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The Right Content Mix Is Crucial Early In The Buying Cycle

content shutterstock 121480468B2B marketers have to provide compelling content at all stages of the buying cycle, but top-notch content is particularly important in the early interactions with prospects.

During a recent webinar titled: ToFu Content: How To Develop A Healthy Mix For Demand Creation, Naylor Gray, Media Services Director at Bulldog Solutions, and Andrew Gaffney, Founder of Demand Gen Report, discussed top of the funnel, or ToFu, content, and how marketers can use it to drive demand.

Gray recommended ToFu content be short and relevant to keep readers attention. He noted that 95% of B2B buyers viewed multiple pieces of content from the vendor they ultimately selected.

Gaffney referred to infographics, checklists, articles, short white papers and webinars as examples of ToFu content. He noted that 63% of executives say they “strongly prefer” prescriptive content.

Citing statistics from the 2012 Demand Gen Report Content Preferences Survey, Gaffney that the highest percentage of people read white papers (80%) and the second highest percentage listened to webinars (73%). Those were followed by case studies (67%); blog posts (63%); E-books (51%); and video (44%).

Bulldog Solutions conducted a content experiment, testing, loose and tight audience filters. The loose filter received about 1,000 inquiries, resulting in 28 qualified leads and four opportunities. The tight filter, which was designed to fit a specific buying profile, garnered only 100 inquiries, but resulted in 14 marketing qualified leads and eight opportunities.

[The loose filter] burned a lot of calories having to go through and qualify all of the content,” Gray said. “The moral of the story is to match the content with the audience.”

The remainder of the presentation outlined buyers’ content consumption habits. Gaffney stated that few readers are willing to spend more than 30 minutes reading a white paper, and spend less than 10 minutes looking at an infographic.

Gray pointed out that 77% of survey respondents will share their basic information to obtain formal content such as white papers. This isn’t the case for less formal content, as 74% of respondents were shown to expect access to infographics without any registration while 67% expect access to video without registering.

Understanding Different Levels Of The Funnel

During the Q&A portion of the webinar, Gaffney and Gray discussed the content funnel and ways to differentiate between content at each level.

“As you go further down into the funnel, the content is going to become more and more specific, and ultimately it’s going to end up showcasing your product or solution,” Gray said. “You might create tools or interactive devices for people to participate in, or to lead them toward the particular solution.”

Gaffney advised marketers to research their industry and look into unanswered and unasked questions when trying to devise their own ToFu content.

“What are the main points that exist in a conversation?” Gaffney said, “If they don’t exist, how can you help to build that argument that this is something people should be talking about to drive the conversation?

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