Why You Need to Create Your Customer Personas NOW

A foundational element of successful B2B marketing that isn’t new but has been gaining more attention lately is the concept of Customer Persona(s).  With the move to digital-first marketing over the past year, competition for your prospects’ attention has grown exponentially.  If you aren’t 100% sure who you want to target, what their pain points are, how your solution can help them, and where to find them – your message will get lost in the shuffle.

 

Has anyone ever walked you through exactly what goes into a Customer Persona – or Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) – and how to build one?  Do you know how to use it once it’s built?  You’re not alone.  In this article, we will answer the most common questions we receive:

 

  1. What is a Customer Persona – or ICP?
  2. Why is it so important?
  3. How do I create one?
  4. How do I make it actionable?

 

What is a Customer Persona and why is it SO important? 

 

A Customer Persona (ICP) is a snapshot of your ideal customer.  While it is not created based on an actual person, the information that goes into it is based on the customers you already have – or would like to target.  It includes all the information you would gather when building a relationship with a sales prospect.

 

Customer Personas are extremely important because they allow your Sales and Marketing teams to align on who they are targeting, why and how.  Based on this persona, they can tailor their messaging, ad campaigns, sales emails and content to address your ideal customers’ specific needs and concerns.  You can – and should – have multiple ICPs according to how you segment your customer base.  For example, you may have three different solutions for three different industries – and each industry should have its own ICP.

 

A Customer Persona that few people talk about – or even know exists – is a Negative Persona.  Similar to negative keywords in a Google AdWords campaign, you create a Negative Persona in order to exclude a particular type of customer from your target list.  Two of the most common types of negative personas are:  a) customers who are too early stage or advanced, and b) customers who are too expensive (negative ROI) to acquire.

 

How do I create a Customer Persona?

 

Creating a Customer Persona is not difficult if you have a good template (and you are in luck, because we provide two examples of our WIZ Advisors template below!).  The basis of your Customer Personas should come from market research and/or a deep dive into your current customer base.

 

Below is a list of the data points that are typically included.

 

  • Demographics – age range, gender, geography, education level, marital status, household income
  • Position and Level of Seniority – their title, where they fall in their company’s hierarchy and their purchasing power
  • Identifiers and Day-in-the-life – what does their typical day look like and how would your product or service fit, demeanor, preferences about how they receive content
  • Main source for research / education – internet search, professional publications, social media, online communities
  • Pain Points and how you can help solve them – do they know they need what you have to offer yet? How do you convince them?  Why are they dissatisfied with their current product or service?
  • What are their goals – obtaining lower price, faster go-to-market solution, greater competitive advantage
  • What common objections might they voice about your product or service? – price, delivery speed, already have something I’m fine with
  • Quotes from your current prospects/customers about goals, challenges, etc.

 

Here are two Customer Personas (ICPs) we created at WIZ Advisors for our target customers.

 

 

How do I make a Customer Persona actionable?

 

You’re likely thinking, “OK, great – I’ve created my Customer Persona – now how do I use it?  As we mentioned in the introduction, you are creating these ICPs to align your sales and marketing teams towards gaining your prospects’ now VERY limited attention.  Once you have your ICPs built, you can start creating targeted advertising, content and sales emails that address your ICP’s specific pain points.  Your prospects will say, “wow, these guys really understand me.”  They will trust you more right off the bat, because you have taken the time to know who they are and what they really need.

 

You can also use your Customer Personas in conjunction with your Buyer’s Lifecycle Stages to create highly targeted content at each lifecycle stage – and reach the right customer at the right time. (If you haven’t seen our Content Across the Buyer’s Lifecycle Infographic, click here to download.  It provides great examples of the various types of content that you can use for each lifecycle stage.)   By creating a portfolio of content based on your ICPs, you will create a smooth path to purchase and shorten the sales cycle.

 

And lastly, your ICPs will tell you where your prospects go to learn, get educated and network.  You will use those locations to target your advertising or write content for publication in order to reach the audience you want.

 

We hope this article has provided you with the knowledge and tools to create personas for your own business.

 

Please reach out to us anytime with questions as you build them.  We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

The State of B2B Marketing in 2021

What’s Your Digital Marketing Strategy in 2021: “Wait and See” or “All-In”?

