Selecting the Right Lead Gen Content Mix Across the Buying Cycle

Kurtis Kendall

Senior Copywriting Strategist

Lead gen content mix

In lead gen, what types of content resonate the most with your audience? Is it white papers? Webinars? Analyst reports from Enterprise Strategy Group or Gartner? The answer isn’t one of these asset types on their own, but a healthy balance of each across your campaign.

We know this because, as content marketers, our singular focus is B2B tech content syndicated across lead gen, nurture and sales outreach campaigns. We have direct visibility into the content driving the best response in your market, how your content mix stacks up vs. your competitors and much more.

Continue reading to explore what makes up a balanced campaign, what content stages your customers prefer, and how many assets you need for a strong campaign.

What should your content mix include?

According to our 2023 Media Consumption Survey, the average buyer consumes four or more content types in their research, a major reason you need to have a mix of content types.

When selecting content, it’s also important to keep in mind that potential buyers want to be educated by your content before they’re sold on your product. In fact, 92% of buyers report they are more likely to engage with a tech vendor who has helped educate them on a particular subject or technology concept.

A successful lead gen initiative will often include:

  • Third-party research reports from analyst firms like Enterprise Strategy Group, Gartner and Forrester
  • Webinars with credible speakers that offer in-depth insights on market challenges and strategies
  • E-books and white papers that detail in-depth or short-form customer pain points and touch on various solutions
  • Snackable content such as infographics, checklists and shorter videos. Remember: short doesn’t mean light on details – it should still be informative!
  • Case studies that highlight real-world applications of your product and services.
  • Product-centric content that highlights how specific features and capabilities can address common challenges, deliver ROI and help achieve business goals.

Your prospective customers crave the objective insight that comes from these firms, making them indispensable for an effective campaign.

Webinar consumption is also at an all-time high, with 79% of B2B buyers viewing webinar/video content weekly or more. Tying these two asset types together is the most important criteria to customers when they assess webinar content: The inclusion of credible, 3rd-party research and/or voices. 

Content Stage: Tips on selecting content across the funnel.  

When we align content to the different stages of the buying cycle, there are three that we typically focus on: Awareness, consideration and decision. 

Awareness stage content educates a prospective buyer about a problem or concept, whereas consideration stage content compares what technologies and/or approaches they can use to address this problem. Decision stage content discusses what specific vendor or solution offers to solve the problem.

When picking what stage your content should fall into, there are five key questions you should look to answer:

  • How established is your market?
  • Is there a new problem or dynamic impacting users in your market?
  • Is your brand and reputation firmly established?
  • Are you taking a market leader head-on?
  • What topics resonate most with your intended audience?

Awareness and consideration-based content tend to perform better on average compared to decision-stage content, as they often cast a wider net. But decision-stage content plays an important role in distinguishing your brand, so there’s tremendous value in striking a healthy balance.

How to balance content stages

A good rule of thumb to start with is the 40/40/20 guidance, which allocates 40% of content toward awareness stage materials, 40% to consideration stage, and 20% to decision stage. While this works well as a general starting point for lead gen campaigns, you should refine this model based on the maturity of your market and other dynamics in the industry.

Addressing the entire buying team

The average buying team consists of eight or more people across different departments and seniority levels with varying content consumption preferences. This is another reason why you should have a mix of content types and content stages, so all these individuals can self-select the content experience they prefer.

How much content should your campaign include?

To ensure that you maximize opportunities for diverse engagement, you need a minimum of 12 content pieces in your campaign. This recommended number has more than doubled from a mere five assets in 2021 because buyers are conducting their own, independent research more than ever before. However, it behooves you to go beyond the 12-content piece minimum, as 90% of IT buyers indicated that they are more likely to respond to a tech vendor’s outreach if they’ve seen multiple pieces of their content. Having more materials also helps increase the chances of engaging multiple members of a buying team, as the more content you have, the more touch points that resonate with different members.

When selecting your content, remember to curate your materials around a range of roles and buyers’ concerns. For example, practitioners typically care more about the day-to-day benefits of a given product, while leaders and executives are more attuned to the big picture and monetary value a product brings – think ROI, operational efficiency, sustainability.

Keep in mind that 89% of buyers say the least successful approach is to only engage senior leadership at an organization, while 70% of businesses that miss revenue goals exclude key members of the buying team when building target personas.

The bottom line

Your content mix will determine the response you get from your prospects. Awareness stage and consideration stage content should lead the way most of the time, as this is what resonates with the leads you’re hoping to convert, but decision stage materials shouldn’t be neglected. Content types like third-party analyst content, webinars, white papers and case studies all serve important roles in a lead gen campaign, meaning striking a healthy balance is key.

And remember that your prospective buyers want to be educated on the topic or pain point they are experiencing. If you follow this approach to lead gen, you’re on the right track toward a powerful campaign.

B2B demand generation, content marketing, lead generation

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