14 Ways to use emotions in B2B marketing

Thinking fast and slow

For a long time, B2B marketers assumed that business decisions were primarily based on rational motivations. Anticipation based on emotion was an exclusive territory for B2C marketers. However, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that emotion plays an important role in B2B as well. Emotion and rationale are two power fields that together — sometimes in agreement but sometimes in conflict — come to a decision. It’s not one or the other, black or white, but more of a gray area.

In a research study by McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin marketing professor Raj Raghunathan and Ph.D. student Szu-Chi Huang, emotion and intellect have a surprising order. Their research indicates that comparative features are important but mostly as justification after a buyer makes a decision based on an emotional response. So, basically, people make decisions emotionally and justify decisions with facts afterward.

Speak to System 1

According to behavioral scientist and Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman, people have two modes of thinking for making decisions. They are:

  • System 1 — the fast, instinctive, emotionally driven one
  • System 2 — considered the slower one

When we try to persuade people we’re right with logical arguments and lists of facts, we’re pitching to System 2. But System 1 is faster and more powerful, and, in most cases, has already decided. All those persuasive arguments are likely to go ignored if System 1 isn’t already on your side. So, always have System 1 in mind when you’re trying to win business or build your brand. You speak to System 1 by making yourself easy to choose. According to Gerd Gigerenzer, another behavioral scientist, human beings like fast and frugal decisions — ones that don’t take too much time or energy.

14 Marketing Tactics Based on Emotions

When we need to speak to System 1, which emotions do you as a marketer want to focus on? Which ones are in line with your corporate identity, corporate story and brand experience? There are many options, including belonging, happiness, joy, fear, pity, shame, envy, love, sadness, anger, surprise, disgust, pride, devotion, astonishment, irritation, contempt, guilt, trust, security and acceptance, just to name a few. Different emotions trigger different behavior. To influence buying decisions, you can consider the following 14 marketing tactics.

  1. Sell the How: Solution Selling
  2. Sell the Why: Being Part of
  3. Be Likable and Sell Fun
  4. Be an Authority
  5. Provide Social Proof
  6. Create Scarcity and Promote Exclusivity
  7. Set Core Values
  8. Be a Novelty
  9. Be Physical or Demo
  10. Tell a Story
  11. Introduce Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
  12. Provide Instant Satisfaction
  13. Introduce Reciprocity
  14. Be Better Together

These are the 14 tactics you can use to speak to System 1. Read all about them in our recent blog on MarketingProfs. Market your product or service based on emotion first but don’t neglect System 2!


How to convert an MQL to an SQL

Convert MQL to SQL

A practical lead conversion guide

The definition of a lead is a common area of disagreement between marketing and sales. Marketing is often focussed on generating relevant response based on interest in a certain topic. But the sales team is only interested in those leads that are ready to talk business. To align marketing and sales in terms of lead generation we therefore need to look at the different stages of a lead. It’s good to realize that marketing will look at these stages in a different way than sales. As sales typically looks at the ‘leaking’ sales funnel, while marketing likes to talk about the stages in the buyer journey. But luckily both departments will have an idea of the difference between a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a sales qualified lead (SQL).

Lead stages in the leaking sales funnel

In order to manage the conversion process from ‘market’ to ‘customer’, a tool known as the ‘sales funnel’ is often used. This is  the ‘funnel’ of potential customers that have been identified within the sales process. The following classification can be used here:

  • Market: the entire market the that organization is focused on.
  • Suspects: the companies that are potential customers within the target market, because they, for example, fulfill a number of specific criteria.
  • Leads: marketing qualified leads includes companies in the category of ‘suspects’ that have indicated that they could be interested in the products and services of the organization.
  • Prospect: sales qualified leads are prospects in the sales funnel. These includes companies that have shown a serious interest in the products and services of the organization.
  • Customers: companies with whom there is a customer-provider relationship.


