christmas and we haven’t been given the
name of our person yet, so that’s the only gift
I still have to buy but otherwise we’re good. We’re done. Excellent. I think I’m responsible for at least
one white elephant gift, we’ve got two white elephant
gift exchanges we participate in. Have you ever done one of those? Yes, they are so much fun. I love white elephant gift exchanges. So yeah, that’s kind of
fun shopping, right? Because you get to come up with
something completely off the wall and still I think the rule is it has
to be usable, so it’s good. I think one year we gave a whole
big case of Sprecher soda that sounded like
beer bottles clanking around, so everybody wanted it because
they thought it was a case of beer, only to find out –
And then you opened it. Yeah, yeah exactly, it’s soda,
so that was fun. We have an awesome gift shop
in downtown Coeur d’Alene, something monkey,
I should know the name of it, maybe it’s the Brass Monkey, Anyway, they’ve got these phenomenal
gifts that are fun and quirky but you never really can feel like
you can give them to someone and then they’re just perfect for
white elephant gift exchanges. Excellent, excellent. So if we’re not talking
about white elephant what are we actually
talking about today? Today is the third episode in
a I believe four-part series that talks about content marketing
in our different journey states and the last few weeks we’ve
gone over “see” and “think” and today we are exploring
content marketing for the “do” state. So for those of you that are paying
attention to episode numbers, Episode 36 was “see” and Episode 37 was “think” which makes us 38, right? Correct. Excellent. Yeah, in the past two episodes we really
structured things based on the PESO model but when you get to “do” state
PESO sort of breaks down particularly in B2B organizations
because the audience is too small, so you can’t use the same
channels to reach them, so for a change of pace we’re going to
break things down based on how we – different types of businesses and how those businesses would
engage with content for the “do” state. So we’ll take a look at what the
objective is for content in the “do” state and then as Steve said we’re going to take a look at what
that “do” state content looks like in a variety of different markets. So, if we don’t address
yours send us an email, we’d love to talk more about it and then for each of those
scenarios we outline we’re also going to talk about how we
measure success and how we iterate on it. Now before we jump into the
why behind content in the “do” state I think it’s important to
take a quick step back and look at how things have
changed in the last few years in relation to content
marketing in general because I think it really comes
to a head when we hit “do” and in my mind it comes
down to the fact that people just don’t like talking to
each other like they used to. No, things have changed. Honestly this may sound bad but we
don’t have to talk to each other. We have got Google at our disposal to
be able to search for when we want. I have my smartphone
with me all of the time, so I can even be in the store
and wanting to do research or standing at the car lot
wanting to do research and it’s just sort of how our society has
– what we have become as a society. And there’s some expectation of being
able to communicate on your own time too. I mean Facebook is a great platform
for social communications where you can jump in and out
when you have the time and want to make the time and the same thing is
true of text messages, we jump in and out of conversations
when it’s convenient to us and so when we look at that in the
context of a commercial transaction now we as consumers don’t want
to have to be having conversations with the salesperson in real time. We don’t want to have to go to the store
and talk to people on their time, we don’t want to have to
talk to a sales person in the context of
a business transaction, we would rather be able to do what
we want to do when we want to do it. As consumers we
want to be in control and that’s only really possible
through content, right? Exactly. Now before we started recording, you had shared a really
interesting statistic with me that sales is having a hard
time reaching people because of this sort
of change in behavior. Do you want to talk
about that at all? Yeah. I mean you look at sales organizations are having significantly
harder time conducting business than they used to where recent studies said that it’s now
up to 18 dials just to reach someone and fewer than a 1% response rate
on telephone prospecting and I know that we’re
seeing this with our clients and shifts towards inbound models because our outbound sales
has become harder. Even when sales does
reach the person, to your point earlier, we are self educating and so what have
they self-educated with? Is it correct information
about our brand? Is it incorrect information
about our brand? Or have they been getting information
from one of our competitors and we’re not even on
their list anymore? So, it’s really changed the dynamic and to your point like
you said earlier it’s made “do” content so important as we
move through the buyers journey. Because the consumer wants
to be in control and the only way they can
really be in control as if they have the tools and the
information to be in control, right? Otherwise they’re flying blind and we will shop, we will engage
in business in places where we feel like
we’re more in control, where we have those tools,
where we have those resources whether they’re being
provided by a third party in the form of a formal write-up
or review or like a consumer report or whether its peer reviews
