As B2B marketers, we are often embroiled in control of the buying process because we treat it as a linear path with pre-defined touchpoints. We often try to control what content we deliver during the trip while recording the paths that we want potential customers to follow.
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The reality is that this inside-out approach is less effective – we need to move on to the realization that every buying journey a prospect takes is unique, and it is our job to enable them to make that journey on their own Way to track and provide them with the information that will help them make informed purchasing decisions.
Not only do we help buyers make informed decisions, but we also help them make decisions faster. To realize that customers are not following a linear process, we need to understand that they are accessing and engaging with content that resonates with them at that particular point in time, even if it means they are from an earlier stage of another Funnel originate. We must therefore look for ways to enable this navigation between stages and funnels in a unified experience, rather than trying to control what they see at what time and at what stage.
A program approach
At Demographica, we call this a programming approach that, in simple terms, is not defined by time, as opposed to the more general campaign approach that has a defined start and end date. A program view can consist of multiple marketing funnels with different content topics and goals. With the program view, however, users can access this content at any time and thus navigate through the buying journey themselves.
To enable a program view, the types of marketing technology and the architecture that informs their build must be aligned with this approach. For example, the lead scoring model, which scores a lead indicating the ideal time to involve sales, should be developed across funnels rather than at the funnel level. That way, the lead scoring can reflect a full view of the prospect, rather than at the campaign or funnel level.
One type of marketing technology that can play an important role here is personalizing websites like Personyze. This provides the ability to provide content recommendations to users using a combination of pre-defined recommendations overlaid with machine learning. The beauty of using this type of technology is that it takes into account the interests and behaviors of the audience, and learns what combinations of content will best lead to achieving the company’s goals. This allows users to define their own trip instead of defining the trip based on assumptions.
It is important to note that for this approach and types of technology to be effective, users must be served a variety of content at any given time. This increases the likelihood of delivering content that will resonate with a particular user, increases the speed at which uses move while traveling, and provides the machine with more information to learn, ultimately making better and more relevant content recommendations.
Therefore, this approach is often developed over time. However, it is very important to consider this approach from the start so that the content, user experience, and technology architecture are developed with this lens in mind.
With this approach, we can help users make informed purchasing decisions faster and more freely, rather than sending them down a path that we believe is best.