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How to Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

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How to Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyer's Journey

No one wakes up in the morning and decides, “I’m going to buy something today.” Instead, they go through a path to purchase that includes research and evaluation before committing to a sales call.

That journey is called the buyer’s journey. Because consumers are more informed and empowered than ever, it’s important to deeply understand your buyer persona and their journey so you can create content that helps them along that path while positioning you as an authority in your space.

In this post, we’ll cover:

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Understanding the Buyer’s Journey in Marketing

In most cases, with the exception of impulse buys, an individual begins their journey in an “unaware stage.” This individual likely fits the demographics of your ideal client, also known as your buyer persona, but they are unaware of your product or in need of it.

However, they may experience a triggering event that changes their situation or pain that needs to be solved. This kicks off their buyer’s journey.

buyer's journey graphic showing progression through the awareness stage, consideration stage and decision stage

Let’s say that an individual wants to kick off a personal fitness journey. They may not immediately decide to purchase a gym membership. This individual may take to the internet to learn more and make decisions as they progress through the following stages in their buyer’s journey, and it’s our job to assist them in that decision-making process.

Awareness Stage

In the awareness stage, the buyer is experiencing a problem or symptoms of a pain, and their goal is to alleviate it. They may be looking for informational resources to more clearly understand, frame, and give a name to their problem.

An example of a search query a prospect might begin with is: “How do I get stronger?” In the awareness stage, they are not yet thinking about solutions or providers; it’s much too early for that. Instead, they’re looking to contextualize their problem first. As a content marketer, you’ll want to show up in search engine results, even in these early stages, to establish your authority and gain the trust of buyers who are starting the journey.

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Consideration Stage

In the consideration stage, the buyer will have clearly defined and given a name to their problem, and they are committed to researching and understanding all of the available approaches and/or methods to solving the defined problem or opportunity. In other words, they are considering potential solutions.

An example of a search inquiry a prospect would make at the consideration stage is: “What’s better: going to a gym or hiring a personal trainer?” In the consideration stage, the prospect is not yet ready to buy, but they are deciding on the potential solution for them. Your goal will be to consider your indirect competitors and educate them on the pros and cons.

Decision Stage

Once they’ve progressed to the decision stage, the buyer has decided on their solution strategy, method, or approach. Their goal now is to compile a list of available vendors, make a short list, and ultimately make a final purchase decision.

An example of a search inquiry a prospect would make at the decision stage is: “Planet Fitness vs. Gold’s Gym.” Now they’re ready to spend money, and they’ll likely go with a provider that they like, know, and trust so long as that provider can meet their needs.

Why Creating Content for the Buyer’s Journey Is Important

As in all marketing disciplines, it’s essential to understand your audience: how they think, the answers they seek, and the path they tend to take to find a solution. From that research, you can begin crafting a documented content strategy that maps your content to the various stages of the buyer’s journey.

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When you don’t completely understand your audience, a disconnect is created between your business and your potential customers. For content marketers, this usually means you’re putting out content that your readers don’t really relate to, which can cause you to lose them.

To avoid this, you’ll have to consider the stage they’re at in their journey, how to meet them there, and the best channels to put the content in front of them. The internet has made it easier for marketers (and salespeople) to engage customers at the various stages of their journey using content marketing. That’s one of the main reasons that 60% of marketers consider content as ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ to their overall strategy.

However, it can be challenging to create the right content, for the right people, at the right time.

Building a content strategy starts with identifying the types of content you’ll need to reach your audience according to their progression through the buyer’s journey, and we’ll guide you through it in terms of both the marketing flywheel.

Creating Content for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Once you have an idea of your buyer persona and how prospects move closer to purchase, you can begin creating content for your buyer at different stages and tailor that content per channel.

Doing so can help you map your content to the relevant stages of the buyer’s journey to make a marketing funnel.

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  • Awareness Stage: The stage where people look for answers, resources, education, research data, opinions, and insight.
  • Consideration Stage: The stage where people are doing heavy research on whether or not your product or service is a good fit for them.
  • Decision Stage: The stage where people figure out exactly what it would take to become a customer.

Your journey may look very different depending on your industry, business model, product, pricing, and audience. Some B2C customers, for example, spend very little time in the middle of the buyer’s journey compared to B2B customers that require far more nurturing, engagement, and relationship development before a purchase is made. A $50 pair of sneakers, for instance, requires a lot less hand-holding when it comes to making purchase decisions than a $10,000 business software investment.

Content Ideas for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Because audiences can vary widely based on industry and intent, persona research is of the utmost importance. By understanding their unique process for awareness and evaluation, you can create a truly effective content marketing strategy packed with custom content that best supports their journey toward making a purchase.

content for each stage of the buyer's journey: awareness consideration decision stage examples

So let’s take it from the top and start from the beginning of the buyer’s journey.

