The hallmarks of a buyer in the awareness phase are research and education. In the discovery phase, prospective buyers move form self-education about a market to active exploration and discovery of potential solutions. Digital Body Language: Deciphering Customer Intentions in an Online World
In Part 4, we examined how B2B buyers spend 80% of their time in the first two stages of the purchase decision process—awareness and discovery—and only 20% in stage three—validation. Interacting with prospective buyers in the awareness and discovery phases is the essence of nurture marketing.
Digital Body Language describes nurture marketing as, “a thoughtful strategy to stay in front of prospects, present relevant messaging that elicits responses, keep the dialogue going, and monitor for changes in buying interest that might signal movement to a next step in the buying process.”
In Part 6, I’ll describe how to conduct nurture campaigns. But first, we’ll examine the marketing assets that fuel successful campaigns. I am breaking part 5 into smaller subsections, which will address the following asset categories:
White Papers and Case Studies (see below)
Industry News and Articles
Blog and Communities
The Role of White Papers and Case Studies
White papers and case studies form the foundational content for creating B2B “nurturing” assets. The New Rules of Marketing & PR states that, “marketers should focus on buyers and their problems (rather than hyping products and services), and think like a publisher by, “delivering content when and where it is needed and, in the process, branding you and your organization as a leader.”
Many so-called white papers produced by vendors have become indistinguishable from promotional propaganda. This is counterproductive to nurturing prospects. An effective white paper takes a non-promotional approach to present information that helps the reader learn, “WHAT a product or technology does that is relevant to his or her professional needs and desires.” While a white paper should have a point of view, it should be wider than the author’s (or author’s company). This is best accomplished by incorporating the views of third-party experts.
“Properly Preparing for the Second Wave of Privacy Protection Regulations,” describes how financial institutions are now responsible for protecting the non-public personal information (NPPI) of customers, with fines and penalties for institutions that do not comply with security regulations. It recommends a comprehensive NPPI data security policy. The paper includes 48 endnotes from state and federal regulations, an FBI computer crime and security survey, congressional and federal agency reports, industry analyst’s reports, and authoritative articles from security and business publications.
“Core Lab Best Practices,” describes the practices employed by the heads of genomic research labs to achieve science and business goals. The white paper liberally quotes the authorities and provides real-life examples to illustrate and support their recommendations.
Case studies are one of the most effective means of addressing a potential buyer’s question, “HOW does a product or technology meet my specific business need?” Case studies help prospective buyers in the discovery phase by providing a “well-established reference” as to how “other people have fared with the product.” An effective case study has three essential components: it is told from the point-of-view of a named user (anonymous case studies lack credibility), it describes the user’s problem and how the product or technology helped solve it, and it quantifies results (usually by providing key before and after metrics).
Kalexsyn, a contract research organization (CRO) founded in 2003, has used an electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) since its first day of business, and the company’s leaders credit the system with making Kalexsyn a better, more productive partner for its clients. In “Paper Free from Day One,” Kalexsyn CEO, David Zimmerman, says, “Conservatively, our scientists save about 25% of the time spent writing reports and preparing patents relative to a paper system. And that 25% translates into more chemistry and very satisfied customers.”
In “Four Months to Full NGS Output,” Dr. Mark Rieder, research associate at the University of Washington and a principal investigator at the Northwest Genomics Center, describes how a laboratory information management system (LIMS) developed specifically for next-generation sequencing (NGS) helped the laboratory meet an ambitious goal “in the Large-Scale Exome Sequencing Project from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).” Dr. Rieder said, “I can’t imagine how we’d have gotten here without a full-on LIMS. We might have tried to adapt something we had in the lab, but it would have taken us at least a year to get up to full-speed, which would have compromised our project start and our deadlines.”
Molecular Connection, a semi-annual scientific R&D publication produced by Symyx Technologies, included state of industry commentaries, by industry analysts and experts, technology reviews, and customer case studies from scientists, laboratory managers, and information technology professionals at biopharmaceutical leaders AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Elan, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Millennium.
Individual articles, such as “Millennium’s ELN Empowers Chemist and Biologists,” were offered as assets through a direct digital marketing program.
produced for white papers and case studies can be repackaged for industry
articles, videos, webinars and blog posts—all of which help populate a micro
website, which we’ll examine next.