There were once two competitors. The first invested to create great educational information truly helpful to customers. The second invested nothing in educational content, took the savings to the bottom line, and sold their products for less. Who won? In this case, the lower priced suppler. But it should not have happened that way.
While educational content can be expensive to develop, when used strategically it can create buyer preference for products and more than pay for itself.
But without a plan to do this, educational content is just an added expense. The old thinking is that educational content is created to make customers “feel good” about a company. But customers are different today. How many “shop” the sales reps from well staffed companies only to buy the same product for less through a low cost online buying service? Lots of people.
In B2B marketing several trends have made educational content even more important.
First, buyers have fewer hours to evaluate far more products.
Second, Many products have a technology, software, or service component that needs understanding to evaluate.
Confused customers do not buy. In today’s competitive market it is often the product customers understand best that gets bought, not the one with the best specs or features.
Educational content can help customers understand base technologies behind a product, a product category as a whole, or the market a product serves.
A starting point a for content strategy begins with this question:
Setting aside details about your product...
If potential customers understood more about ____________ they would more likely buy from us and not our competition.
What goes in the blank space? Some examples:
A high quality manufacture helped customers understand how to objectively evaluate “quality” in their product category.
A service supplier offered an objective white paper on the risks in purchasing the type of service they were offered.
A tech company helped customers understand a new technology they had built into their products.
None of the above are true product pitches but all help potential customers understand the context of a potential purchase. Educational content can help customers understand quality, risk, new technology and far more. In a world where buyers have less time to evaluate products, and those products change quickly, the sale often goes to the organization that best educates buyers rather than companies who better present their features and befits.