Disjointed customer experiences are limiting the growth of B2B companies.
Across the B2B landscape we see content being produced in an uncoordinated way, managed by different, siloed teams. When internal teams aren’t aligned around a unified message or story, customers experience confusing transitions as they move from one piece of content to the next.
Understanding, Mapping, and Delivering an Effective Customer Experience
The buyer’s journey map is largely regarded as a best practice for managing the customer experience, but this model doesn’t provide an accurate picture of the true challenge B2B companies face. A new model is required—one that can handle the content volume and velocity in the Age of the Customer.
Here’s the issue: the buyer’s journey map operates on the presumption that there is one cluster of content, and one message per stage of the customer journey. However, this is precisely where the model is inadequate.
Our customer has a variety of topics that interest them and issues that challenge them. To be customer-centric, we must engage the customer with many different experiences, all of which are interconnected.
To be customer-centric, we must engage the customer with many different experiences, all of which are interconnected.
An Experience, Defined
Before we start with the new model, let’s set a baseline definition:
Experience: a set of content assets or touchpoints that move a customer persona from a set of questions to a set of conclusions.
Let’s break down this definition step by step.
1. Defining “Content Asset”
Content defines the entire customer experience. Analyst Laura Ramos listed content as one of the four core imperatives in the Forrester report, “Make Your B2B Marketing Thrive in the Age of the Customer.”
What is a content asset? A content asset can be a blog post, email, or video. It can be a script that an inside sales rep uses, or a presentation that a field rep uses. It can be a physical, in-person conference or event, a help article, or a get-started guide.
Some content assets are the entire interaction with the customer (e.g., a blog post), while others guide an interaction (e.g., a call script) that is ultimately delivered by a person (e.g., a sales rep).
So, in our definition of “experience,” the term “content asset” is pretty expansive, covering every touchpoint and interaction across the customer life cycle.
An experience is a set of assets—asset in the most expansive sense—that share the goal of moving a specific customer from a set of questions to a set of conclusions.
Let’s think back to our Securita fable and imagine how our fictitious security SaaS company, Securita, might define a customer experience. Judging from the company’s offerings, cloud security awareness would probably be a common experience for this particular company’s customers.
This Securita cloud security awareness experience then might have the following set of assets:
- Blog posts
- White paper
- Video script
- Sales script
2. Customer-Centricity and Multiple Experiences
In the Age of the Customer, marketers must meet the customer where they are. This is particularly important early in the customer life cycle: at that point, the customer isn’t focused on vendors, but on their own business challenges.
This customer-centric posture is key—it forces marketers to provide multiple experiences that engage the customer, which in turn requires the customer experience model to go beyond the one-message-per-stage construct of the buyer’s journey map.
In Securita’s awareness stage for the CIO persona, they might have a cloud security experience, but also similar experiences for other themes, such as big data security or mobile security. Here’s an example experience on modern security thought leaders for the CIO:
We could go on and on with how Securita creates multiple experiences to meet the customer where they are. And with these multiple experiences, a customer experience map emerges.
The Customer Experience Map
The customer experience map is a new model that more accurately reflects the reality of modern revenue marketing. A company like Securita would have one map for each of its customer personas.
Using this Customer Experience Map model, marketers can visualize and manage all their content assets across the customer life cycle.
When you create a consistent, cohesive customer experience, you create the type of customer experience that delights your buyers, increases your retention rate, and grows your business revenue.