There was no one-size-fits-all B2B marketing strategy in 2020.

 

As an B2B Agency owner, I get a bird’s eye view into marketing trends, client strategies and changing budgets.  The first half of 2020 was a “wait and see” time for many B2B businesses.  No one knew whether the worldwide pandemic would be temporary or permanent, and B2B decision makers were unsure how their sales would be impacted.  As a result, many chose to cut their marketing budgets - some up to 50% - to preserve cash flow.  Their marketing activities centered around driving/maintaining brand awareness through quality content and search engine optimization (SEO), email and social campaigns, and referral partnerships.

With uncertainty and unrest continuing in the second half of the year, a focus on “survival” continued.  However, businesses in growth industries like Amazon and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based technology, doubled down on their marketing investments.  Given an increasing need for their products, services and distribution, these businesses increased their marketing budgets to drive higher brand awareness and preference.  They implemented a combination of tactics - paid ads, sponsored webinars, online video, chatbots, influencers, blogging and social media.  Those that did not have a marketing automation platform in place, licensed one – so they could execute campaigns across their website, email, social channels, and Google Ads from one place, and measure the success of their efforts in directly driving revenue.

The “digital-first” sales & marketing model is here to stay.

 

While the economy remains in a state of flux, one thing is clear.  We are in a digital-first world.   McKinsey’s report from October 2020 confirmed that only 20-30% of buying/selling activity was happening in-person, and there seem to be no complaints from customers. 70-80% of B2B decision makers now prefer remote or digital self-service (see chart below).  The reasons they state are ease of scheduling, savings on travel expenses, and safety.

 

The same McKinsey report highlighted the growing belief that a digital-first model has become MORE EFFECTIVE at reaching and serving customers.  In April, 54% of companies believed that the digital-first sales model was “equally or more effective”.  In October, that number had grown to 75%.

What does that mean for B2B marketing in 2021?

As the trends illustrate, 2021 should be the year for B2B brands to go all-in on digital marketing.  If you are one of those businesses still in “wait and see” mode, you need to commit.

Start by investing in your website.  Your website is now the center of your brand identity.  Make sure that your home page not only projects your brand story but is simple and easy to navigate.  Every visitor to your website will be searching for answers to one or more of these five questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • How can you help me?
  • Why should I buy from you vs. every other company in your space?
  • How do I contact you?

One of the best ways to build credibility and promote yourself as a thought leader in your industry is to consolidate your content in one place on your website – a “Content Library” - and provide a mix of promotional and educational content.  Did you know that before B2B decision makers talk to a salesperson, they will have read at least 10 pieces of content?  Make it easy for them to find yours by housing it all in a well-structured “Content Library.”

Which digital marketing tactics are working best right now to drive leads?  WIZ Advisors employs a combination of:

  • high quality content on your website,
  • social posts and participation in online communities,
  • paid Google, LinkedIn and Facebook ads,
  • sponsored content (webinars, articles, CEO interviews) on third party sites,
  • email marketing that directs your audience to relevant content or offers on your website, and
  • online influencers if relevant.

If you don’t use a marketing automation platform already, invest in one that allows you to execute and measure results across all of the digital platforms above from one place.

Is offline marketing dead?  Not at all.  A campaign that includes direct marketing can be wildly successful if you segment your prospect list and focus on prospects who are most likely to purchase (given the higher cost).  Consider adding a QR code on a postcard or letter that takes the customer to a customized URL for a personalized offer.

A lot of things remain uncertain in 2021, but your B2B marketing strategy shouldn’t be one of them.  Go all-in on digital.  With the right brand positioning, website, digital tactics, and integrated marketing platform, you will be well positioned for success.

Brand Trust – The Key for B2B Success in 2021

Three Reasons Why Brand Trust is So Important NOW

Reason #1: Buyers see a bigger need for brand trust today than in the past - and are much more skeptical.

Brand trust has become extremely important to buyers. In Edelman’s Brand Trust Study 2020 – COVID Update, 70% of buyers say that trust is more important now than in the past.  Why?  In Edelman’s previous brand report last September, U.S. respondents shared the following:

  • Brands now have my personal information in their databases (43%).
  • There is so much fake news and false information on the Internet (42%)
  • I am facing financial struggles and when I do spend, I need to make sure I am making the best decisions (33%).
  • The pace of product innovation makes it more important to choose the right provider (27%).

