If awareness is about problem surfacing, then consideration is about solution surfacing. For example, let’s say you’re a telecommunications company targeting the financial services sector. A prospect that you’d deem a perfect fit – a regional credit union with multiple branches in an area you serve – has a telecommunications problem. How do you know? The company’s Senior IT Consultant recently posted a question about VOIP and data storage to a LinkedIn group you belong to.
“Our Internet always seems to be down, and our provider’s customer service isn’t as good as it should be. I spend 2-3 hours a week on the phone with help desk techs. Is this common/normal? I’m also frustrated with the quality of help I get…seems like a case of ‘the right arm doesn’t know what the left arm is doing.’”
What can we learn from this? Well, this is a sign that the company is willing to shake up the status quo. The consultant’s pain has gotten so bad, he’s naming his problem and poking around to find out if there is, in fact, a solution.
This type of thinking is the doorway into the consideration phase of the buyer journey. Assuming a discussion happened around his post, the consultant now knows he has a set of options. Other LinkedIn posters might’ve discussed a workaround with his existing solution, different providers with similar services or another way of managing IT altogether. These things all represent what the consultant will consider to be his options, and if you’ve done your awareness content correctly, you’ll hopefully be viewed as one of them.
Now that the consultant is aware of his problem and his solution options, what’s he going to do? Well, that depends. To find out what happens at this stage in the buying process in your particular market, you’ll need to turn to buyer personas.
Here are some questions to ask existing customers about the way they navigated the consideration stage of the buying process:
What should you do with these answers once you have them?
Making it through the consideration stage is about positioning yourself as a viable option among a lot of other competing options. That means knowing what’s out there and working to stay in the game. With accurate buyer personas, you’ll have the information you need to create content that’ll keep you on the short list.
But don’t stop there. The next step – decision – is where the real drama starts. That’ll be the subject of our next blog post in this series, so stay tuned!
Stephanie Kapera is a special projects coordinator for Kuno Creative and the co-founder of Up All Night Creative, a Raleigh-based content marketing agency that helps B2B and B2C companies develop magazine-quality web content. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn and Twitter!
Photo credit: Toni Blay