With each step in the conversion process, the likelihood that a lead becomes a customer increases. More and more companies, however, drop out of the sales process, this is called ‘leakage’. This leakage is caused, for example, because the company:

  • has no need for the service or product
  • doesn’t seek contact with the organization
  • opts for a different provider or solution

When there is a good overview of the percentages of this leakage, sales management can better adjust the sales process through KPI’s: for example, when it’s known that 50% of prospects opt for something else, or 50% of qualified leads do not seek any serious form of contact, or when the quality leads are required to generate one sale. The organization can take steps to improve these conversion ratios, modern marketing can play a role in this. Depending on the specific situation, sub qualifications can be added to the sales funnel management.

The sales funnel is mirrored as soon as the sale takes place. Conversion takes place with existing customers: positive conversion with repeat business (another sale) or additional services, and negative conversion when the customer breaks the customer-provider relationship. Satisfied customers can be converted to fans. The ultimate scenario then is that they promote the organization and recommend products and services actively.

  • Repeat: the number of customer that repeat-buy.
  • Churn: the number of customers that cut ties.
  • Fans: the number of customers that reach a particular level of customer satisfaction.

Lead stages in the buyer jouney

The sales funnel is language from the sales team. However, marketingpeople think in terms of a Buyer Journey. Business investment decisions are generally not made overnight. Decision-makers undergo a process known as the buyer journey. Before making investment decisions, people first discover a challenge, problem or idea. For example, the current situation is no longer sufficient or external developments created the possibility for new opportunities – or threats – which need to be dealt with or anticipated. Subsequently, different scenarios are considered for which improvements can be made and implemented. Finally, the various options are assessed and decisions are made. This journey can be divided into the following stages:

  • Discovery: The starting point is the recognition or acknowledgement of a problem or challenge. Following that is acceptance that a solution must be found.
  • Consideration: Next it’s necessary to find solutions. Internally, the wishes and requirements are reviewed and externally all the possibilities are lined up. This search generally ends with the preference for one, or a limited number of, suppliers.
  • Decision: Finally, you move toward the execution of a choice. The chosen option must be justifiable and give the feel-good factor.
  • Implementation: After the actual purchase, the product or service needs to be implemented or put into use. As supplier, it’s key to optimize this process.
  • Usage: Lastly, the service or product is put into use. Now it’s essential to turn users into fans!

Lead nurturing to convert MQLs to SQLs

There’s often a long way to go to get from incoming leads to a sales qualified lead. As modern marketing uses as a starting point the buyer journey of the customer, the first contact (or conversion) can happen at an early stage of the buying process. When a suspect downloads a trend report, it can be a signal that in the coming year there will be significant demand for certain products or services. At this early stage of the buying process however, it can still take a long time before the leads is sales qualified and interested in a quote or contact with an account manager. The follow-up on modern marketing leads needs to take into account the lead status.

In this early stage of discovery, the potential customer can still be busy trying to figure out their actual need in the situation. Content that helps them along in this process is relevant. A good modern marketing program can help the potential customer, for example via a newsletter, whitepaper or webinar. The structures development of potential clients, without the need to currently buy, is also known as lead nurturing. In this nurture process, somewhere in between generating a lead and a the readiness to talk to sales, the lead passes from the marketing team to the sales division. In order to determine the timing, a division can be made between marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads.

  • Marketing qualified leads (MQL) – These are leads with a low account score, for example because they are in an early phase of the buying process. This pool of leads lends itself to lead nurturing initiatives, it’s the marketer’s primary responsibility to develop these leads further. When the lead- or account score reach a certain point, they are taken over by sales.
  • Sales qualified leads (SQL) – When there is an actual need, the function is relevant and the lead fulfills the necessary criteria, it’s a case of a sales qualified lead. This is the moment the lead is passed on to the sales department.

The coordination between marketing and sales is crucial for good conversion. Therefore, it should be clear to everybody when a lead is pass on from marketing to sales. Aside from that, the follow-up by the sales division needs to be in place and tightly managed. Leads can cool off quickly and evaporate.

