I interviewed Eloqua’s Joe Chernov for the most recent episode of Marketing Smarts because I wanted to know why he had hired a brand journalist and how that was working out (very well, it turns out!).
In the course of our conversation, Joe started talking about the audience for Eloqua’s content, and he said something worth noting for all you aspiring content marketers out there. He said, “I look at my audience… as not our buyer but the person who sits in the cube next to our buyer. I mean that both literally and figuratively.”
You hear a lot about “mapping content to the buying cycle,” but this sounded to me like “mapping content to the buyer’s eco-system,” and it made a lot of sense. Especially in the B2B space, buying decisions are often group efforts. Buyers can be influenced by folks who are officially part of the buying process, but they can also be influenced by those who are not. For this reason, it behooves content creators to think broadly about their audience and produce material for both groups: influencers with a capital “I” and those with a lower case.
At Eloqua, Joe does this by thinking “adjacently.”
“I want to create content for those adjacent to our buyer,” he said, “because we don’t know who influences a deal; we just know that all deals get influenced. So, if I create content that appeals to or attracts the attention of or adds value to all the people that could potentially accelerate or block a deal, then I’m doing my job.”
Joe told me that he thinks of influence in terms of concentric rings and that these “adjacents” belong to “the forgotten ring” of influence. That is, content often addresses buyers directly and may, at times, address “key decision makers” throughout an organization, but it does not frequently enough address those who may have a weak link to the buying process, but a strong and influential link to the buyer.
So who is your content “forgetting”?
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Co-workers Talking)