In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges tech marketers struggle with is really understanding what content is most helpful to their buyers.
In a vacuum, most resort to MSU’ing or Making Stuff Up, and it’s one of the most dangerous things any marketer can do.
Let’s look at the negatives of MSU’ing:
- Realizing it’s harder to close deals because your buyers aren’t getting the information they need
- Sinking feeling your marketing isn’t addressing buyers’ true pain points
- Spinning your wheels coming up with campaigns that don’t hit the mark
- Wasting budget and time creating marketing deliverables that fall flat
- Resorting to saying the same thing as everyone else in your industry, so your marketing isn’t differentiated
I think we’ve all been there, right?
The answer? Interviewing your buyers
Only your buyers can tell you the kind of information that’s helpful to them in a buying cycle. And that means interviewing them. By assigning your team the responsibility to interview buyers, you’ll have the information you need to confidently create effective marketing content.
The benefits of conducting buyer interviews include:
- Helps you know, with certainty, what marketing content to create (and NOT create) that actually helps your buyers understand your solution and, in the end, closes deals
- Makes marketing MUCH easier as you realize exactly what your buyers need
- Focuses on empathetic marketing – delivering information that helps rather than focusing only on selling
- It’s easier to justify the budget for marketing activities because you have the specific knowledge of what your buyers require to educate themselves about your solutions
Why can’t I leave this up to product marketing?
Now I know what you’re thinking: Our product marketing team already does this, why can’t I just leave it to them?
My answer is that product marketing has a different focus than you do. One of the areas they’re responsible for is understanding the reasons prospects buy your solutions and the messaging that resonates with them (which, of course, benefits your team greatly).
But product marketing isn’t normally focused on what content resonates best with buyers. Or which types of content are most helpful for each stage of the sales cycle. Or why certain content generates more leads or downloads than other pieces.
This really needs to be something your team does in conjunction with product marketing’s research – you’ll be able to tailor the research to your unique information requirements.
Ideas to get started
Dani Wolf, Director of Demand Generation at Cybersixgill, regularly interviews C-level executives at cybersecurity companies and has learned a ton about how they want to buy, what vendors do that irk them, what they WISH vendors would do instead, etc.
Her process is a bit unique, because she’s interviewing these execs for her podcast series called “Audience First,” but it can be adapted for your purposes, too.
I asked her how she goes about recruiting interviewees and here’s what she shared:
- I make a list of guests I want to have on my podcast show.
- I check who has a connection to some of my close friends in the LinkedIn community.
- I reach out to them on LinkedIn explaining that I want to do better as a marketer and get some feedback from them.
- I send them the questions ahead of time and ask if they are in or out.
- I schedule based on their availability and send them a link to my calendar (via Calendly) if they want to plug in time on their own.
The part I love the most about Dani’s process is #3 – assuring the potential interviewee that you’re trying to learn and do a better job as a marketer. If you say that sincerely, it really helps build your credibility. You’re inviting them to give you their honest feedback, which might mean you’ll get an earful about what drives them crazy about tech companies’ marketing, but it’s all useful information.
You might be wondering if Dani also offers an incentive, such as a gift card, to entice potential guests to talk to her. She doesn’t, although I don’t think that’s a bad strategy. I’ve done that in the past, and it does improve response rates.
If you’d like your team to start interviewing buyers and aren’t sure how to get started, send me a quick note and let’s chat about how I can help,