Show, Don’t Tell

Customers are getting further down the #decisionfunnel before contacting sales says James Rose @IBAPR http://ow.ly/mUnC303C3c0 Customers are getting further down the decision funnel before contacting sales

Blog: Actively demonstrate to prospects how your business is helping customers @IBAPR http://ow.ly/mUnC303C3c0 Actively demonstrate to prospects how your business is helping customers

Are you sending out the right signals to potential customers? James Rose @IBAPR suggests thought leadership pieces http://ow.ly/mUnC303C3c0 Are you sending out the right signals to potential customers?

It’s one of the ‘classic’ rules and often one of the first pieces of advice for an aspiring writer – show, don’t tell.

As useful as it is for writers and novelists, it’s a principle that B2B marketeers can also take on board to get influencers and prospects to sit-up and take notice.

Sure functionality is important, but the buying process is a long road. Are you going to share your specifications and list out the various functions all the way along it, until the customer buys from a competitor who is demonstrating what it’s doing using stories of how it’s helping its customers?

The ease of online research means that customers are getting further and further down the decision funnel before ever contacting a sales department. This is where the power of the right marketing and PR mix proves its worth.

Here are just two simple examples to form part of your content marketing strategy.

Momentum Signals – Customer Stories

These are a great way to show how your business is helping customers meet their business needs and exceed their goals. They provide tangible examples of what your business is actually doing, and that you are active – and successful – in your target markets.

It doesn’t need to be a full case study or lengthy customer testimonial, it can be a simple customer win story delivered to the right journalists. They form an important part of the pattern of signals you should be sending to demonstrate your success in target markets.

And stories about your business partners can work just as well. Announcing that you are working with new technology partners reminds potential prospects that you are on the front wave technological change, or signing a new strategic business partner can highlight that you are ramping up in some of your key markets or moving into new verticals.

It’s all about demonstrating your success with real examples, and keeping that all important momentum.

Demonstrating Field Leadership

Tap the expertise and knowledge within your business by sharing insights on industry topics, new innovations and key ideas, and you will begin to position company executives as opinion leading experts within your field.

Thought leadership in the form of by-lined articles, industry comments, blogs and how-to guides are perfect for demonstrating your expertise. Whether placed in magazines for that third party endorsement or shared over social media platforms, it will position your subject matter expert (SME) and your brand as a go-to resource for industry advice and a leader in your field.

But be specific. Identify your customers’ and prospects’ pain points. Show that you understand the issues they are facing and that you can provide the answers.

The key – as always – is to look at your communications from the point of view of the audience you are trying to reach. What is the value of your communications in their eyes? What signals are you sending out? Get this right, and when prospects reach the decision making stage, your company will be front of mind and in prime position.

James Rose is Head of Content Strategy at IBA International

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