When asked about factors that are MOST important in choosing one brand over another, 80% of respondents said, “trusting a brand to do what is right.”  

Trust is more important to Millennials and Gen Z than other generations.  Four statistics from the Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey , pictured below, accurately reflect these generations’ diminishing trust in businesses.  Of note are their beliefs that businesses (a) are not “committed to helping to improve wider society” and (b) have “no ambition beyond making money.” 

Reason #2:  Prospects will not talk to you until they trust you.

B2B marketers know that building trust with prospects and customers is key to success.  However, what we sometimes forget is that data on most aspects of our businesses are readily available online, with a quick and easy Google search.

In GE Retail Banks’s Major Purchase Study in 2019, they found that 80% of consumers go online to conduct research before a purchase – up 20% from 2018.  They also found that consumers on average spend 79 days conducting research before purchasing a major product or service.  When researching a brand, they may ask peers about you, go to your website, read an analyst report, check out your social media posts, search for customer reviews, watch a product video or webinar.  They will take time to build their own level of trust in your brand before reaching out to you or responding to your calls and emails.

The latest Hubspot Sales 2020 Statistics validate that buyers prefer to wait until the Consideration Stage before connecting with a salesperson.

Reason #3:  The importance of building brand trust boils down to the rewards.

With trust such a vital prerequisite to purchase, the rewards are well worth the effort.  As this below chart from the Edelman’s 2020 study illustrates, brand trust leads to higher sales, loyalty and advocacy.

Buyers will even go out of their way to defend your brand if/when needed.

So how do you build brand trust?  Read WIZ Advisors' 5 C's of Brand Trust.

LinkedIn for Lead Generation – A Guide for B2B Companies

Why LinkedIn is Essential for B2B Lead Generation – November 2019

Introduction: Why LinkedIn for Lead Generation?

With over 600 million users, LinkedIn has become the ideal place for social selling. It has the right mix of professional and personal that allows businesses to sell to potential clients in a channel where they will be most receptive. That is why reaching out to people on LinkedIn is much more effective: response rate (inbox messages, connection requests, content engagement) is an impressive 30-40%. Social selling is the future of sales.

If you’re a B2B marketer, your customers are undoubtedly doing research online before they buy.  In fact, the average decision maker reads 10 pieces of content before finalizing their purchase decision. Great content on LinkedIn can lead B2B decision makers back to your site as well. On average, 46% percent of social media traffic coming to B2B company sites is from LinkedIn. With LinkedIn’s advanced audience targeting capabilities, you can ensure that increased traffic is qualified, meaning it contains those most likely to convert into leads. Fully 93% of B2B Marketers consider LinkedIn the most effective site for generating leads.

Some additional reasons why LinkedIn is ideal for B2B lead generation:

  • LinkedIn adds 2 new members every second — so you are likely to find the right person, or people, you are looking for.
  • There are 2 billion member updates per week — which makes it easy to find what potential targets are talking about, interested in, and sharing.
  • You can stay in touch with your network of potential leads at scale through your own content and content you engage with, e.g. commenting on posts.
  • LinkedIn users are using the platform to network, so outreach naturally becomes warmer versus sending out a cold email that you didn’t have permission to solicit.
  • LinkedIn is a platform that enables you to forge meaningful relationships by revealing connection paths between your company and your target account that you can leverage for a warm introduction.
  • And finally, LinkedIn allows you to build a network of potential customers, followers, brand enthusiasts, etc. that will engage with your content and help you establish and scale your brand.