or whether it’s the tools and then the guidance
provided by the brand. Well it comes back to what
you talk about all the time you want to do business with
brands you know, like, and trust and again whether that content is coming
from you or coming from a third party that’s helping to build that trust,
create that trust and it makes you feel better
about your purchase. Yeah. So how does content play
into “do” state then? What are our goals as we introduce content
to the consumer at their “do” state? So I think it’s what we just talked
about its providing that utility and really greasing the skids
through the purchase process so that the consumer
feels comfortable and feels knowledgeable enough
about the purchase and engaged with the purchase
that they want to move forward with it. Yeah and unlike “see” and “think”
content where we have to be careful how commercial the message is
we don’t want to be at all salesy. This is sales content because it’s
helping that person understand, feel comfortable and feel in control
as they complete that sales, so it’s inherently very commercial, it includes prices,
it includes features and benefits, it includes details
and comparisons and stuff that would come off as very salesy if you introduce them very
early in the buyers journey. And not only that, but the customer
wants to at this point. I mean they have made the
decision to make a purchase and so before where we were trying
so hard to not come off as salesy they actually want you to
be salesy at this point because they’re ready
to move forward. So now is when we get to
talk about all of those things that we wanted to talk about before but we know that they
weren’t ready to listen to. Yeah, it is important to understand
that when we say salesy we don’t mean promotions
or act now, or buy now or coupons
or anything like that, that’s all direct response marketing. That’s not what we’re talking about
in terms of content marketing. We’re talking about content
that adds value to the buyer as they’re completing
that buying purchase not outbound pushy sales messages
getting people to act, that’s a different type of
advertising or marketing. Well, and a lot of times it’s
justifying the purchase, whether it’s justifying the
purchase to yourself or you have already
made up your mind but now you need to get
your spouse on board. You need to make sure that they’re
onboard with this decision as well so that you lead a happy life after
the purchase is made. Well, and that’s same is
true in business, right? When we’re making a business buying
decision it often has to be circulated or we have to make sure that
we have our ducks in a row should somebody come back
and question it later and say why did you buy this, well, here’s the case studies
and sales sheets and everything that said this was a good purchase. So what exactly does
“do” state content look like? It really depends on the
business you’re in, and so I think the best way forward
here is for us to break down a couple of different types
of business organizations really at that purchase point and talk about how content plays a role
for those different types of businesses. The first one that comes to mind
the most obvious one to me although we do a lot of work in B2B so that’s probably why is is when you start talking about
B2B with a sales force because there oftentimes a lot of your
content marketing sort of shuts off at the point where the customer
or the prospect hits “do” because you don’t want to be providing
the wrong information for the buyer in that particular instance and if it’s a complex enough sale
to require a salesperson, chances are there’s a
variety of different ways that that salesperson can go in
different pieces of information for them to provide. So at this point we hand
the content delivery off from something like a
marketing automation system over to a salesperson
to deliver that content. So this is going to be
things like pricing guides, onboarding processes,
and products configurators. Is that a word?
Did we make that up? Possibly but that’s all right. But at the end of the
day these are things that are going to be offering utility
and ease that process, again help make that,
reinforce that buying decision that the choice you’re
making is the right one. And sometimes this content that is
provided to the sales contact, probably the decision maker but stuff they can use to
circulate within the office, so sometimes they are
sponsoring a project they need to get buy-in
from their boss or other stakeholders
within the organization. A lot of “do” state content
and your more complex B2B sales is really content that you can hand off
to somebody inside the organization to go and make that sale for
you to everybody else. That’s a really great point I think because when we create content we always want to create it with
a specific end user in mind but we have to realize that
when we get to “do” state we don’t necessarily always know
who is going to be the recipient of of what it is that we’re emailing. It’s not just emailing. It’s not just that it’s going
to who our contact is but it may be going to the
purchasing department, it may be going to someone
in the C-suite, there’s a whole range of people that
could be touching this document. So something to keep in mind as
we as we work on that collateral. Yeah. That’s where having
your personas buttoned up, having your customer journey
clearly documented and definitely involving the
sales team in that process because as a marketer we’re really not privy to what goes
on at that point in the sales process behind the closed doors
of our prospects, whereas sales has some insight into