The theory, however, is less manageable than in practice. The trend report that was aimed at business decision makers in the discovery stage, could be requested by a technical decision maker in the consideration phase. Or organizations that are regarded as prospects can suddenly delay the procedure or, even, call the whole thing off. The reverse can also happen, where unfamiliar parties suddenly convert to hot prospects: they had informed themselves elsewhere, but want to see what alternatives there are out there and display an actual need for a service or a product. In short, what appears to be a structure one minute, can be completely out of date the next. Lead management is a dynamic process, in which an actual insight into the lead status of potential customers is essential.


MQL lead scoring and account scoring

There are certain ‘lead scoring’ techniques to gain valuable insight into the lead status. Lead scoring is a method that rates potential customers against a sliding scale in which the value of the lead for the organization increases. Depending on this lead score, subsequent steps can be determined within the commercial process. If the score is low the leads can be qualified as MQL, then a program of lead nurturing can be implemented and the lead can be invited, for example, for an event or a webinar. If the score is high, then the leads is sales qualified and the sales team can be called upon.

The best techniques for lead scoring make use of explicit, as well as implicit, information. Explicit scores are based on information about the lead, for example the size of the organization, the industry or role. Implicit scores are based on the behavior of the lead, for example the websites they visit, ’email opens’ and whitepaper downloads. A new lead score is based on activities of the leads on social media, the so-called ‘social score’.


Many investments involve more than one decision maker within one organization: the decision making unit. Therefore it can be relevant to make known the activities of individual leads from the same organization surrounding the same themes. When a marketing manager for example, downloads a whitepaper about the integration of email marketing and CRM, and the IT manager in the same organization downloads an article about ‘CRM as a service’, this can indicate that a CRM project is taking place with the company. Account scoring brings all these signals at an organization together in the account score.

KPI’s and ROI in modern marketing

In summary, it can be said that the choice in KPI’s whereby the modern marketing initiatives can be measured, depends on the modern marketing objectives. Aside from that, the KPI’s differ per phase in the buyer journey. The table below gives an overview of the most common occurrences.


In an ideal situation, the ROI of the modern marketing initiatives is steered in the mid-long-term, in financial terms. A basic formula can be, for example, the costs of modern marketing as a percentage of the achieved revenue.

Direction in the (too) short-term ROI objectives within the modern marketing process is not always sensible, as the following aspects need to be taken into consideration:

  • Modern marketing activities are aimed at the entire buyer journey. When, in the initial period, marketing leads are being generated that are at an early stage in the buyer journey, but there are relatively little sales qualified leads or customer conversions, the turnover cannot yet be measured. The period for measuring turnover should therefore be aligned with the buyer journey.
  • When setting up modern marketing, there will be a limited amount of content in the start phase. In subsequent periods previously created content can be capitalized upon, which has a positive effect on the ROI.

Finally, it should be taken into account that turnover cannot always be assigned to one channel. A modern marketing lead, after all, could have converted to a customer by recommendation from another customer, or a customer that enters upon recommendation could have regularly read a particular blog without this being included in the methods for measuring. The method and the timing of measurement, therefore, are somewhat arbitrary if no foolproof systems and definitions are used, for measurement purposes.

5 Key Dimensions of Lead Scoring that Determine the “DNA” of Your Leads

Which leads from your last campaign are valuable and which ones aren’t? To determine the sales readiness of leads, marketers increasingly use lead scoring functionality in their marketing automation system. Lead scoring is a way to measure the likeliness of a commercial opportunity for a potential customer. The lead score helps determine the next best step such as transferring a lead to the sales department or triggering a certain nurture flow.

Lead scores on the different conditions of a profile can typically be categorized as “critical,” “important,” “influential” or “negative.” A more positive condition will typically receive a higher score. Negative criteria have a negative score. Critical conditions can also be set as a condition. For instance, when a company is not based in the U.S., it’s not considered a lead at all.