5 Tips to Get Started

If you are not already using LinkedIn for lead generation (shame on you), here are five quick and easy tips to get started:

  1. Define Your Niche Determining your target buyer(s) is probably the single most important prerequisite.  This step is not directly related to your LinkedIn account, but is essential to drive high quality prospects.
  2. Optimize Your Profile - Before connecting on LinkedIn, make sure you have a strong and clear profile. This is your online business card and the first thing people see when they find you.
  3. Post Weekly (Daily if Possible) Status Updates -You should aim to publish at least once a week on LinkedIn to keep your name synonymous with industry expertise and news.
  4. Get Recommendations – Ask coworkers or happy clients to write a recommendation that appears in your profile.  This validates your ability to solve industry pain points.
  5. Leverage Your Marketing Team - Your company’s marketing department should be generating new content and collateral to help you earn trust with leads and close deals. Check in with marketing frequently to see what new content or campaigns they have on their calendars, and how you can frame it on LinkedIn to drive sales conversations.

9 Steps to Generate High Quality Leads

Once your profile has been optimized, you are ready to find your ideal customer.

  1. Build Your Search Query – Your search query starts with your buyer personas. A buyer persona is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer, which typically includes customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.” If you have a buyers persona, use your ideal buyer’s attributes to define your search criteria.  If you don’t have one – or access to one – just think through these three elements:  industry, company size and job role.  From search results in Sales Navigator or LinkedIn’s general search, open only profiles that match your segmentation criteria. (The next section “6 Sales Navigator Best Practices” will walk you through that tool.)
  2. Request a Connection - Once you've created your search query and built a list of prospects, it’s time to connect. This is probably the most demotivating part, as you'll need to make 100 connection requests per day if you want to drive results. (Note:  If you are utilizing Account-Based Marketing techniques, quality not quantity is important.  Determine the right decision makers at your target accounts and utilize LinkedIn requests to reach them.)  Some of them may ignore the request and the ones who do connect may never engage in a conversation.  But over time, this process yields results (see #8).  The connect request should be accompanied with a message that, listen carefully, does not sell ANYTHING. “People like to buy, but they don't like to be sold to”.  This introductory message will start your “drip sequence”, and should say something like:
“Hi [first name], I came across your profile and I decided to reach out because… [share something you have in common or how you liked something they posted].  – Your Name, Your Company, Your Tagline.”

 

 

 

IIMPORTANT:  Why put your company’s tagline at the end of your messages? You want people to associate you and your company with what you can do for them.

  1. Say Thank You - Once someone has accepted your request, send them a “thank you for connecting” message. Don't forget to add your tagline at the end - and again, don't sell anything.
  2. Send something useful -If you haven’t received a response from your prospects; provide them with something of value. Take a look at the prospect’s profile and look for an interesting article you think they might find useful. The more you engage in a casual, human way, the more they will trust you.  No one will respond to you if you try to sell them your product or service right away.  Don’t forget to end it with your name, company and tagline.
  3. Ask for a call -In the last step of the drip sequence, message your potential prospect and ask them to jump on a call.  Explain why you want the call.  Stay casual and friendly and emphasize the benefits of a quick chat.  Again, don't forget to put your tagline after your name.
  4. View profiles This is a great tactic that doesn’t involve sending your prospects anything.  If you’ve been on the platform for any length of time, you know that LinkedIn sends notifications every time someone views your profile.  One of your prospects might be curious and click your profile from the alert they receive, and if they need a product or service like yours at that particular moment, they might contact you.  We’ve seen it happen– a lot!
  5. Post Content  This step is crucial. Why?  There are 9 billion content impressions in the LinkedIn feed every week.  And, out of 250 million monthly active users on LinkedIn, only 3 million share content weekly.  That means 3 million users are getting 9 billion impressions every week – or 3,000 impressions per post.  Think about that for a millisecond - and get posting!
  6. Keep engaging -Don’t sell - just talk to prospects, build a relationship, and see how you can help each other. This is a slow process and might not bring any quick leads but you're in this for the long run.  Even if your prospects don't need your services right away, they are going to think about you in the future. Or they might recommend you to someone in their network.
  7. Don’t Use Automation Tools- This is HUGE.  Your account can get permanently blocked if LinkedIn detects non-human activity from your account.  Sure - automation tools save you a lot of time but they can also derail your entire effort.  If you don’t have the time to build a LinkedIn pipeline (which is understandable), hire a contractor or outside firm to help (like WIZ Advisors – shameless plug).

6 Sales Navigator Best Practices

LinkedIn is a treasure trove of detailed knowledge on potential buyers – and Sales Navigator makes that knowledge actionable with automated tools.

