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B2B content marketing around buying triggers

Trigger Marketing in B2B

There are lots of ways to build your content marketing strategy:

Around personas – with content for each type of buyer.

Around the stages of the buying journey – with early stage videos, mid-stage ebooks and late-stage case studies.

Around your product portfolio – making sure each product has its content support.

Around organisational structure – with each division having its own content stream.

Around media types – balancing videos, slideshares, ebooks, infographics, microsites, white papers…

We’ve seen all of these approaches and more. But I’d like to suggest another way to go: build your content around your most important buying triggers.

What’s a buying trigger?
A buying trigger is an event in the life of a prospect that suddenly makes them receptive to your story.

  • For a client that makes enterprise middleware, one of the big buying triggers was a merger or acquisition. When a bank buys another bank it needs to integrate the IT as smoothly as possible. The right middleware can help.
  • For App-DNA (the daddy of all application compatibility tools), a big enterprise’s decision to migrate to Windows 7 is a major buying trigger.
  • For Reevoo, the social commerce experts, a prospect’s change of ecommerce platform is a great trigger for reconsidering the ratings & reviews system.
  • For PressRun, the tablet publishing platform, a magazine’s decision to develop an iPad edition is a massive trigger.

Notice that all of these triggers are discrete events; they’re all in the buyer’s world, not the vendor’s; and they all involve the abrupt opening of a window of opportunity. Trigger moments put the prospect into a period of change. That makes them a bit uncomfortable with the status quo and a lot hungrier for information. Perfect.

Clear buying triggers are an important part of a B2B company’s success. We’ve seen dozens and dozens of technology players with great products but very fuzzy buying triggers. It’s hard to market this kind of solution. You have to wait for the prospect to recognise the need and hope they can find you at that moment.

So how can you exploit buying triggers?
Buying triggers are a natural dimension to build your B2B content marketing strategy around. Using the above examples:

  • The middleware guys should do content around the IT challenges of mergers & acquisitions.
  • App-DNA should do stuff around Windows 7 migrations. Like this Windows 7 Migration Checklist.
  • Reevoo should do ebooks around ecommerce platform change. (Watch this space).
  • PressRun needs content on tablet magazine publishing. In fact, they dedicate a whole blog and newsletter to it.

Sometimes the buying triggers don’t feel very central to your story. That doesn’t matter. If it’s a real buying trigger, there’s a real opportunity to create some good content around it.

Some Trigger Marketing content tips
Marketing that targets specific buying triggers is not much different from good content marketing. But there are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Target one trigger at a time – it’s tempting to combine the minor ones but it defeats the purpose.
  2. Nail the implications of the trigger event – a trigger event raises new issues for prospects. Master these issues.
  3. Draw a direct line from the trigger to your door – don’t be shy about this. Tell people exactly why someone in their new situation needs your solution.
  4. Think about how the triggered prospect searches – keyword research around triggers is of prime importance. Many triggered prospects aren’t on your lists yet. You need to make it easy for them to find you.
  5. Get those trigger keywords in your titles – you need this content to rank on the trigger terms.
  6. Be open to new media and channels – trigger marketing often takes you to new websites, social media groups and marketing partners. Embrace that.
  7. Create content clusters – a single ebook on a trigger topic may not be enough to rank on the engines. An ebook, white paper and video hanging off a blog on a microsite (all SEO optimised) will multiply the value.

Done right, Trigger Marketing (hey, I coined a phrase!) can be the most powerful Huskie in your B2B marketing dogsled.

Today, everyone does personas. Tomorrow, we’ll all be doing Trigger Maps, too.

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Photo: flickr creative commons by .void

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4 Responses to “B2B content marketing around buying triggers”

  1. Craig Killick

    I think more and more, understanding the motivation for why someone is doing something and attaching products or services to their ‘moment in time’ creates a much more compelling sales message.

    Empathy and understanding the problems that customers face is a great starting point and you’ve hit the nail on the head with your post.

    I also find the same with being much more focused on vertical markets with content and sales propositions. ie. NOt selling a service, but selling the solution to an industry problem with high contextual relevance.

  2. Doug Kessler

    Nice one, Craig. I agree: vertical focus is another dimension in the same mindset. Orient around the prospect’s reality.

  3. Adele Revella

    Great post Doug. I couldn’t agree more. I try to get B2B marketers to look at buying triggers as an element of the buyer persona.

    If you segment buyer personas by job title, this isn’t possible as triggers will vary. But there is a part of the buyer persona that I call the Product Persona Connection that captures the buyer persona’s engagement with the vendor’s product. That’s a great place to capture buying trigger insights, and while there may still be more than one trigger, it should be easy to see only a few patterns.

    I really like your recommendation to avoid combining content for similar triggers. The more specificity, the better!

  4. Doug Kessler

    Thanks Adele. I like the idea of a Product Persona Connection and it does feel like a natural place to capture potential triggers.

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