HOW DISRUPTIVE CONTENT BUILDS STRONGER CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS (AND FASTER BUSINESS RESULTS)

People hear the term ‘disruption’ and their minds jump to lifestyle brands—the B2C companies who are reshaping industry standards by delivering new business models or innovative products and services. Brands like Uber and AirBnB have made a living off of this term, and understandably so.

When we talk about ‘disruptive content’ though, we mean something entirely different. For us, disruptive content is a means by which B2C and B2B organizations alike can deliver timely, alluring, and relevant digital experiences that interrupt a customer’s normal day to engage with them on a deeper level.

A great example of this is a recent campaign by Citrix to promote their web video conferencing product, GoToMeeting. Citrix understood that a major challenge among their target audiences was that they were wasting money and productivity in unnecessary in-person meetings.

The “Meeting MVP” campaign provided these customers with a series of disruptive content pieces that acutely focused on this need, including comical TV and digital video to draw attention, an interactive assessment to measure their current business state, and a tip sheet that positioned GoToMeeting as a solution for this all too common problem and prompted them toward a free trial.

In today’s fast-paced, digitally cluttered business environment, getting your brand on the radar of customers and prospects is harder than ever. Brands must earn the right to a few precious minutes of their business prospect’s time and pay that off with an experience that delivers value. For many organizations, disruptive content offers a path toward stronger customer relationships and studies have shown that by taking the time to plan content strategy efforts, businesses can achieve:

  • 28% increase in campaign response rates
  • 50% increase in conversion
  • 25% growth in pipeline value
  • Shorter sales cycles by 2 to 3 months

USING DISRUPTIVE CONTENT TO DRIVE AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

Brands have created content at an almost nauseating rate in a race to capture audience attention, making it extremely difficult to cut through the clutter.

A major benefit of disruptive content is that it engages customers and business prospects at a creative, emotional level rather than analytically. This isn’t to suggest that disruptive content isn’t data-driven. Rather, it focuses on the fact that to truly influence today’s digitally-savvy customers, marketers need to artfully weave stand-out creative concepts with refined campaign messages in a way that captivates attention.

More than that, disruptive content should surprise and delight customers when they least expect it. Shaking up the status quo requires meeting individuals in somewhat unusual channels or touchpoints. The whole point is to stand out, not blend in. What’s vital though is to consider what types of digital experiences will resonate most.

For B2B marketers in particular, it’s important to pay especially close attention to an audience’s preferred content types. According to a study by SiriusDecisions, 47% of buyers will view 3 to 5 pieces of content before ever contacting a sales representative. As traditional sales cycles continue to evolve and ABM strategies steadily gain traction, marketers must put an added emphasis on creating content that customers will likely share with their colleagues in order to influence buying decisions.

BUILDING BRAND CREDIBILITY BY FOCUSING ON CUSTOMER NEEDS

Of course, disruptive content is more than just creative execution—it’s about delivering the right value at any given moment of the customer lifecycle.

At R2i, we care deeply about the customer journey. We believe that successful campaigns are built upon aligning your brand’s content and digital experiences with the needs of your target audiences. Disruptive content is no different. To be successful, brands must first do their due diligence with audience identification, persona research, content audits, and customer journey maps. Only by peeling back these layers to discover a customer’s true motivations can brands deliver personalized experiences that address keystone challenges and build trust.

The key here is developing customer-focused content that speaks to the value your organization provides. Customers don’t want a sales pitch. They want an experience that helps them understand how your business helps solve their challenges and reach their goals.

ACCELERATING THE BUYING PROCESS

By capturing audience attention and addressing their specific challenges, brands can build customer engagement and brand credibility. To accelerate the buying process, though, there must be a commitment to technology.

With tools such as predictive modeling, ABM platforms, and integrated customer-data management, brands can utilize their martech stack to amplify campaigns to the right audience groups during the marketing moments that matter most and nurture them through the sales cycle. It’s important that marketers collaborate with Sales, Operations, and other internal stakeholders to identify the right platforms that will power disruptive content initiatives as well as other demand creation programs.

WHERE TO BEGIN

To start building disruptive content, brands must first determine whether they have the tools, tactics, and teams in place to create emotive, customer-first digital experiences. Ask yourself:

  1. Does your content differentiate your business from competitors?
  2. Do you have the resources to develop and test new concepts?
  3. How well do you truly know your audience? What type of persona research do you have to determine overlapping traits and qualities?
  4. Can you deliver experiences across touchpoints that not only help customers, but are contextually relevant?
  5. What technology platforms do you have in place to capture audience data, personalize content messages, and predict future interactions?

Ultimately, the purpose of disruptive content, like any marketing approach, is to support revenue goals. By creating digital experiences that satisfy audience needs at any given moment of their buying journey, companies aren’t just driving customer engagement---they’re setting themselves up success.

About the Author: Duane Walker

As VP Client Development for the Microsoft account, one of Duane’s key responsibilities is to continuously add value for Microsoft by staying on top of trends that Microsoft B2B marketers could leverage to create mutually-profitable customer experiences. With a keen eye on the horizon and 15 years under his belt working with Microsoft, Duane is adept at taking a strategic approach to help our Microsoft clients solve some of their most difficult B2B marketing challenges.

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