Here are six best practices we’ve collected from utilizing the platform to generate leads for our B2B clients.

  1. Use Premium Search Filters to build a target prospect list based on personal or organizational parameters. You can sort by a number of factors — including geography, sector and company size — and scope the size of each opportunity by filtering by company revenue.  Look for names on accounts where you have a 1st or 2nd-degree connection for a warm introduction opportunity.
  2. Load the list into Lead Builder and filter further by titles to identify the right decision-makers. Use the In Common panel in their Profile to determine what you may have in common with that LinkedIn member. You can also learn more about the prospect by checking out these sections: Following, Groups and Volunteer Experience & Causes.  “Endorsements” in the Skills & Expertise section provides an understanding of what each prospect does well. Use this information in your introductions.
  3. Use Lead Recommendations to receive leads based on presets and saved searches. It will allow you to:  see similar decision-makers and influencers at other companies, have new leads automatically flow into your email, look at the recommended decision-makers and influencers within your target accounts that Navigator sends, and identify new leads.  Open the lead’s profile by clicking on his/her name, or save the lead in Contacts for follow-up later.
  4. Save your TeamLink Searches to keep you updated on your targeted leads’ professional lives. Set up a notification to know when your prospects move to other companies, and follow the same steps as above to start a conversation.
  5. Use Sales Navigator’s Out-of-Network Profile Unlocks to help you uncover hidden leads. Profile Unlocks provides access to all LinkedIn member profiles — even those outside of your network. Users can unlock profiles from search results to gain visibility into sales prospects beyond third- degree connections.
  6. Sync Sales Navigator with Your CRM to keep track of your conversations with all prospects. This will save you from jumping back and forth between two different sites, and provide powerful insights in your reporting.

Learn more about WIZ Advisors B2B Content Marketing Services here.

I hope this LinkedIn article has given you some valuable information to start using the platform for your own lead generation.  If you have any questions about LinkedIn or would like to learn more about our LinkedIn Lead Generation Services, feel free to reach out to me directly: Stacey Wisniewski, Founder and Chief Marketing Strategist of WIZ Advisors, at (615) 934-1817 or stacey@wizadvisors.com.

How to Write a Compelling White Paper that People Want to Read

Introduction – What is a white paper?

People sometimes confuse research reports and white papers.  Research reports are typically the results of months – sometimes years – worth of research, conducted by a particular company, institute or government entity.  These reports are not produced for commercial value.  Instead, they are meant to be shared with, delivered to, or consumed by a like-minded audience.

White papers, on the other hand, are marketing tools that are produced by companies or individuals who have insight into a particular subject.  While white papers could (should) include research, their primary objectives are different.  White papers are written to:

  1. Educate a B2B target audience on a certain topic
  2. Showcase an individual’s or company’s knowledge on a particular subject
  3. Build brand equity and strengthen perceived value
  4. Convince prospects to take a desired action (e.g. visit your website, provide contact information in exchange for the white paper, schedule a demo of your products, or call you to learn more about your services).

Do people actually read white papers?

White papers are now the #1 most valuable piece of content in the B2B buyer’s journey.  Statistics from a recent Forbes article confirm it.

  • 89% of B2B buyers use the Internet in their research process.
  • 75% of B2B buyers said that a winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their choice.
  • 82% of B2B buyers rely heavily on white papers (#1) in making their purchasing decisions. Other content includes:
    • Webinars (78%)
    • Case studies (73%)
    • E-books (67%)
    • Infographics and blog posts (66%)

Here are 10 Best Practices for writing successful white papers.