At the awareness stage, a buyer is trying to solve problems, get an answer, or meet a need. They’re looking for top-level educational content to help direct them to a solution, like blog posts, social content, and ebooks. Their value as a lead is low because there’s no guarantee that they’ll buy from you. But those who find your content helpful and interesting may journey on to the middle of the funnel.

content for each stage of the buyer's journey: awareness stage with example search inquiry

The ideal channels for the awareness stage may include:

  • Blogging
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing

Let’s run through the different content formats best suited for these channels.

1. Blog Post

A blog post is an ideal piece of content targeting the awareness stage. By targeting a pain, problem, or topic your target audience wants to discover and then posting it to your website, you’re creating a brand asset that’s crawlable by Google and discoverable by search engine users. You can also promote your blog content across other channels.

content formats for the awareness stage: blog post

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Arel=”noopener” target=”_blank” hrefs is an excellent example of a brand that does blog content right. They include original data and informational advice to create long-form articles that serve their audience.

Featured Resource: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

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2. Social Media Post

Social media is a channel that can be used to promote your other content, and you can also create content specifically for the channel. According to Pew Research, 72% of the public uses some form of social media, so your audience is likely native to this channel. Unlike blog posts, social media posts are likely in shorter form, and video consumption is also on the rise.

content formats for the awareness stage: social media post linkedin example

In the above example, HubSpot Agency Partner Yokel Local shares attractive customer marketing tips on the LinkedIn platform. SlideShare formats are popular on LinkedIn, so the content is created to be snackable with short-form take-aways.

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3. Whitepaper

A whitepaper is an organization’s report or guide on a particular topic. Whitepapers are especially useful as downloadable offers when readers want to go more in-depth on a specific subject they’re reading about. For whitepapers, it’s essential to provide information that can’t be found elsewhere so that your audience understands the report’s value and is compelled to get it.

content formats for the awareness stage: whitepaper

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Every year, HubSpot publishes a survey on the state of marketing to provide helpful guidance based on thought leadership to marketers, sales professionals, and business owners. Inside, readers find statistics from a broad survey and industry experts’ opinions on what the data means and where the industry is going.

4. Checklist

For complicated tasks with many moving parts, individuals may simply want a blueprint that spells out what they’re supposed to do to achieve their end goal.

content format for the awareness stage: checklist

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Buying a home is a perfect example of this, and Opendoor meets its audience’s needs by providing a handy checklist (in infographic form!) for the reader that spells out all the steps that need to be taken. The graphic is aesthetically pleasing and even allows room for a few tips along the way.

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5. How-To Video

Sometimes, the best way to solve a pain or problem is to learn a new skill. Sure, a purchase of some kind may be required along the way, but the audience may need to become more informed about the problem and how to solve it. That’s where instructional video content comes in.

HubSpot Marketing has a series of videos dedicated to teaching viewers about where SEO principles are broken down to the audience in easy-to-understand language and visuals. Knowing that SEO is a complex subject, the Marketing team aims to make it accessible to viewers.

6. Kit or Tool

Informational content provided to a broader audience may not always be enough for your buyer persona to make a decision or take action. In some cases, they may require a little more utility or personalization. That’s why kits and tools are a great piece of content to create to help the reader along their path to purchase.

content format for the awareness stage: kit or tool

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Nerdwallet creates content around several financial topics, budgeting being one of them. It can be challenging to create a budget, though, so they developed a calculator that allows users to provide their own numbers to receive a customized recommendation.

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7. Ebook or Tip Sheet

Like whitepapers, ebooks and tip sheets are great options for downloadable content. In contrast, they tend to be shorter form and more actionable.

content format for the awareness stage: ebook or tip sheet

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CoSchedule combines a few tactics by promoting their headline analyzer tool with a blog post about writing great headlines that drive traffic. On that blog post, they include a great tip sheet of powerful words to include in headlines if you want to catch a reader’s attention.

Featured Resource: 36 Free Ebook Templates

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8. Educational Webinar

A webinar is a web seminar where information is typically provided through video. A webinar can be prerecorded or streamed live, which opens up many possibilities to disseminate information to an audience who wants more visual and auditory content.

content formats for the awareness stage: webinar

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SEMrush makes webinars a key part of its content marketing strategy, often running a valuable topic multiple times to get more mileage out of the content.

Moving on from awareness stage content, let’s delve into the next stage of the buyer’s journey.

When someone moves into the consideration stage, it means you’ve captured their attention. They know they have a problem that has to be solved, and now they’re trying to discover the best solution. The need for a future purchase commitment creeps up as they’re evaluating their options.

1660231774 488 How to Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyers

This stage is typically a point of extended engagement where you’re nurturing a lead, building a relationship, and establishing trust between the audience and your brand.

The ideal channels for your consideration stage may include:

  • Website or Blogging
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media

Let’s go through the best content formats for this part of the buyer’s journey.