how things get shopped around within the prospect’s business. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been
in a customer journey discovery meeting and something sales team has
introduced a roll or a persona that I never even would have imagined
was part of the purchase process and then they explain it and it’s like of course that you can’t
make the decision without this person so you’re right, having sales be part of
this discussion is key. So how do we measure this content
because it is being hand-delivered? I mean what’s the opportunities
for measurement? Yeah. So it’s a little complicated here because if you think about a PDF that
you are emailing them, a pricing sheet, you have no way to know once
that initial email is sent who that’s being shared with,
whether it’s being forwarded, whether it’s being – I worked in corporate world before, it gets printed out and literally
handed around the office, that does happen, there’s no way to track that. Yeah and so it can be really tricky to
do that measurement and optimization, there are some things
you can do though to help give you a little
bit of insight into this. First of all if you can make
your templates available the CRM system or the marketing
automation system that you’re using. So if you’re using something
like a Marketo or Pardot it’s easy to publish those templates
and push them through to the salespeople, so now they’re using
consistent copy, they are tweaking it for each cent but it’s starting with this
consistent boilerplate and a consistent subject line and ideally you’re linking off to that
content rather than attaching it. So now you can track
engagement with those links to know which pieces of content are
being used versus which ones are not. Yeah and when you’re
using tools like that, tools that let you track
engagement on sales emails you’ve got Marketo sales in sight,
Pardot’s Salesforce Integration they both let you send and track
emails from within Salesforce. I know on the Marketo side there’s
a number of sales insight reports that offer some really great insights
that you may not have otherwise. There are also tools, if you’ve got more of a
field sales organization, there are tools that let you arm
that field sales organization with electronic resources, right? They are on like an iPad or a laptop and many of those tools spit out
reports that nobody ever looks at but it would be – it can be really insightful to go
and take a look at which collateral that you are digitally loading
up your salespeople with, is actually getting
used on the field because it may surprise
you to find that some pieces are just not as
useful as most sales made, it sound like they would be two years ago
when they said they really needed it, right? And I think it’s important to make
sure that you’re working with sales and really measuring the usage
and engagement of that content and working with sales again to
update what’s not being used. Yeah and it’s hard because the data isn’t
going to be flowing – you are not getting
a deluge of data here, it’s going to be bits and pieces and so it can be very hard
to get signal within that because nothing’s really going to
be statistically significant, so you’re going to really be working
with a lot of anecdotal information from the sales team and trying to sift and parse
that to understand where is this one
salesperson’s quirk, where is this a general trend
within the organization? Where is there really a gap in content
that needs to be addressed and that’s a challenge, but having some of the hard data
from the systems to go and look at in addition to working with that sales
team is the best way to go about it. So that’s our B2B
with the sales force, but when we take a look at
B2B without a sales force these organizations are
out there and they exist and they feel like sometimes they
don’t get the love that they deserve and so can we talk about
them for a little bit and what their content looks like? Sure. These are usually
SaaS company, software-as-a-service companies and the Internet has given
the ability for B2B companies to now not even require
a sales force in some cases. Slack is a great example. So Slack as a tool that was sold B2B for
several years without any sales presence and today they still have
a very small sales force and I think that’s only
because they – some investors require that they
find some more sales channels to continue their growth, otherwise they could probably continue
for indefinitely without a sales team but when you hit that no sales
team to deliver the content it means you need to be providing
probably even more “do” state content out on your site for your buyers to engage in
and feel like they’re in control and feel like they’re informed
and make that buying decision. So similar to our B2B
with the sales force, this type of content is going to
be things like adoption guides, pricing comparisons,
onboarding price processes, anything that someone who is
getting ready to make this purchase is potentially looking for, either to reinforce the decision
they’ve already made or try and figure out kind of what
this is going to look like if they were to move forward because they want to feel comfortable
with the decisions that they’re making and again because you
don’t have that sales force this is primarily going to
be self-service content. The nice thing about it being
self-service content though is that it’s highly measurable, you have the ability to easily track
which content is getting downloaded, which pages are being read, which pages are being scrolled down, which onboarding videos are people
actually watching before they buy and chances are the purchase
decision is also online and so applying an attribution model