  1. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-Sensitive) goals for the white paper. Do you want your audience to visit your website, learn more about your solutions, schedule a demo, join a webinar, call you for a quote?  Whatever the action is that you want them to take, determine it - and tell them to do it at the end of the white paper (see #8 – “Have a clear call to action”).
  2. Start with an outline. It seems simple, but writing an outline is the best way to organize your thoughts and ensure that you are telling a compelling, thoughtful story.
  3. Determine key words (to drive search engine results). Whenever you develop content, you should think about it from the audience’s perspective.  What words would they use when they are performing an Internet search on this subject?  If possible, use those keywords in your title, subtitle, and body of the white paper.
  4.  Address your target audience’s pain points in the introduction. Some people will not have time to read the entire white paper (or want to).  It is important to write an introduction that captures their interest.  Discuss your prospects’ pain points and how the white paper will provide solutions.
  5. Include unique, research-driven content. B2B buyers are reading your white paper to become better educated.  Teach them something new.  Whether you have primary research from customers, secondary research from a number of public/private sources, or best practices from years of experience, share them.  Your audience will see you and your company as experts they can trust.
  1. Don’t be salesy. Your audience is in research-mode – they want to learn. Win them over by providing valuable insights and a solution to their problem. Introduce your capabilities in a short overview about your company – AT THE END - but not before (see #9 – Add a short overview about your company at the end).
  1. Insert visuals to break up the text. Your content is always the most important part, but you don’t want your readers to get bored.  Use relevant images and add charts and graphs to show statistics and trends.  Create a graphic in PowerPoint and upload it as a JPG.  Add a quote in a text box with a colored background.
  1. Put your logo and website URL in the footer. You are not making a sales pitch in your white paper, but you can – and should - promote your company in subtle ways.
  1. Have a clear call-to-action (CTA). Whether you want the audience to visit your website, schedule a demo, or call you for more information, specify it at the end – in bold.  For example:

      “To learn more about our solutions, go to www.mycompany.com/solutions or call us anytime at 1-800-244-5500.” 

  1. Add a short paragraph on your company at the end. After the call to action, write a short summary of your business, including capabilities that address the pain points in the white paper (see below for WIZ’s example).

 

Learn more about WIZ Advisors B2B Content Marketing Services here.

 

WIZ Advisors is a B2B marketing agency in Alexandria, VA that helps its clients drive brand awareness and lead generation through high quality content and digital promotion.  The WIZ Method is a three-step process to drive awareness and lead generation that begins with the creation of a research-driven, industry white paper.  Learn more about WIZ Advisors by visiting our website at www.wizadvisors.com.

10 Reasons Why Competitive Intelligence is So Important for B2B Companies

A Quick Story

In my former life, years ago, I was on a team tasked with analyzing churn.  My company had grown so quickly that we didn’t realize we were losing almost as many customers each year as we were gaining in our top accounts. As a B2B subscription business with high customer concentration, this was an issue. We found that our top two clients – and the biggest players in their industry – did not require their indirect channel to sell our product given regulatory risk.  The indirect channel represented 20% of total client revenues.  Competitors had exploited this and entered the market, providing commissions to dealers to sell their products instead.  Over the course of several years, these players had stolen over 50 percent of our customers in that channel. It took our company two years to convince our clients to change their decision, and partner with us to offer their dealers commissions.  It took another two years to implement that strategy and regain our market share. We were a global multi-billion dollar business who thought we “owned” the industry.  We were wrong.  Small, agile competitors had penetrated the industry under our noses and stolen our customers by providing commissions.

The morals of this story:

  1. Do a proactive competitive assessment on your business at least annually to keep your fingers on the pulse of your industry.
  2. Understand that your competitive landscape may differ, depending on your channels, products/service, and geographies.

Ten Reasons Why CI is Crucial for your Business

Competitive intelligence is essential to business growth, no matter what stage you are in.  You should never use an excuse like “no one else does exactly what we do”, “we own the market”, or “we already know who our competitors are” to avoid doing a competitive assessment.

  1. Develops self-awareness – CI prompts you to assess your strengths and weaknesses vs. competitors, understand gaps, and create strategies to overcome them.
  2. Avoids complacency – If you are the sole provider in an industry, you lose the motivation to innovate – you stagnate. Competitors keep you on your toes.
  3. Builds your brand – CI helps you better communicate your brand by understanding how you provide distinct value to your customer base.
  4. Provides an indicator of demand – If you learn that more competition is entering your market, that may be a sign that demand is strong. The opposite can indicate a mature market, slower growth, margin pressure, and potential consolidation.
  5. Identifies an emerging trend – Competitors may launch new products or services or offer new features when they identify an unmet customer need or technology innovation. CI keeps you up to date on emerging trends.
  6. Encourages differentiation – Competitors will always try to provide a better, stronger, faster, cheaper widget. CI provides insights for you to  deliver differentiated value to your customers.
  7. Uncovers unexpected partners – Competitors that provide something you don’t can expand the market.  This can lead to collaboration, cross promotion, and down the line, potential mergers/acquisitions.
  8. Narrows your niche – If competitors are better than you in a particular area, you may decide to target a segment of the market where you have a competitive edge.
  9. Motivates strategic planning – By focusing on CI, you get out of the day-to-day. CI can provide insights that can lead to strategic decision making around investment, resources and technology.
  10. Prioritizes customer needs – CI provides a path towards a more customer-centric organization. Prioritizing your customers’ needs first will ensure ongoing satisfaction and loyalty.

