Marketers have been urged not to underestimate the many ways in which consumers use content.

Paul McKeon, president of content generation and information architecture firm The Content Factor, said marketers need to appreciate that B2B marketing is no longer just in the business of brand management and lead generation.

He explained that B2B marketing must serve a huge demand for content that spans buyers’ needs from pre-awareness to post-sale and it is absolutely essential to match the right content to each buyer at the right phase of the buying cycle.

Writing in the Marketing Profs blog, Mr McKeon explained that there are four main stages of the B2B buying cycle:

Unaware – The buyer is not explicitly in the market but they should be and at this stage, content should be interruptive.

Tentative – The buyer is standing at the edge or lingering in the background. At this stage, content should be educational.

Engaged – The buyer is in a dialogue with the company; at this stage, content should be validating.

Invested – The buyer is a customer. At this stage, content should be exclusive.

Mr McKeon concluded that the four stages should provide a useful framework to help B2B marketers answer the crucial question: “What makes buyers buy?”

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