is relatively straightforward too. Now are you going to
have that deluge of data in order to be able to know
with statistical significance that these three videos are what
really helped somebody understand and feel confident to buy? Probably not. You’re going to be pushing it on how
long you need to be gathering data in order to be able to get something
that has any meaning and in some cases you’re just
going to know on the edges when something is truly
useless or a flop versus when something provided
some utility to somebody but some information
is better than nothing when you’re going through and
attempting to iterate and improve. Um-hmm So, I think this is a great place
for us to take quick break, so without further ado
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are important to you. And we are back. So, before the break we talked
a lot about “do” state content, why it’s important, and how it’s different
from other states. We talked about what our goals
are with “do” state content and what isn’t content marketing and we talked about B2B. Now I think it’s a good time
for us to break into B2C. We’ve got a lot of marketers out there
that are listening to the podcast who this is their target market, they are consumers and we’ve split this into two areas, what we call the ‘considered purchase’ and then kind of what we call
‘everything else.’ Do you want to talk about
‘considered purchase’? Everything else. Sure, sure. So considered purchase, these are consumer purchases that look
a little bit more like a B2B purchase in that generally there’s
a longer buying cycle and there are multiple stakeholders
within the household, so these are things like
when you go to buy a car or when you go to buy
a washer and dryer or even when you’re making
healthcare buying decisions, they’re not things you’re
going to do on a whim, they’re not things that
that you’re going to – decisions that you’re going to make
without involving a spouse in many cases and so they are
longer sales cycles and here everything
looks a lot like B2B. The big difference is your
audience is a lot bigger because everybody needs a washer and everybody, well, not everybody needs
a car but a lot of people need cars, everybody needs health care. So, your audience is going to be
a lot bigger for these purchases meaning that now your mediums for
your content are going to change. And because of that larger audience there’s a very good chance that
the “do” state content what consumers are looking
for to make this decision doesn’t actually belong to you. So, some great examples of
this are consumer reports, Angie’s List, these are all third-party or consumer
reviews that people are using to again help reinforce
that purchasing decision. Not all of that content is in other
people’s hands though. I think a really great example is
if you go out to ford.com, they have an entire section of their
site labeled Shopping Tools which includes product literature
and that sort of stuff that you’d get if you’re in a showroom but it also includes tools like
what is your trade-in worth, so you know that before
you walk into the showroom and other things you wouldn’t be
doing if you weren’t in that “do” state. So when we get to
measurement in iteration here we have a bit of a challenge in that the purchases are
often occurring offline while the engagement in the
content is occurring online and so we really are challenged
to try and figure out which pieces of the “do” content
were part of that journey. Do you want it explain that
a little bit more? Sure. So if you think about your process when
you go to purchase a washer or dryer you’re going to spend some time online taking a look at consumer
reviews on various sites, maybe you’ll find a blogger that
wrote up a really great write-up on comparing a couple of models
you were looking at, maybe you go to the
manufacturer’s website and take a look at the
detailed content there and you’ve figured out which one
you’re going to buy, you’ve got your spouse’s approval and then you go to the store
and you make that purchase. That purchase at the store has
no way of being tied back to all of your browsing
history online, right? It’s not like you’re going to buy
a washer and dryer online, some people do but most people are going to go down
to a store, take a look at the product, feel the knobs and make sure that it has exactly
the features that they’re looking for and that thing is an ugly as sin
and go from that route. So, it becomes two
completely different things. As a marketer we want to know
which of those research activities particularly the “do” state ones
contributed to that purchase but today it’s really hard
to connect those dots. There are a few companies that are
trying to take that offline behavior and tie it back to a purchase, usually tying it to a credit card
or some other data but that technology is still early
and it’s expensive and it’s not the most reliable. In the meantime that doesn’t
mean that you can’t get answers, it just requires a
little bit more work, so one way that you can do that is
surveying your buyers after the purchase to find out what they found most helpful
when they were making that decision. That can be a very effective
way to learn what’s working and maybe where there may be
opportunities to create new content that can better assist
buyers in the future. Yeah, if you create this whiz-bang tool
and nobody’s using it means that it’s not all that helpful
or they don’t know about it and that’s an opportunity to iterate
and improve upon that buyer’s journey. What about other B2C? What are we looking at there
the non-considered purchase or the inconsiderate purchase?