Source: entrepreneur.com

WIZ’s CI Process

Step One:  Collect all available information on your competitors.  WIZ Advisors designed an infographic on Competitive Intelligence Sources that outlines the best sources for CI and the types of information each source provides.

Click here to access the infographic:  https://wizadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/CI-Sources-Infographic-March-2019.pdf

Step Two:  Summarize it in a matrix using Word, PPT or Excel.  Put each competitor in a separate row and each type of information down each column (e.g. Products/Services, Customers, Partners, Strengths, Weaknesses, etc.)

Step Three:  Turn the information into insights for your key stakeholders.  What risks and opportunities does it present?  These insights should provide the basis for your go-forward strategy.

I know conducting CI can be time-intensive, but I hope I’ve convinced you that it is an essential step in your strategic planning process.  If you lack the resources or time to do a CI assessment internally, reach out.  CI is one of WIZ Advisors’ core marketing services. Until next month.

Best,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stacey Wisniewski

Chief Marketing Strategist, WIZ Advisors

Email: stacey@wizadvisors.com

Mobile: (615) 934-1817

www.wizadvisors.com

 

Why your B2B business needs a content marketing plan?

WIZ Advisors Marketing Strategy Monthly – January 2019 – Content Marketing

Welcome to WIZ Advisors’ 2019 Marketing Strategy Monthly!  We wanted to reach out on a regular basis, interact with our network (YOU), and share our perspective on a relevant marketing topic once a month.  And thus, WIZ Advisors’ Marketing Strategy Monthly was born.

Along with monthly insights on a relevant topic, we would like to share a tool, framework, case study – something of value that we’ve created and found useful on that topic – and something we hope will help you succeed in your marketing efforts.

Why Content Marketing?

“Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.” -Jon Buscall, CEO, Moondog Marketing

Did you know that content marketing was voted the single most important marketing activity to drive commercial success in 2018 (based on sample of 117 respondents from for-profit organizations, 66% B2B, 9% B2C and 25% both B2B and B2C)?

Content marketing was the biggest theme for WIZ Advisors’ clients in 2018 as well.  We were asked to develop strategies, create and promote high impact content, and deliver measurable results in the way of:  increased brand awareness, more qualified lead generation, increased website traffic, and relevant PR placements.

Our Content Marketing Process

How did we do it? The answer:  a sound content marketing strategy that begins with a thorough understanding of each client’s target audience.  There are five steps we go through with every content marketing engagement:

  1. Perform content audit – inventory and analyze current content, determine goals and metrics for engagement
  2. Develop buyer personas – develop persona(s) for the ideal target audience for your content; use these personas to create content that matters to your audience’s specific pain points
  3. Create content – types of content (different content for each state of buyers’ journey), themes, channels, call to action, delivery dates and metrics
  4. Distribute content – across earned, owned and paid media
  5. Measure and optimize – determine the right metrics to meet client goals, tools for measurement, dashboard - and optimize, optimize, optimize

Do you have a clear content management strategy for 2019?  Would you like some help getting started?

Download Your Copy of our Content Marketing Strategy Framework

https://mailchi.mp/b1ac312c5521/wizcontentmarketing

If you have any questions while reviewing the deck or would like to set up time to discuss your own content marketing challenges and needs, please contact me directly via email or mobile.

Until next month.

Best,

 

 

 

Stacey Wisniewski

Chief Marketing Strategist, WIZ Advisors

Email: stacey@wizadvisors.com

Mobile: (615) 934-1817

www.wizadvisors.com