Marketing should be about answering two simple questions:
- What problem do you solve?
- For whom?
Ok, so that didn’t really help very much, did it? So let me explain in more depth. As marketing professionals, we have a challenge that we really have two sets of interactions:
Rarely in traditional marketing channels do these to interactions meet. Awareness marketing has traditionally been about brand awareness, solution awareness, or about catching their interest around a particular business problem. Interest was sales support and focused on educating them to become more interested, qualifying their interest, or interesting them to buy today.
Well, in BtoB marketing those are increasingly colliding. I can go into the detail, but I have been writing about the impact on social media on marketing for a number of years now. The pain in marketing is pretty self-evident. But, the challenge for BtoB marketers is that we are rarely able to just focus on one priority. We have competing priorities at best. Conflicting priorities is the norm.
For example, I use the large company with the 150 products. How do you target to a particular problem on your website when you have hundreds of different buyers and thousand scenarios? You can be reduced to a navigation that is a list of products… think Forest Gump’s buddy listing the types of shrimp he would sell…. fried shrimp, steamed shrimp, shrimp gumbo, shrimp scampi, etc… Yeah, most buyers will take the time to figure it out and go to the specific product page they need…. Or not….
The alternative example is the highly technical website that has every technical nuance of the few number of product(s)… the website equivalent of – “How was the show, Mrs. Lincoln?” 30,000 books later, “pretty good until Abe was shot…” or 3 hours later “the titanic sank.” Sometimes, we need the summary of the “why?” and the “what?” before the “how?” What I have described is the equivalent of the goldilocks and the three bears? – too much, not enough, and just right. Where is the just right, you ask.? Here is our example of the “what’ and the “whom”….
“We assist BtoB technology companies (whom) identify when buyers enter their market and subsequently assist in the targeting and engagement to identify, qualify, and mature likely buyers as they progress through their adoption process.”(what)
For marketers, the ability to understand when business buyers decide to begin their buying process (pain threshold) is a mystery on par with the early explorers trying to find the mystical source of the Nile. The complexities of the market – technology, organizational structures, education levels, symptoms, and the complexities of their technology solution all conspire to prohibit the visibility. Like the downstream communities dependent upon the Nile for life, the idea of predicting when the Nile would flood and when it would shrink in drought, marketers are dependent upon predicting what demand will be like in the market.
Social media analytics provides us the tools for measurement, but not the intelligence for mapping the source of buyer demand. Data without a model to segment and map the differences in buyer demand is just a flood of data. Upstream flood of data just means a downstream flood of useless “leads” to filter. If you could model buyer demand and segment based upon the differences in pain, you could then model a buying process to channel those buyers into the right process for their needs.
The “right” size for the Goldilocks’ problem for our marketing is to have a buyer problem-centric website that is the right size for each buyer based upon their specific problem. Buyers start and end with their own problem, not some laundry list of solutions. Most buyers aren’t educated on the problem, let alone the technical nuances. If you can map the differences in the market, you alleviate both the catalog problem and the too technical for simplicity problem with many websites today.