Visionary marketer + collaborative partner = great content!
You can always tell where someone is in their buying decision process by the type of collateral they request. So the idea is to educate customers and keep them engaged throughout the journey until they’re ready to buy.”
For former technical instructor and current tech-savvy marketer, Christi Hansen, cultivating sales prospects goes well beyond traditional marketing tactics, or even nurturing. For Christi, it’s about education.
Her idea of education as marketing covers a lot of territory. There’s educating prospects, of course, about your product or service. But there’s also getting educated on your prospects’ needs and interests—call it business intelligence—to target programs effectively. This is key to getting the right information to the right people at the right time.
education as a tool in the buyers journey
“Starting the education process well before someone is ready to buy is an opportunity to guide their decision-making process and gather valuable intelligence at the same time,” Christi advises. “Perhaps they first engage by watching a podcast. Well that’s an opportunity to find out what they liked or didn’t like about it, as well as what other information they might need to help in their decision-making. You always need a call to action, so the podcast may direct them to a website, and as they click on things, pop-ups could point them to more and more detailed information. This, in turn, may lead to downloading relevant collateral, and eventually requesting use case scenarios, competitive information, and customer references. You can always tell where someone is in their buying decision process by the type of collateral they request. So the idea is to educate customers and keep them engaged throughout the journey until they’re ready to buy.”
Christi put this process into action at her most recent role managing new product introductions for a large technology company. The program had traditionally used live webinars to get information out to the field. But the webinars were two hours long and limited to certain times of the day. Her idea was to break down the information into small, easily consumable training modules no more than eight minutes long, which could be viewed on demand.
Christi had the vision for the modules, but realized she needed help to meet her timeline. “I often hesitate to go outside for services, but in this case I knew I couldn’t do everything myself,” says Christi. “This was not a typical deliverable, and I wanted to find an agency that not only had the creative and technical capabilities I’d need, but also one that was willing to work with me through the bumps in the road that were inevitable. The process was key; I like to follow a collaborative, team model.”
from idea to reality
Christi found the team she was looking for at Byrnes Communications. “I had a vision of where I wanted to go, and Byrnes was willing to go with me. Their designer hit the mark. The writing was fantastic. The project manager from Byrnes was very helpful working out the tasks, milestones, and deliverables through each phase of the project. The whole transition from inception to the final asset was pretty remarkable. They really delivered professional results.”
By working with a customer-first marketing agency, Christi got more than a great deliverable. She got a real partner to help her work out the details and ensure the project provided value to the target audience and back to the company. She points out that in the IT industry, internal team members are often more technical and not as tuned to the customer perspective. By working with a marketing agency, Christi was able to “bounce off ideas” with people who understand how to articulate customer value.
Four key steps to launching an education campaign:
Step 1: Identify the right target audience; that is, do enough research to make sure the people targeted actually have some potential of buying
Step 2: Communicate the offer and value to the target audience
Step 3: Define ongoing-audience engagement—like the call to action described above
Step 4: Engage and inform the sales organization so they are aligned with the marketing program and understand how to effectively use it
A spirit of discovery
“Often with marketing, things seem simple and obvious on the surface, but when you dig into the details it’s a lot of hard work,” Christi remarks. “I appreciated having an agency with a spirit of discovery and a willingness to just work things out with me. If you asked me what to look for in a marketing agency, that’s what I would recommend. Not a lot of vendors are willing to step outside their comfort zone. But that’s how great content gets created.”
Meet the author: Jim Gamble