Long before the luxury of the Global Positioning System (aka GPS) guiding you every step of the way, there was such a thing called a map. We relied on it to get us from one place to another without getting lost.
Mapping your marketing content across the customer journey is an effort to accomplish that same objective; move customers from prospect to purchase (and beyond) without them getting lost or losing them in the process.
- Multiple stakeholders (i.e. buying committee) are involved in the buying process
- The buyers’ journey is more complex, which requires more mapping
- There are active roles outside of the buying committee to consider (i.e. tech staff, users, managers, etc) unlike the 1:1 customer experience in B2C
Prior to discussing mapping your marketing content to align with your customer journey, we have to first touch on the journey itself. You can’t map content without it.
A customer journey is the complete set of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company.
“Splitting the journey into standard and specialty tracks can minimize complexity for a majority of clients, resulting in easier journeys for clients and significantly lower costs.”
Below is an example showing the intricacies of a B2B journey map by Gartner.
For a comprehensive journey to be documented, here is a checklist of tasks that should first be in place:
- Buyers’ personas are clearly defined
- Roles (e.g. CXO, C-Suite, etc.)
- Line of business (sales, service, platform/IT, marketing)
- Industry/vertical (finance, healthcare, consumer goods, manufacturing, etc.)
- Business segment (enterprise, commercial, small business/SMB)
- Region (North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, etc)
- Buyers’ journeys, including influencers (i.e. those potentially on the buying committee), are mapped
- A loose outline noting how, when, and where buyers will engage with your content based on the journey maps
If you’re still working on what is listed, learn how we can help you start checking those boxes. If everything checks out, then you are ready to map your marketing content accordingly!
MAPPING MARKETING CONTENT
Your customer journey maps are your go-to resource for creating marketing content that is relevant and personalized.
It’s important to center your content around the buying stages.
There are three stages of content development and goals for each phase along the customer journey map:
- Building relationships – Prospect to Customer
- Evolving – Customer to Advocate
- Deepening – Advocate to Evangelist
Let’s examine each stage and the type of content that’s best for them.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS – PROSPECT TO CUSTOMER
This is the decision-making phase. Your future customers will move through discovery, awareness, consideration, and ultimately reach a decision.
At this point, your content should aim to educate, and eventually convert, your prospect into a customer.
Discovery. Deliver content that speaks your customers’ natural language and addresses their most pressing challenges. When creating at this phase, you want to be discovered, so consider paid and owned distribution channels. Also, your content should include search engine optimization (SEO), influencer stories, social media, and thought leadership pieces.
Awareness. Educate, inspire, and define relevant change in their world. Consider using owned and third-party channels. Touchpoints should include blogs, social media, ebooks, newsletters, and 3rd party events.
Consideration. Show how your solution(s) can help address their needs. At this point, use owned channels. Relate to prospects through your blog, social media, emails, newsletters, and/or direct mail.
Decision. Prove your solution(s) work to solve their problems. Support the business case or consensus with peer influencers and decision makers. Distribute through sales and your owned channels. Touchpoints include email, newsletters, sales support, and blogs.
EVOLVING – CUSTOMER TO ADVOCATE
Now that you have earned a new customer for your organization, let’s get them set up to use your solutions, master them, and grow.
Content should be focused on four things:
- Ease of onboarding (e.g. tutorials, content library); set them up to be successful with your solutions.
- Clarifying your product roadmap and how to fully adopt features & functionality to improve performance.
- Elevating skills and status with advanced content materials.
- Highlighting products and solutions to enable a 360 view of the customer. Help mobilize peer decision makers and executives in their company.
This can be done through blogs, webinars, newsletters, events, and emails.
DEEPENING – ADVOCATE TO EVANGELIST
Your customer is now ready to be your biggest advocate and share, refer, and evangelize on your company’s behalf.
At this level, your owned content must build credibility through insight and perspective of the industry. Be sure to feature customer stories and perspectives on your products and services.
Also, highlight known experts and fans of your company and amplify their original content on your channels.
DON’T FORGET A CALL-TO-ACTION (CTA)
Never leave your customers hanging. Now that you have guidance on how to map marketing content to align with your customer journey, it’s important to close the loop.
Always lead your prospects and customers to next steps with a strong call-to-action (CTA) – subscribe, learn more, get started, register, download – those things that urge your customer to do something. The goal is to help them become more and more successful with each click.
Remember to use your customer journey as your guide to successfully mapping and aligning your marketing content. This will result in time well spent on relevant content that speaks more specifically to your customers. The end goal is to keep customers from getting lost and losing them.
Read more about how to get started with customer journeys.