But a flat “overall” score isn’t very intelligent. Although easy to use and better than nothing, a unified score doesn’t say much about interest in specific topics, the type of persona or the phase a lead is in within the buyer journey. How can you determine the real “DNA” of your leads to take the next best content step? Let’s take a look at five key dimensions in lead scoring.

Dimension 1: Individual Explicit Lead Scoring

The most traditional lead criteria are explicit scores. These are based on specific profile characteristics that are generally available. Think of insight about buying authority, position or the presence of social media accounts. Explicit criteria don’t say anything about personal interests or current challenges, but they can be first indications on whether a profile shows parallels with your buyer persona. For instance, content targeted at marketers can have scores like these:

Lead Criteria Conditions Score
Buying Authority Decision-Maker 30
Budget Owner 15
Influencer 10
User 5
Position CMO 30
VP Marketing 30
Marketing Manager 25
Marketeer 10
Social Media Twitter 5
LinkedIn 5
Facebook 5

Dimension 2: Company Explicit Lead Scoring

Explicit lead scoring can also be done on a company level. Scoring is based on information like the organization size, industry or region. Together with individual explicit scoring, company explicit scoring makes up the “L=lead grade.”

Lead Criteria Conditions Score
Organization Size 1,000+ Full-Time Equivalent Employees 35
200+ Full-Time Equivalent Employees 20
Industry IT Services 35
IT SaaS and Software 30
IT Infrastructure 20
Professional Services 20
Legal Services 15
Region U.S. Condition

The lead grade presents a qualitative rating of all explicit profile information. For example, someone who sells CRM software to retailers and has more than five stores and launches a campaign with e-books, webinars and blogs. It will probably apply a high explicit lead score to download profiles from retail companies. There may be an even higher grading for profiles of larger retailers with multiple locations and profiles with relevant positions. However, a download by a major IT service provider will get a low (or negative) lead score. Thus, the lead grade actually indicates the extent to which a profile meets the ideal customer.

Today, explicit scores are frequently embedded in cost per lead campaigns you create with publishers and marketing agencies. For instance, you can pay $50 per lead when your white paper is downloaded and the “lead” profile meets a certain set of conditional criteria.

Dimension 3: Individual Behavioral Lead Scoring

Lead score techniques in many marketing automation systems use both explicit and implicit information. This is where lead scoring becomes interesting. Implicit scores are based on lead behavior such as website visits, email opens and white paper downloads. Here’s one example of these scores:

Behavior Score
Reads a relevant blog 5
Opens an email 10
Downloads a white paper or e-book 20
Joins a webinar 25
Checks pricing information 35

This singular way of scoring behavior is logical when your company sells one type of product such as  a CRM system. But when you sell both CRM and ERP systems it makes more sense to set up a behavioral score per product line or, even better, per area of interest. For this, your content and/or campaign assets (like landing pages, emails and webinars) need to be tagged per topic or proposition. Also, your marketing automations system needs to support multiple lead scores.

Together, implicit and explicit scores can give a good indication of the interests and characteristics of an individual person. This provides a great opportunity to determine your next best step communicating your content.

Dimension 4: Account Scoring

However, in many B2B investment decisions, multiple stakeholders or buyer personas are involved in an organization. They are the decision-making unit. Therefore, it’s relevant to know whether multiple employees from the same organization are captured in your lead database and whether these individuals have interests indicating a certain need. For example, when a marketing manager from a retail company downloads your e-book on the integration of email marketing and CRM and an IT manager from the same organization downloads an article about CRM in the public cloud then that may indicate a CRM project within that organization. Account tracking brings together these signals from one organization into the account score.

Dimension 5: Buyer Stage Scoring

Successful B2B marketing departments have a seamless process to transfer sales-ready leads from the marketing department to the sales organization. MQLs are now SQLs. It’s necessary to define these clearly with a service level agreement. The lead score can provide a solid criterion for this action.

  • Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) — These are leads with a low lead and account score because they are in an early phase of the buying process. This pool of leads lends itself to lead-nurturing initiatives. It’s the marketer’s primary responsibility to further develop these leads. When the lead or account score reaches a certain point, the leads are taken over by sales.
  • Sales-qualified leads (SQLs) — When there is an actual need, the position is relevant and the lead fulfills the necessary criteria, it becomes a sales-qualified lead. This is the moment the lead is passed to the sales department.

The reconciliation between marketing and sales is crucial for a good conversion. But lead scoring can also be explicitly linked to other phases in the buyer journey. For this, your content must also be related (tagged) to the different phases in the purchase process. For example, when we go into a buyer journey model with simple “discovery,” “consideration” and “decision” stages, the content must also be scored in that way. Here’s an example of a simplified behavioral scoring model:

Behavior Score Buyer Stage
Reads a relevant blog 5 points Discovery phase
Opens an email 10 points Discovery phase
Downloads a white paper or e-book 20 points Consideration phase
Joins a webinar 25 points Consideration phase
Checks pricing information 35 points Decision phase

Because content is tagged per buyer stage, the lead in the buyer’s journey can be derived from the lead score. Journey stage scoring is progressive, so if a profile scores high on the “consideration” phase but higher on “discovery,” you can assume that “consideration” phase has actually begun since this phase is closer to the moment of purchase. An interesting article and video about this methodology can be found on this ETUMOS blog.

Determine the DNA of Your Leads

Finally, it would, of course, be ideal to develop a lead DNA in which all scoring information is displayed visually. Taking into account the lead score and lead grade dimensions, matched to “proposition” and “buyer internship,” a the DNA of an this lead could look like this:

Leadscore DNA

The lead in the “DNA” visual above is theoretically in the market for CRM software and may eventually be interested in call center solutions. For call center solutions, the “grade” profile has an even better match. Finally, the profile has shown some interest in an ERP system but it is not significant enough to act upon.

Getting Started with Lead Scoring

A DNA profile based on all lead scoring dimensions would be ideal for every marketer, and this ideal gets closer as tools mature. To get started with lead scoring, however, get the basics right first. Current best practice shows us that marketing automation systems in the field of lead tracking functionality still differ widely. But within a well-oiled marketing machine, clear insights into the DNA of your leads should be top priority.


How to Plan Owned, Earned and Paid Media for B2B Content Marketing

Content promotion using paid, owned and earned media.

Your content is useless when no one is engaging with it. So you’ll need a combination of media to draft your communication strategy. The dividing lines between earned, paid and owned media are not 100% definitive. An overlap exists in numerous areas, such as:

  • Owned media is promoted via paid media.
  • Owned media is optimized for earned media.
  • Earned media is responded to via owned media.
  • Positive earned media can be promoted via paid media.
  • Social media advertising can be engaged via earned media.

A recurring factor when considering the use of media channels is the tension field between reach and control. Reach means the number of people reached via the channel. Of course, it primarily concerns itself with people who are potential DMU members for the products and solutions that are being sold. Control involves the measure of influence that the organization can have in the presentation of the message or content.

Looking at the different media options, the advantage of owned media is optimal control. The message, the design, the tone of voice and the format are completely in the hands of the organization. The flipside to this is that the reach is limited mainly to existing relations. To generate new business, it’s vital to involve paid and earned media.

control over owned, paid and earned media

Traditionally, paid media was always seen as the most obvious media channel. The rise of social media and content marketing has given owned media and earned media a bigger share in the mix. Owned media is growing because of the increasing value placed by organizations on the production of valuable and relevant content. Earned media is gaining attention due to its potentially huge reach using the relatively low threshold involved in social media, blogs and communities. In practice, though, it’s still very difficult to run effective, large-scale campaigns without involving paid media in some sort of capacity.

owned media strategy

Beside looking at media as either owned, earned and paid, it can also be looked at from a push and pull approach. With push communication, the sender determines the content and the timing of the message. If you receive a weekly e-newsletter, then you know beforehand what the editorial team will have in store for you and when it’s going to land in your inbox. In pull communication, the initiative is with the receiver of the communications. For example, you can search for a certain topic on Google and arrive at a relevant publication that way.

