By Tom Pisello published April 12, 2011

How to Find the Right Type of Content For Your Business

Marketing budgets are growing for most companies, but so are the requirements to reach more empowered, skeptical and frugal buyers via more channels. How can you know that the content you invest in will forge effective connections and engagements that will ultimately lead to incremental sales?

To help define how to best market and sell your solutions, SiriusDecisions has created an innovative way to understand the market characteristics for your offerings, which improves the chances for your success.

The Demand Spectrum helps you classify where your solutions are in the evolutionary lifecycle and evaluates the current market reception and competitiveness. This classification helps marketers understand how to develop the content needed for success.

As the table illustrates, there are three categories in the Demand Spectrum:

  • New concept
  • New paradigm
  • Established market

SiriusDecisions Demand Spectrum

New Concept

A new concept is a disruptive product or service with no budgetary line item within target organizations. New concept marketing and selling is highly evangelistic and requires significant ability around uncovering issues and finding highly influential, highly motivated prospects.

New concepts are often the most difficult to market and sell.  In fact, SiriusDecisions has found that marketing spend nearly doubles for new concept launches versus established market introductions.

Why are the expenses higher?

  • Buyers often don’t know they have the problem you are trying to solve, and if they do, they aren’t aware of potential solutions. Education is crucial.
  • Budgets typically don’t exist, requiring an innovator to take hold and champion the purchase to an equally innovative executive team.
  • Because today’s frugal buyers are struggling with having enough resources to keep up with day-to-day work, they don’t have resources to investigate their issues completely or explore new potential solutions.

Content marketing for new concepts

It is most important for buyers to understand the issues and how they can be solved by the new concept.

Much like a doctor diagnosing a patient, you will need to illuminate issues the client may not even know they have and provide solid proof that a new solution exists that indeed can resolve their ailments.

Content marketing campaigns for new concepts focus on building awareness to the issues and diagnosis. They include tactics such as:

  • Thought-provoking research white papers
  • Case studies
  • Thought-leader-driven webinars
  • Proactive diagnostic assessment tools to survey and benchmark current spending / performance versus peers, leaders and best practices.

New Paradigms

New paradigms are products or services that promise to retool or optimize an existing process or solve a known issue more effectively than currently believed to be possible. The replacement (or at the least, the augmentation) of a product or service making up an existing line item will generally be required with this type of demand.

New paradigms offer a new or innovative way to address a recognized opportunity. Buyers are already aware of the problem and the solutions that have been used to address the opportunity. But the buyer may not know about the novel way your solution solves the problem or what advantages it provides over the legacy solutions.

For example, buyers considering cloud-based services need to understand how these services compare to traditional premise-based solutions. What are the differences in capital and operating costs, management burden, functionality, flexibility and agility?

Under the new paradigm, buyers already know the problem being solved, so they most often need to be educated on how there is a better way of solving it. But in today’s frugal environment, this can be difficult because it’s easier for buyers to do nothing than take a chance on a new paradigm. Buyers often need to be convinced there is a quantifiable financial savings or value to make the paradigm shift.

Content marketing for new paradigms

For new paradigms, the key is to demonstrate that legacy solutions are not optimized, leaving significant process, value, savings and other upside benefits on the table. The key is to highlight how the new paradigm retools and improves existing processes drives incremental business opportunities, or provides a lower cost of ownership.

Content marketing needs to make the case for the new paradigm over the legacy approach with white papers, webinars and interactive ROI analysis or TCO comparison tools to help buyers quantify their legacy solutions’ costs and compare them to the savings  and incremental benefits of the new paradigm.

Established market

Established market represents a product or service that is accepted by the majority of target organizations to be necessary and best-of-breed. The market for these products and services is generally served by a few powerful providers that battle with each other for market share.

Established market already have a well-defined market need and established solutions. Buyers seeking solutions in established market usually know the problem that needs to be solved, but it  may not be clear how important it is to solve the problem or what differentiates the solutions and providers. Vendors in established categories struggle to make their solutions stand out and compete beyond price.

Content marketing for established market

For established categories, feature and function differentiation is paramount, and moving beyond initial purchase price is key. Competitive comparison white papers, webinars and tools can be used to help differentiate solutions.

For example, to advance pricing discussions beyond initial purchase price discounting, a premium-priced solution with an on-going cost advantage may require an interactive calculator or a white paper on the total cost of ownership. These tactics can help buyers understand the true cost of owning each solution over their useful lifecycle by tallying the initial purchase price differences; the potential advantages in lower setup, delivery and labor costs; and the on-going management, support, and evolution.

Right Content for Business

The Bottom Line

Knowing what content to focus on for a particular product or service can be challenging. The Demand Spectrum can help marketers understand the market and buyer challenges that the content should address. Whether the solution is a new concept, new paradigm or established market, the techniques outlined above can assure that the proper content is available to help engage buyers and facilitate their decision-making process.

Author: Tom Pisello

Tom Pisello, the ROI guy, has built his 25-year career helping companies to get more business value from their IT and business investments. Tom’s latest endeavor, Alinean (a CMI benefactor), was founded in 2001 to develop SaaS software for changing the way B2B sellers reach frugal buyers with interactive white papers, assessment, ROI and TCO tools. You can read Tom's blog, see related research and best practices or follow him on Twitter @tpisello.

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  • Anne Janzer

    Thanks for this posting – I particularly like the table aligning the different types of content to different market needs. I run into companies that just want to achieve some critical mass of resources available on their website, or only want content for lead generation purposes. This kind of analysis can help them prioritize what they need and why.

    • http://www.katiemccaskey.com KatieMcCaskey

      I agree, Anne. I like the emphasis of breaking out content marketing for “disruptive industries”, as these needs are very different than existing services/products. Thanks for the article, Tom!