We’ve written several times about the changing preferences of the modern-day consumer, and how these preferences are rendering the traditional sales funnel obsolete. In our multi-channel marketing world, consumers no longer follow a linear path from interest to conversion to close. Instead, consumers are researching online and on their mobile devices, attending events, participating in social conversations, and consuming more and more visual content like videos and infographics — and this has made marketing to the modern-day consumer anything but straightforward.
Most marketers understand the need to engage with their consumers on multiple channels, but they have a harder time figuring out how to do it, and how to do it on their consumers’ terms. While it used to be a matter of pushing marketing messages through various channels, today’s consumers are becoming less tolerant of messages that are forced onto them, and instead prefer to seek out content on their own time. According to Forrester Research, modern-day consumers will find three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece of content that is published by marketing or sales.
This is a pretty powerful statistic, and raises the question: how can marketers keep up when consumers are seeking out so much information on their own, especially when most marketers have such limited resources at their disposal?
The answer is a mix between personalized communications, lead nurturing, event attendance, and readily-available customer testimonials. Check out the list below for a few ways that you can cater to the modern consumer without maxing out your existing resources:
1. Automate (and personalize) communications using lead nurturing. Marketing automation is a bit of a paradox in that it personalizes your communications by automating them. And how exactly does that work, you may ask? By collecting buyer demographics and recording activities and behavior, marketing automation can tell you a lot about your consumers’ interests. This information can be used to segment, target, and personalize your communications in ways that you never could before. Instead of bombarding your consumers with information right from their first touch point, you can drip targeted and relevant content to them over time using lead nurturing, helping to increase engagement levels.
“It’s a lovely irony that to become more personal, B2B marketers need to become more automated.”
– Lori Wizdo, Forrester Research
2. Showcase customer testimonials and case studies. Since consumers spend so much time conducting research on their own before contacting the vendors that have caught their eye, it’s important to make the information they need readily available. For consumers in the middle of the research cycle, that information is customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies. No other content gives them such a candid look at your company and product, making customer testimonials some of the most persuasive pieces of content in your arsenal.
3. Create and promote objective content like buyers guides. When consumers are researching a product or service, they’ll often consult buyers guides for an unbiased look at all of their options (but keep in mind that while unbiased, each buyers guide will cater to the strengths of the company that created it). Having a buyers guide of your own readily available on your website means that consumers can consult it whenever they want during their research process. And better that they use your buyers guide than one of your competitor’s, right?
4. Attend industry events and trade shows. Since today’s consumers are taking a more active role in industry events, it’s important to have a presence at the trade shows or conferences that you know they will be attending. This gives your prospects the chance to come to you in person if they’d like to know more about your product or service. Talking to consumers at events can also give you greater insight into their interests, pain points, and motivations, which can help you personalize your future communications. (Want to know more about marketing automation and trade shows? Check out our free white paper or Slideshare presentation on the topic!)
Following these steps can ensure that you’re doing all you can to cater to the preferences and habits of the modern-day consumer. You can also check out our Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing for a complete look at the modern inbound marketing process. If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comments!