Pull: unsolicited presented content (requested) Push: unsolicited presented content (with permission)
Owned SEO (search engine optimization) Newsletter
Paid SEA (search engine advertising) Advertorials

In content marketing, pull and push mechanisms have their pros and cons. A big advantage of the pull mechanism is that visitors are searching for a specific topic. When they find it, the conversion from site visit to lead is high as the correlation between the visitor’s interest and content offered is significant. The big drawback of the pull mechanism is that the number of people who search at random moments for a certain topic is relatively low. The advantage of push media is that within a short amount of time you can achieve a large reach with a quick response. The disadvantage of push media is that since the communication is initiated by the sender, the receiver will not always be open to this communication.

When planning media, it is sensible to take into account the differences in response expectation. This is particularly relevant for the follow-up. When you provide white paper downloads in a newsletter but during the week that the newsletter is sent there is insufficient time for follow-up, then you’re missing the boat. Leads fall behind quickly and quickly become irrelevant.

However, when you offer one or more white papers on multiple portals that are designed for search engine marketing, people will continuously request them. The follow-up process should be the continuous filtering of leads.

building search traffic

When setting up the media, you should combine push and pull mechanisms. Many content marketing initiatives start by posting content via their own media, such as their blog or in the knowledge section of their website which gets picked up by search engines – this pull gets you traffic over time. To have direct traffic on your content you can add push mechanisms, like your newsletter and direct promotion in paid media.

How to convert interest into leads

The return on modern marketing is rooted in the conversion from unknown vistor, to customer relationship. There are many stages in between however, such as subscribers, followers, leads and prospects. In order to properly measure the performance of the modern marketing process, it’s important to define KPI’s.

By steering according to KPI’s, you can improve the performance, for example, in the form of click and conversion ratios. Improvements can be made in the titles, user interface, alignment with the target audience, response to the device and the use of visuals.

Different types of conversion can be examined depending on the objectives, including;

  • Clicks, views and visits
  • Likes, fans and followers
  • Engagement ratios
  • Subscribers
  • Response and leads
  • Sales
  • Promoter
  • Churn

KPI's for Modern Marketing Management

Planning B2B Content Marketing

An essential characteristic of B2B content marketing planning, is that it’s always thought of in terms of the buyer perspective. Naturally many organizations are used to communicating from their own context, resulting in messages from themselves or regarding the products or services they offer. This is exactly where content marketing differs from traditional marketing.

In order to give some necessary structure with regard to issues arising from your audience and answers that can help people in forming their ideas, two commonly used marketing concepts can be applied: the buyer journey and the decision making unit consisting of buyer personas.

The buyer journey

Commercial decisions are generally not made overnight. Decision makers undergo a process known as the ‘buyer journey’. Before making investment decisions, people generally first arrive at an idea. The current situation, for example, is no longer sufficient, or external developments create the possibility for new opportunities, or threats, which need to be dealt with. Subsequently the possibilities are examined, for which improvements can be made and implemented. Finally, the various options are assessed and decisions are made. This ‘journey’ can be divided into five stages:

Buyer Journey

  • Discovery: the starting point is recognition or acknowledgement of a problem or challenge. Followed by acceptance that a solution must be found.
  • Consideration: subsequently it’s necessary to find solutions. Internally wishes and requirements are reviewed and externally all the possibilities are lined up. This search generally ends with the preference for one, or a limited number of, suppliers.
  • Decision: finally you move towards the execution of a choice. Therefore the chosen option must be justifiable and give the ‘feel good’ factor.
  • Implement: after the actual purchase the product or service needs to be implemented or taken into use. As supplier it’s key to optimize this process.
  • Use: finally the service or product is taken into use. Now it’s essential to turn users into fans!

