Play 1 Strategy: Out-think the competition

The problem

Content marketing has become the default strategy for b2b lead generation.  And that’s the problem.

Everyone is in the game – no matter how competent.

To compound this, operating content promotion tools at an entry level has become child’s play.   You may not be competing with actual children in your bidding strategies on search and social, but you are competing with stupid and lazy.  Or at least well funded - with a distant concern for profitable customer acquisition.

Look at the recommended CPC bids for your most ‘buyer intent’ keywords for your product on Adwords.
Does that lead acquisition cost model make any economic sense to you?

It’s not getting any easier on social either. Take LinkedIn for paid content promotion.  To reach some audiences can now be north of £15 per click.  It’s becoming more cost effective to send a postcard to prospects and offer them an Amazon voucher just to click on your landing page.

The play

You can’t outspend so it’s time to out-think.

1. Create a persona targeting control document

Make it an operational document for all ongoing content creation and promotion.

Who are you talking to?
  • Demographics
  • Firmographics
  • Psychographics
What do want them to do?
  • Hard offer profile
  • Soft offer profile
How can you reach them?
  • Keyword profile
  • Social profile
  • Media profile

2. Get knees deep in your target buyer persona’s whole buying cycle

Forget channels in this phase of research. Forget search, social and digital media. Think:

Thought processes:

What are they thinking about?

Watering holes:

Where do they hang out and find out about it?

Out-thinking means taking time out to really understand your target persona’s commercial context. There psychographics rather than just demographics.

Surface level persona profile:

CTO of a corporate >£500m t/o

Psychographic profile:

Likely to be interested in and/or using ‘SAP technology’.

So we can out-think the competition by audience targeting on ‘skills’ profiles:

LinkedIn example

But that is still a CPC that may be unprofitable in the long term.

So what about Facebook?

Knowing the interest in SAP enables interest targeting on Facebook advertising. At roughly 90% less cost than a LinkedIn sponsored update.

Facebook example

It’s not as accurate as LinkedIn but some inexpensive tests will tell you soon enough if you how found a corner of the internet where your competition aren’t showing up.

Contentology research reveals that a primetime for content engagement for b2b audiences is weekdays between 8-10pm on an iPad. What are they likely to be doing?

Let the competition fight it out with route one content promotion. Whilst you profitably show up as a welcome surprise.

Example 1

Buyer persona: SME business owner looking to scale up

Save money. Think harder

You can target 100k people with the job title CEO in Facebook in the UK.

But not all of them fit the psycographic profile.

Books - ‘Good to great’
Known area of study – MBA 22,000
Behaviours – ‘Early technology adopters’ 5m
Leadership development ‘8900

Example 2


Who else in the ecosystem are they likely to be interested in at the growth stage you are looking to target.

It’s probably not worth targeting the followers of

But would their choice of accountant or potential accountant be worth an experiment with @grantthornton?

The win

Your reward? The prize of being at start of the buying process - not the end.  Being the trusted helper to the 57%:

"b2b customers are 57% along in the purchase process before they engage directly with any supplier"
Forrester research

Engagement and conversion performance will soon enough tell you if ‘out-thinking’ is paying dividends.

Let the competition play the expensive game of noisy vendor at the end of the buying cycle.

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