Steve Jobs was a creative god. Yes, you know this. But his methodology for innovation and refining of products offers an invaluable lesson for B2B marketers.
Everyone’s eyes are fixed on the next big thing launched from Apple. The latest release of iPhone 5 on this 12th September is no exception. People have been waiting for it like food in drought. The iPhone 5 isn’t actually a single and static product. It’s an element of a continual process of refinement, of testing, and the outcome of a goal to better a service. The mobile device is like a piece of marketing content. Excuse me?
When Steve Jobs began his Mac World 2007 keynote speech he said he’d tried every “smart phone on the market, and none of them are really all that smart.”
He continued to list every problem he’d identified with the mobiles and explained how he’d solved them with the invention of the iPhone.
Sounds similar to selling your product or service to your potential buyers by engaging them with a finely tuned understanding of their current problem. And similarly, each item of marketing content should speak to the problem(s). Let’s break it down…
Can you mimic the Jobs brilliance?
Competitor smart phones were dumb. They had XYZ problems. So the iPhone arrived on earth, sent from Apple heaven to solve these problems. It’s cool. And it changed every user’s life. Better yet, it keeps improving. See the simple genius?
It’s as easy as Apple makes it. So let’s put it to work in our marketing processes before our iPhones tell us that we’re too slow on the uptake.
As inbound marketers we’re in bed with our buyers’ pains. Well, if we’re generating sales-qualified leads that satisfy our KPIs then we’ve understood what problem drives our buyers to purchase a product or service whose benefits solve – or negate – the problem.
Beyond being untroubled and unaware of the issue the buyer experiences (that your product or service will solve), here’s a quick breakdown of the buyers’ journey:
- Pain/problem: I don’t have a compliant email archiving system for my business. There’s a whole bunch of scary risks associated with it that I have to avoid.
- Solutions search: So I’ve done a bit of research and, of the available options, outsourcing to a third party is the most cost and time effective.
- Purchase decision: Of the vendors I found and contacted, Email Cyber Whizz knows what’s what; they’re the best company to handle my job.
- Value received: No more worrying about the risks associated with regulatory compliance because I’m no longer at risk. Awesome!
What defines the B2B buyers’ funnel is the longer sales cycle. More specifically, before any lead engages with a sales person, they’re likely to have conducted a fair deal of online research on their own.
This means, as inbound content marketers, we should create copy and content that speaks to an assumed level of knowledge at the MoFu(middle-of-the-funnel) stages and, arguably, even at ToFu(top-of-the-funnel).
Once our leads have moved beyond our gripping ToFu exposé on their unknown problem, they’re injected with a burning desire to find a solution. Idealism has its place, ok.
As Jeff Ernst at Forrester explains – which we love – buyers make a series of micro-decisions as they move through the sales funnel. And our focus as inbound content marketers should move beyond an obsession of answering the single buying decision.
We should also be satisfying the micro-questions, which are fuelled by a single buying pain, to nurture our leads through the funnel. How? Like Steve did…
- Return to the list of possible pains (which should orbit around a central purchasing motivation/pain) that grew from other products’ failures. This is a great start for responding to the buyers’ micro-decisions, that Forrester explains.
- Ask yourself these questions as a starting point:
- Why did you create your product or service?
- What is the single most impressive solution offering that no one else has?
- What might prevent this business or organisation from buying?
- Why does your buyer find you credible (or not)?
- How often does your buyer experience this pain – daily, monthly, at the end of the financial year?
- Measurement and analytics. The best method to test your understanding of your buyers’ pains – and an inescapable step in any decent inbound marketing campaign – is to track your impact. Why? Because you’ll refine your campaign, like Steve Jobs did with his iPhone.
Define your product or service ‘hook’
The ultimate lesson here is to understand the story behind your product.
Cultivate a precise list of your buyers’ micro-pains and the placement of these in the sales funnel; crystallise the key buying problem; and create engaging content that will show your buyers why their lives will be revolutionised because of your service.
So whenever you’re lost for leads or seeing dead stages in your sales funnel, think of the iPhone 5. It grew from a need. It has a story. And it’s still improving.
About Shivbhadra Gohil
Very passionate and dedicated about my work. I am one of those fortunate blokes who get to work on the things they love. I love SEO to the core. If you keep really really quiet you can hear my heart beats calling out.. SEO.. SEO.. SEO... Lol..Jokes aside. I would love to learn everything there is to learn about it and am happy to help out anyone who needs my help to get started.
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