April 13, 2018
Account-based marketing (ABM), demand generation, social selling, channel marketing, go-to-market strategy, marketing mix, campaign execution and almost anything that today’s B2B marketer worries about hinges on having relevant content that engages your buyers. My colleague, Ryan Skinner, defines content marketing as:
A marketing strategy where brands create interest, relevance, and relationships with customers by producing, curating, and sharing content that addresses specific customer needs and delivers visible value.
Your company message sits at the pinnacle of your content marketing strategy, but so many marketers get “content that addresses specific customer needs” wrong.
To make your messaging matter, B2B CMOs and their marketing teams need to move messaging beyond branding, taglines, and elevator pitches to a consistent, companywide discipline. And your
messaging must stop talking about you, your company, your products, and offerings and talk more about what your customer need and the business outcomes they need to deliver. In fact, there is one key question you should ALWAYS make sure your message answers:
Why should your prospect/customer do anything different than what they are doing today? Why do they need to change their current approach or risk falling behind their competitors?
What specifically do they need to do instead? Why should they do it now? And why is your offering uniquely positioned to deliver that better way? (Notice what comes last in this list…)
Moving from value proposition to companywide discipline requires a messaging strategy. Lucky for you, Forrester has just the thing to help you create one and use it consistently to get your message across to selective, self-sufficient, persnickety, B2B buyers. Our Strategic Messaging Architecture (SMA) provides the framework to understand what truly motivates buyers, the discipline to connect what you do to the outcomes buyers want, and the framework to support this change.
The best B2B marketers keep company, product, and solution messaging focused on “why change” by following three guidelines:
- Build segment, account, and decision-maker messaging to help your target audiences grasp how your company and solutions can solve their specific business issues.
- Focus your internal messaging debate on what buyers want, why current approaches won’t get there, and why your solution/service represents a better approach that they can’t ignore.
- Keep messaging clear, direct, and comprehensive while highlighting how your approach differentiates you from the competition and offers significant reasons to change.
An SMA also unifies your sales content portfolio around content buyers want. It focuses sales content production on buyers’ interests and the outcomes they want to achieve. Content built from an SMA encourages the prospects most likely to buy relatively soon to engage in conversations about what they need. It also gives salespeople an authentic, interesting way to show how you can help.
Forrester offers a diagnostic to calibrate your messaging against the five levels of an SMA. Use it to keep messaging language, tone, and talking points from reverting back to just features and capabilities. Our six-point message review can also help baseline current messaging for clarity, problem definition, audience relevance, and competitive differentiation. Ask me or your account manager about this if you want to know more.