eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale
By Ardath Albee
Ardath Albee has written a solid reference text of logical strategies that validate the value of intelligent content. Through six different sections, Albee breaks down the concept of eMarketing and its strategic rewards for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. Content strategy is based on the premise that B2B buyers begin their decision-making process with online searches for prospective vendors. Marketing’s job is to assist sales by guiding prospects further along the buying process by producing more qualified buyers.
Albee makes a case for B2B marketers to shift their thinking to becoming publishers of a variety of content channels to broaden prospect reach. Because the buying process has evolved from sales rep visits and calls to reviewing online resources, B2B companies should address and increase their website content. When prospects show up bearing questions, it is essential to have the answers. A B2B business must be recognized as a source of information. Relevant, contagious content not only pulls prospects into the pipeline, it creates a sense of trust and loyalty that allows sales to enter the conversation.
Albee challenges B2B marketers to learn about their customers through the use of buyer personas. “A persona is a composite sketch representative of a type of customer you serve.” They extend beyond generic demographics and seek to bring the persona to life with job-situation details, responsibilities and influences on buying decisions. Knowing personas will transform the way you think and talk with your prospects and customers, Albee says. Content development will become more relevant and personalized because you are joining a conversation with a familiar contact, not a stranger. Albee suggests personalizing content based on personas using marketing automation systems that drip nurtured messages along the decision cycle.
Part IV is packed with explanations and applicable steps to creating contagious content and competitive differentiation. Marketers tend to use “gobbledygook,” or jargon and terminology that may mask the message to the buyer. Just like it sounds, contagious content gains the attention of prospects and prompts them to spread the message to others. It differentiates your company because it is clearly focused on your prospects’ priorities. Your company advances as having recognized value, which is shared.
eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale encourages B2B marketers to develop buyer relevant, education focused, convenient, compelling, story-based content. Content development should be viewed not as an overwhelming and expensive task, but a required effort to propel marketing and sales results. With actionable suggestion, Albee emphasizes that a well-planned, integrated-content marketing strategy can result in more content with less effort.
I highly recommend this book for B2B marketing pros who need to understand how to engage powerful eMarketing solutions in today’s Web 2.0 space.