By Mike Stiles on Sep 03, 2013
I know, you want all your content to please everybody and
make them all want to buy your stuff that instant. That would be cool. But once we come back from daydream land, we
should grasp that all content is not the
same. All content is not made for the
same purpose. And all content is not
made for the same audience.
Have you ever shopped for a car and within 10 minutes of
being on the lot were asked by the pushy salesperson, “Hey, what do I have to
do to get you in this car today?” Maybe you’re just researching. Maybe you’d like some info or a test drive
first. The salesman hit you with the
wrong message at the wrong time. His
content was not crafted for or aimed at the target.
Annoying, yet as brands, we’re doing this every day,
sometimes multiple times a day. We’re
making whatever content we can, then throwing it out there to see if anything
sticks. Content should be aimed at a specific audience with specific problems,
goals, emotions and motivations.
Just as there’s a sales funnel (which has actually shifted
into a sales cycle or buying journey), there should be a corresponding content
funnel that respects and acts on where the intended consumer of that content is
in the buying journey. Do that and
you’ll wind up with something you might not have at the moment…a content
Most organizations do this by developing
personas. Note that “personas” is
plural. There are a lot of different stages, motivations and variables in the buying
cycle. Creating content customized and
accurately targeted to each is a huge task…one that comes at a time when most
brands are struggling
just to create quality content at all.
Which is all the more reason to make sure the content you are
going to resource and make will be as effective for you as possible. That means intimately knowing whom you’re
talking to via data and social
listening tools, learning how likely a prospect they are, predicting
through analytics what questions they have, and serving up content that will
move them into the next stage of the cycle where further targeted content
Remember, a significant amount of the decision-making
process is already done by the time actual contact is made with the
vendor. Customers at the top of the funnel are information
gathering, staying in the shadows as much as they can. Their openness to your product and message is
quite different here than it would be closer to the sale. Even the wording of your messaging must take
into account that prospects have a different relationship with you at each
stage, just as in real life.
Six Revisions has a really nice snapshot of what the content funnel looks like at each stage.
*Awareness: the customer is becoming aware of your company, so content answers very general questions about your space or industry.
*Interest: their curiosity about you is piqued, so content answers questions about the product.
*Desire: they want your product, now content should move it from their wish list to their to-do list.
*Action: they’re doing what it takes to buy it, so content should answers purchase and service logistics.
A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” is the biggest unscripted show in cable history and close to becoming the biggest cable show in history period. If your content can be mass appeal and that successful, knock your lights out. But for marketers, success means conversion of unaware all the way to purchase, and that takes a lot more personalization.