A prerequisite of effective B2B nurture planning is knowing the type of demand you are trying to generate. Content can have any number of jobs: education, buyer progression, objection handling, etc. But content can do no job unless someone pays attention, and that’s why knowing demand type is important.
SiriusDecisions defines three demand types: New Concept, New Paradigm and Established Market. Here’s an excerpt from a worksheet the firm provides to help you make this important determination:
Chart content courtesy of: SiriusDecisions
A descriptive set that correlates to the SiriusDecisions model is New Idea, New and Improved Idea, and Same Idea With Differentiation. Think about the buyer in each of these situations. For New Concept demand, education to raise awareness of the problem needs to come before education about potential solutions. For both New Paradigm and Established Market, the biggest hurdle is commonly disruption of status quo and motivation to act. In Established Market, sellers often target niches based on differentiation.
Make an Honest Assessment
For example, if I were selling a software solution to manage environmental, health and safety compliance, it’s probably going to fall into New Paradigm or Established Market demand, depending upon how meaningful its current competitive differentiators are to buyers. (Note: Established Market is not a put-down! Even if your product team insists they have a New Concept, give each product or service an honest “outsider’s” assessment to create the most effective content.)
If the competitive differentiators of the solution truly qualify demand as a New Paradigm, content messaging needs to be persuasive enough to get as many buyers as possible to see the solutions as a “must have.” Content that compares the “status quo” with “status quo+new differentiators” would be effective; and the better it articulates comparison of top- and bottom-line benefits (i.e., citing specific metrics and proven use cases), the more effective it will be.
If the software solution is in the Established Market category, content should focus more on proven differentiators and perhaps branding. Pain points become more prominent in the messaging, too, because directly calling out “niche” pain points is one of the few ways to get attention in a mature market.
My final word on demand types is that the lines can blur. We have worked with clients that make products that have long life spans and have been called the same thing for decades — products that on the surface seem like Established Market. But current iterations have incorporated innovations such as digitalization, wireless integration, customization, enhanced security/safety or data-driven automation, and as result should really be considered New Paradigm products.
Products/services can also fall into more than one category depending upon the audience. A good example would be 3D printers. They’ve been used for years in some industries such as orthodontia and manufacturing, doing the same things. These applications could be considered Established Market demand. But in other niches, such as medical/surgical, doctors are just starting to create new concepts that vastly improve patient outcomes, such as precise replicas of patient organs that can be studied prior to surgery. These are usually groundbreaking applications, and thus New Concept.
When planning nurture content, make demand type identification one of the first discussions you have. It will help you be more targeted in content planning, and hence, more effective. I’ve also found that it helps with creativity, because it provides a framework to better understand the buyer’s perspective.
Have you used demand type to help improve your content and nurture planning? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
Tonya Vinas is Senior Content Strategist at Content4Demand, where she helps marketing professionals craft memorable stories that not only educate B2B buyers, but also help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Although content marketing is still a relatively new concept for many organizations, Vinas encourages clients to take risks and stand out by integrating fun themes and messaging into their assets, especially infographics — her favorite content format. When she’s not driving marketers to push the content limits, she’s cooking, reading about global trends and the economy or taking a leisurely walk in the valley parks along Lake Erie.