Make the Move to Audience-Centric Content in 6 Steps

Buyers always want to know “what’s in it for me?” Answering with product-centered information is a surefire way to lose their attention in a hurry. It’s so important that I decided to revisit a SiriusDecisions presentation about its Go-to-Market Execution Model in 2017 that helps ensure you’re transforming product-centric content to audience-centric engagement.

The Go-to-Market Execution Model delivers a blueprint to operationalize sales, marketing and product alignment to grow the business faster with audience-centric messaging. Marisa Kopec, VP, Innovation and Product Management; and Ross Graber, Senior Research Director, Marketing Operations Strategies, introduced the model in a Sirius Summit 2017 presentation.

At the time, the vast majority of organizations were structured based on product, with success metrics that focused on revenue, market share and profitability. It took a “deprogramming” of sales and product people to buy in to the new paradigm. That’s likely still the case for plenty of companies.

Is yours one of them? Here are three signs your business isn’t audience centric:

  • You’re focused on yourself (your products/services) and not your buyer.
  • You don’t know how your brand/solution compares to the competition as you’re vying for the buyer’s attention.
  • Your messaging and marketing tactics don’t resonate with the needs and desires of your buyers.

All three indicate that you’re not making a connection with your buyers – a necessary connection to win their attention and their business.

Your Blueprint for Change

Two years of research and customer input went into the Go-to-Market Execution Model, built on eight activity-based stages:

  1. Audience
  2. Architect
  3. Ideate
  4. Plan
  5. Design
  6. Build
  7. Activate
  8. Measure

The last four stages, Kopec pointed out, make up the go-to-market engine. They may run just fine, but we’re sometimes using the wrong fuel to drive them. Product-centric fuel drives product-centric output. Adding audience-centric fuel changes the outcomes.

Start With Small Sips

The model is complex, but getting started is simple within its modular structure. You can start with a single component. And SiriusDecisions identified six hot spots where you can spark the biggest impact. Kopec and Graber “canned” those hot spots into a transfomative six-pack.

Audience Framework

Get to know your audience with a deep dive into personas. Get marketing, sales and product together in a room to agree on the audience segments, where to target and which audiences to leave out. This takes a combination of qualitative and quantitative insights.

Audience sizing, which looks at the number of buying centers rather than the number of accounts, can be a helpful technique in this area.

Buyer Needs

Graber put it bluntly: Most companies suck at understanding buyer needs. He suggested looking at leads on three levels:

  • Organizational
  • Functional (department, etc.)
  • Individual

Go-to-Market Model

Product people may get twitchy when you shift the conversation from products to audiences. An offering map based on the audience framework helps them see where their products fit in, and they’ll be more likely to relax and buy in to the new process.

That offering map starts with audience needs and maps them to products rather than the other way around. It’s a great way to uncover new ways to bundle products that create new solutions to meet a need.

Messaging

 Messaging shifts completely when it’s based on audience insights. Including emotions helps us make a true connection with the audience. Build messaging on audience-centric templates and processes with a clear understanding of the audience and personas.

Campaign Hierarchy

Turn what you know into an action plan that aligns to the audience. SiriusDecisions research shows that this results in higher response rates, greater engagement and faster selling velocity. The key is to structure your campaigns around who you’re selling to.

Measurement

Go beyond measuring success by product revenue, and begin to measure based on buying centers, buying groups and personas. Watch for growth signals to demonstrate you’re reaching your targets and making progress. And pay special attention to sales enablement to make sure your sales team is adopting the model as well.

These are the kinds of questions we need to answer:

  • Who are we reaching?
  • What portion of the buyer’s journey are we reaching?
  • Are we applying budget to our audience-centric campaigns?
  • Are our tactics being deployed?

If we can’t measure the progress in terms of the audience – down to the persona level – the business will not continue to fund our audience-centric model.

Good to the Last Drop

Kopec reassured us that this isn’t a “rip and replace” process. You can introduce components one at a time and adapt your processes over time, and then focus on optimizing them. Pop one can at a time to work your way through the six-pack.

Every stage of the model is built around existing SiriusDecisions models and frameworks. What the Go-to-Market Model does is to integrate them in a new way to bring all the pieces together.

For more help on your audience-centric content transformation, be sure to watch our webinar on demand: “Content Marketing Hit-Makers: Audience-Centric Formats You Need to Add to Your Catalog.”