Bridging the Content Gap

I recently completed another buyer persona project for a company where I interviewed business executives about their purchasing decision around a mature and highly competitive, solution category.

My goal, as with all the interviews I conduct, was to capture insights on what triggered buyers to look for a new solution provider and why they chose the solution that they did. This included what their pain points and needs were, what benefits they expected from a solution, and what criteria they used to compare and evaluate the different solution providers on the market.

A few days later, I came across a TV commercial for one of the company’s competitors. What struck me was that none of the things that are top-of-mind for buyers were addressed in the commercial.

Now I realize that you can only cover so much in a 30-second spot. But to not address a single thing that matters to buyers or could have a real influence on their decision seems to me like a lost opportunity and major waste of money.

What’s more, just imagine the advantage the company with the buyer persona insights will have over their competitors once they revise their value proposition, content marketing strategy and sales enablement tools!

There’s a big gap between what buyers care about and the content they find.

The discrepancy between what buyers care about and the information they need to make their purchasing decision, and the actual content that solution providers crank out is not an isolated incidence. (I’ve touched briefly on this observation before in a previous post.)  

After each buyer persona project that I complete, I like to compare the insights buyers share with me with the actual content on the company’s website and their competitors’ websites. The three biggest content gaps that I am seeing are the following:

60% – 80% of what’s most important to buyers is not addressed on a company’s website.

Most of the websites I’ve reviewed make an earnest attempt at communicating value from the buyer’s perspective and providing information that will help the buyer make a more informed purchasing decision. But either they miss the most critical information or solution capabilities buyers are looking for, or they over-emphasize things that are on the bottom of buyers’ list of needs, priorities and requirements. So they fail to persuade buyers that they have a solution worth investigating.

Information is there, but it doesn’t explicitly address buyers’ needs, or it’s difficult to find.

In some cases, the company touches on the information buyers are looking for, but they do it in a round-about way using a lot of marketing jargon or sales-speak, instead of explicitly addressing buyers’ needs using language that they understand and resonates with them. So the message gets lost on buyers. In other cases, the information is buried deep in the company’s website or spread out over multiple pages, so buyers have a difficult time finding it – or they fail to find it altogether.

Companies are not tackling the objections that would cause buyers to eliminate their solution from consideration.

Considering that 60% of the B2B buying decision is made without ever consulting with a sales rep, the sales team may never get an opportunity to counter objections or clarify misconceptions buyers may have about their product or company. So a company’s website has to do that for them. Most of the websites that I’ve reviewed fail to proactively address the real or perceived barriers that would cause buyers to exclude them from being short-listed for evaluation.

That’s why interviewing real buyers who recently purchased the type of solution you market is so important.

Not only does it enable you capture the insights you need to create more relevant, engaging and persuasive content. You can direct buyers to a single, web entry page that contains all the points you need to convince them to evaluate your solution and explain why they should buy from you instead of your competitor. This leads to better search engine optimization, better conversion and, of course, a better research and web experience for buyers.

“If your content isn’t easy to find or doesn’t provide the answers they are seeking, buyers will move on to a different provider who is more helpful.” – Adele Revella, President, Buyer Persona Institute