Editor’s note: This post was written by Millie Resnick, VP of Product Marketing at Bombora. It is based on key takeaways from a Bombora webinar featuring three content marketing specialists: Rachel Rickles (Senior Content Marketing Evangelist, LinkedIn), Hillary Lupo Carpio (Director of ABM, Snowflake), and Arturo Siguenza (Senior Manager, Brand, Citrix). View the full webinar.
Traditionally, B2B content has been developed and adapted with a few key parameters in mind—a specific industry, organization or buyer persona. While this content strategy is effective for awareness and brand recognition, the shift to account-based marketing (ABM) requires content creation to evolve from content that speaks to demographic profiles to content that addresses exact business needs.
In an ABM paradigm, it’s all about building and categorizing content according to your target buyers’ real-time challenges, needs and interests. In turn, this ensures engagement at a much deeper level and when it matters most. While ABM content will differ by campaign, there are a few best practices to incorporate across the board.
Here are three principles for building compelling content for an ABM strategy:
Capture the Committee, Not the Individual
When you first look to engage a potential buyer with a piece of content, it’s crucial to remember it’s not about targeting an individual within an organization, but rather the buying committee. According to Gartner, there “may be six to 10 people involved in any given B2B purchasing decision.”
This buying committee might involve individuals from various functions and levels within the organization. It’s also possible the key decision-makers in the committee will change as you move through the buying journey. Tools, like intent data, can help you get a read on signals from various members of the cohort throughout the journey. Ultimately, using tools like this will help B2B marketers build a content plan that meets decision-makers’ active interests.
Advocate for Empathy and Active Listening
It’s imperative to flip your brand from talking to listening mode. This switch creates more empathetic, relevant content that responds directly to your prospect’s immediate challenges and aligns with what they are thinking, feeling, saying and doing.
There are multiple tools and methods that can help you inject more empathy into your content creation. You can go on listening tours with your existing buyers or source the most frequently asked questions and challenges from your sales and customer success teams. There are also empathy map templates in the market that you can use to visualize your buyers’ needs. Additionally, you can leverage intent data to understand the topics buyers are researching and develop content that’s hyper-personalized to their current needs.
Align Content to a Nonlinear Journey
The buying journey is messy; it’s not always linear. This challenge is compounded by the fact that in the digital age, content can be easily shared and dispersed, sometimes causing engagement signals to be misleading and not necessarily indicators of potential buyers.
For that reason, it’s imperative to avoid a siloed approach in building content, one that’s based on each stage of the funnel. Instead, look at how content can add value and directly meet the pain points and challenges a buyer might encounter along the way.
To apply these content creation principles to your ABM strategy, it’s important for marketing and sales to be aligned on goals, roles and responsibilities. With clearly defined lanes for who is responsible for content strategy, development, delivery and reporting, there’s lots of opportunity to test, optimize, and iterate your way into a world-class ABM-powered marketing experience for buyers.
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