The Marketing Strategist:
Research Highlight: Marketing Must Proactively Add Value at Every Relationship Stage
This article is Part 2 in a series that digs deeper into four elements of marketing content that emerged from research we conducted on How Buyers Consume Information. Highlights can be found in Connecting with Customers: The Four P’s of Content Marketing.
It’s not enough to respond to buyer needs and questions. We need to be more proactive in bringing new ideas to our clients and prospects—at every stage of the relationship, from initial conversation through the sales cycle and into delivery and trust. Proactive solution providers manage the customer experience by adding significant value at every relationship stage. Marketing’s objectives shift from generating leads and add-on sales to being genuinely helpful with educational and thought-leading content. Performance metrics change from counting leads to evaluating engagement.
Solution providers need to use high quality content to educate, inform, and engage both existing clients and prospects. Content, especially thought leadership content, is essential at all stages of the buying process, but it is particularly critical during the initial research phase.
Post sale, the desire for proactive engagement continues. Solution providers must follow through on the ideas they communicate via their thought leadership.
Buyers’ needs for information change once they have negotiated and closed the deal. At the adoption, retention, and expansion stages of the customer experience lifecycle, buyers prioritize information about the next generation of innovation that solution providers will bring them.
Following the purchase, the resources or activities that are most helpful to ensure that the customer is receiving maximum value from their solutions include:
- Joint or collaborative solution development
- Executive-level meetings or briefings to understand and synchronize with solution provider strategy and roadmaps
- In-person meetings or events with peers
Interested in more details from our buyer research? The full report is available at no charge to ITSMA members and for sale to others. A complimentary abbreviated summary (PDF) provides highlights, as well.