I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t know if
it’s inconsiderate but these are going to be those
split-second decisions that you’re making. A lot of times this is focused on
consumer packaged goods like toothpaste, for example, I’m not going to sit necessarily
and reference blog posts as I stand in line at Target trying
to figure out what to buy, I’m going to realize – I go to brush my teeth in
the morning and realize I cannot squeeze another
drop out of here and I’ve got to go to the store
before bedtime tonight so I can brush my teeth again and my decision is going to be from
when I realize I ran out of toothpaste until I pick that
product off the shelf and sometimes it’s
not even that long, sometimes it’s just when I look at my
list again and realize that it’s there. So this presents an interesting sort
of conundrum for marketers because our “do” content has to be
where the customer is shopping because that’s really the only time that they’re thinking about
this actual purchase and in here, space and time
are both very limited. Yeah. So examples in
an ecommerce context, this is the landing page
copy that you’ve written. If you look at uh physical purchases,
restaurants or stores, retail, this is your signage,
this is your packaging. So it’s a small little bit of space, not a ton of copy you
can put on there and quite frankly the consumer isn’t
going to take a whole lot of time to read it either, so it becomes key to make sure that
you are packaging it concisely, I’m sorry I can’t remember
words today, concisely and taking advantage of
what little influence you have. Yeah, it kind of forces as marketers to
rethink the concept of content marketing in that specific application and think what space do I have
to market to these people and taking advantage of all
of those opportunities, like you said whether its packaging,
whether it’s signage, sort of different elements
that you can put out there that can spark their attention
in that very short time span when they’re making that decision. Quite frankly this becomes
really hard to measure and really hard to iterate on and it’s an area that I think, I don’t know that we’ve
done a ton of work in and it really is a hard nut to crack. I think when we’re talking on the – we’re talking about e-commerce
on the landing page side, we’ve got some of those original,
those digital pieces in there that we can definitely iterate on
and we can measure and we can run tests but that’s a little bit harder when you get into your actual point-of
-sale position within the store so… Physical goods. Exactly, exactly, but it doesn’t mean that
it can’t be done, you just have to think a little bit more
outside the box to make it happen I think. Yes, yeah. So we talked about business-to-business, we talked about consumer goods, what about our nonprofit friends? Yeah, nonprofit is always its little
own unique being out there and it often gets overlooked but it’s very important to take into
consideration your “do” state when you are marketing good, right? Yeah, well and it’s interesting because when you’re talking about nonprofits and in a lot of cases you may
have multiple “do” state messages, you may have your small donors
versus your large corporate donors versus people who you’re asking
to volunteer their time whether that donation is a monetary
donation or physical goods donation, there’s a lot of different
ways that people can help and so you want to make sure that
you’ve got the appropriate message for the appropriate audience. In this case usually your
“do” state content is the content that accompanies the ask itself, so whether that’s again asking
for time or money or goods you’re going to want to provide
some content to put that donor or that volunteer in that
driver seat in control and usually it’s going to
be a connecting the dots between their actions or
their money and the good that you’re going to
accomplish with it. Here measurement and
iteration is possible and we kind of jumped back to some
of what we’ve talked about before in terms of A/B testing, this works both for
our electronic messages but also if we’ve got printed
content that we’re delivering, it’s very easy to print two different
versions and test those against each other to see if one gets more
donations than the other. And if you’re doing it electronically the same rules apply to coming back
to the B2B with the salesperson instead of a salesperson you
have a development person or you have a volunteer coordinator and in this case you’re going
to want to make sure that you avoid using PDF attachments
because they’re not trackable, you’re going to want to
give consistent templates so that you can split test
your different templates to see which ones result
in more engagement and you can track downloads to see which
downloads are getting used, etc., etc. Okay, so I think that
wraps up every scenario. I can’t think of anyone that
we’ve left off for this episode. I’m sure we have. You can let us know or email us at
[email protected] So when we talk about
“do” state content we need to remember that
it looks very different depending on what sort
of organization that you specifically are
marketing for that you work for. And how we measure and optimize
is going to be very different for each scenario as well and in often cases you don’t
really have enough data to do it in a formal statistical way. When you don’t have the
formal statistical way to do it surveys of buyers can be
very helpful in identifying what contributes to
that actual purchase and what was just noise
in the background. So I think that’s a wrap. I want to thank everybody
again for your time today and encourage you,
if you haven’t already pop out to iTunes
and leave us a review or wherever you’re getting this podcast
pop out and leave us a review. We love the feedback and it helps others find out
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[email protected] The Iterative Marketing Podcast is
a production of Brilliant Metrics a consultancy helping
brands and agencies rid the world of marketing waste. Our producer is Heather Ohlman with transcription assistance
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