The phase in which the buyer finds himself within their journey, influences the type of messages he is open to. Someone busy forming ideas, is not necessarily open to the hard sell, or a message pushing your unique selling points. Messages that stimulate the discovery phase, could be more relevant. Think, for example, of content related to trends, developments and possibilities.

The phases that comprise the buyer journey, can be translated to suitable messages as displayed in the diagram below:

Planning B2B content based on a buyer journey

Inspiring Content

Content to raise inspiration is meant to activate the discovery process in a customer at an early stage of the buying process.

Informative content

Informative content is aimed at supporting companies, or individuals, in the consideration phase. In this phase you can for instance help setting up the right requirements, identifying pitfalls and reviewing all potential solutions to a specific challenge.

Convincing content

Convincing content is used for the actual promotion of your own solution. It can be sensible to distinguish stimulating content from other content. This way, the reader perceives awareness content and informative content independent from each other. Independence is important to retain the reader’s attention.

Assisting content

The purchase or investment, is followed by installation or use. This first confrontation with the product or service is the moment to form the basis of customer satisfaction. Through assisting content, the organization can, at this stage, provide maximum service to the newly acquired customer.

Binding content

The commissioning signals the start of the ‘permanent’ relationship with the customer. Content can play an important role in increasing customer satisfaction, brand engagement and customer loyalty.

The decision making unit

A smart marketing strategy doesn’t merely look at the buying process, but also considers the various members within the decision making unit (DMU). The DMU includes the group of people with an organization that influences the decision making process surrounding the purchase of products or services. Kotler, inventor of the term DMU, defines six different DMU roles:

  • Initiator: The initial problem owner that went in search of the solution to his or her problem.
  • Users: The actual users of the products or services, they influence the specifications. Customers’ customers can fall under the category of users.
  • Influencers: They influence the buying process by setting preconditions. They are in every layer of an organization.
  • Buyer: The person that actually conducts negotiations for contract terms with the supplier.
  • Decision maker: The person that eventually decides on the supplier.
  • Gatekeeper: The gatekeeper takes care of the information distribution within the DMU and can therefore significantly influence the decision making process.

The DMU members can fulfill any number of roles.

Messaging framework

If we combine the buyer journey and the decision making unit, we can establish a framework. This framework provides an overview of the stumbling blocks and the motives involved in the buying process of more complex products and services. By analyzing and examining this framework on each item, we can establish the relevant communication messages. Figure 2.7. provides a basic illustration of a standard overview in such a framework. This framework can be set up for each product-market combination.

B2B Content Marketing Messaging Framework

B2B Content Marketing Messaging Framework

This simplified framework, for example, consists of a director, a manager and a user. In terms of discovery at executive level (director), his or her perspective is the starting point for shaping the relevant messaging. At this level, strategic aspects could be relevant. The executive board could question whether or not the organization is ready for the developments in the market. Furthermore, the executive board wants to have an idea of the relevant trends the organization should anticipate. However, if we look at the same phase (discovery) in terms of the user, aspects that could influence them to consider change are, for example, operational issues in the day-to-day functioning of the business.

Your B2B content marketing plan

When it’s clear what messaging the organization will aim at which DMU members, or buyer personas, an important step has been taken. Based on this context, a tactical B2B content marketing plan can be established. The plan will contain a description of how the market will be approached, fed by the knowledge from the buyer journey and DMU.

The tactical B2B content marketing plan makes choices regarding buyer persona’s, messaging, content formats and media. This is not a one-time exercise, but a process that, based on the dynamics of the market and the response of, and interaction with, the target audiences, is continuously adjusted, expanded and developed. Forming the concept is the basis, the starting point of the tactical B2B content marketing plan. In order to further solidify the process and to provide the conversion from concept to market and organization shape and content, the content marketing plan includes:

  • objectives
  • starting points and preconditions
  • choice in content formats
  • production- and editorial planning
  • (social) media plan
  • conversion mechanisms
  • organizational implementation
  • technical implementation