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Messaging With Purpose

December 05, 2014 | By Rachel Young

With the proliferation of content, it’s critical for marketers to develop messaging with a specific purpose. Find out how your b-to-b organization can achieve this.

My child’s high school academic workload is laden with writing. From economics to U.S. history, assigning essays is her teachers’ preferred way to ascertain her level of knowledge in the subject. When she comes to me for help, we always start with discussing the essay objective. Is the purpose to inform, persuade or entertain the reader? 

messagingA recent study review with her got me thinking about the purpose of writing in the b-to-b world. With the proliferation of content, it’s critical for marketers to develop messaging with a specific purpose. More than ever, technology has enabled marketers to employ a variety of content formats (from single-word to long-form) and interaction types (static like print or dynamic like social) to deliver messaging that connects with their audiences. But the ultimate goal of messaging is to compel buyers to progress through the buyer’s journey.

The SiriusDecisions Buying Cycle has three phases: education, solution and vendor selection. A buyer persona is a marketing respondent and prospect in the early stages, a sales lead and a sales opportunity in the later stages, and hopefully a customer at the end of the buyer’s journey.

The SiriusDecisions Messaging Nautilus is designed to help b-to-b marketers create messaging that not only connects with buyer personas but also promotes movement through the buyer’s journey. Of the eight arcs (or steps) in the messaging methodology, two are especially aligned to the phases:  

  • Arc 5: knowledge inflection points. In this step, we advise marketers to research and understand the persona’s knowledge requirements. For example, in the education phase, the persona wants to know why this business issue or topic related to the offering is important to them. What’s the impact on his business, and how are his peers responding to the issue? Once this information requirement is met, the buyer moves to the next phase – solution – and seeks knowledge about the different solution alternatives, the value and risks of each, and how each addresses the buyer need. Gather and document the information the buyer requires to move through each buying phase.
  • Arc 6: narrative elements. Once the knowledge inflection points are captured, marketers create messaging that aligns to the buying stages. Ensure the narrative elements incorporate what the buyer wants to know. For example, in the education phase, messaging should inform the persona of the relevant business issues and pinpoint the idea or concept that will trigger the persona to commit to making a change. In the solution phase, satisfy the persona knowledge need with messaging that explains the value of the various solution types and details why your offering is the ideal solution. Finally, in the selection phase, create narrative elements that will help the persona justify the decision and reinforce the final purchasing selection.

Because the ultimate purpose of b-to-b messaging is to compel the audience to buy, it’s critical to create messaging that aligns to the buyer’s journey, addresses the buyer knowledge requirements and promotes movement through the buying cycle. For more information about the Messaging Nautilus™, click here to download the Messaging Nautilus™ information guide.

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Rachel Young

Rachel Young is a Senior Research Director of Portfolio Marketing at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years of experience in product and solution marketing, demand generation and communications. Follow Rachel on Twitter at @rpyoung_.
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