1. Product Comparison Guides

In the consideration stage, the buyer persona still considers solutions to their pain or problem. For this reason, product comparisons are a great way to help them decide.

content format for the consideration stage: product comparison guide example from very well fit that reads "pros and cons of hiit training"

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Verywell Fit provides such a comparison to help their readers choose between high-intensity workouts vs. steady-state cardio, providing the pros and cons and use cases for each.

2. Case Study

A case study can be used in both the consideration and decision stages simultaneously by convincing the reader that the solution works by establishing that the provider achieves results for their clients by administering the solution. A good case study will appeal to the emotions and logic of the persona by providing detailed information and quantitative data on the final solution.

content format for the consideration stage: case study example from bluleadz that reads "lead generation strategy lands 77 new clients for credit counseling agency"

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HubSpot Partner Agency Blueleadz tells a story about their client and their problems while providing a detailed account of how they solved them.

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3. Free Sample

A free sample is another example of content or an offer that overlaps between the buyer’s journey stages. Consider this: An individual wants to paint the inside of their home but doesn’t know what color.

As they consider which color (the solution), they pick up paint chip cards from their hardware store. A provider creates these cards based on their individual solution. When the individual falls in love with a color, they already know who the provider is that makes it.

content format for the consideration stage: free sample example from 4colorprint that depicts a pack of sample business cards

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SILKCARDS taps into this buying behavior by offering samples of their unique printing methods on the content that they create. They know their business is tactile, and digital content alone is not enough to close a deal. Once their prospective customer holds the sample in their hands, other business cards are put to shame.

So now that you’ve provided content to help customers list out or sample their options, it’s time to move them into the decision stage.

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the buyer's journey decision stage with example inquiry

As prospects near the end of the buyer’s journey, they’re evaluating providers down to specific or specialized offerings.

Marketers, in turn, want to go above and beyond their expectations and provide an easy and frictionless customer experience that can win them over their competitors.

Handling objections, remove hesitation, position ahead of comp

The ideal channels for your decision stage content may include:

  • Website
  • Email Marketing
  • Live Chat and Chatbots for Service

With your prospects getting increasingly interested, let’s go through the content formats that can help them get closer to purchase.

1. Free Trial or Live Demo

What better way to know if you want to purchase a product than take it for a spin? Car dealerships have used the “test drive” tactic for years because it works. If the product itself checks all the boxes the buyer has, all the sales team has to do is handle their objections and make the close.

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content format for the decision stage: free trial or demo

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Hellosign does this well. Though they have a free option with limitations, they know that offering a free trial upfront is the key to getting clients into their larger tiers. Their pricing page sets the prospect’s expectations and points them to the free trial.

2. Consultation Offer

A consultation is another example of providing just a little bit of service in exchange for the opportunity to close the sale. The best consultation reduces the anxiety of entering into a sales conversation by promising something concrete they can walk away with (a strategy or actionable advice) in exchange for their time.

content format for the decision stage: consultation offer from blkbld & co that reads 'for our initial consultation, we will discuss what you are looking to do, your budget, my marketing plans you can execute & lastly the next steps"

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Blk Bld & Co.’s consultation offer is a great example because it reduces the friction of scheduling a consultation. By removing friction, this organization increases the chances of conversion.

3. Coupon

A coupon appeals to a fear of missing out (FOMO) mindset. By reducing the price by a certain amount, a coupon is handing a price objection while convincing the prospect that they’re leaving money on the table if they don’t use the coupon. This inertia is enough to win the prospect’s business.

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content format for the decision stage: coupon

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Fragrant Jewels does this well by gamifying its coupons. By spinning the wheel, the website visitors have the chance to get a coupon before checking out the products. They’ll likely evaluate the products that are a good deal with the coupon they won.

In addition to decision stage content, you should create content to delight your existing customers. This may include FAQ and knowledge base content to make the customer experience more accessible, coupons for the opportunity to upsell, and additional educational content that deepens their understanding of a topic.

Mapping Content Across All Stages of the Buying Cycle

Every business offers a unique buyer’s journey that can’t necessarily be replicated from one business to another. When creating your buyer’s journey, you must understand your audience and develop a strategy that maps custom content specific to each phase of their journey through the process.

If you do it well, it can have a significant impact on your customer relationships and lift your overall conversions.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

In today’s fast-paced business environment, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) has emerged as a critical facilitator for enhancing operational efficiency and competitiveness. EMM solutions streamline workflows, ensuring that enterprises can adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. This blog discusses the indispensable role of EMM in modern businesses, focusing on how it revolutionizes workflows and positions businesses for success.

EMM solutions act as the backbone for securely managing mobile devices, applications, and content that facilitate remote work and on-the-go access to company resources. With a robust EMM platform, businesses can ensure data protection and compliance with regulatory requirements, even in highly dynamic environments. This not only minimizes the risk of data breaches but also reinforces the company’s reputation for reliability and security.

Seamless Integration Across Devices

In today’s digital era, seamless integration across devices is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for maintaining operational fluency within any organization. Our EMM solutions are designed to ensure that employees have secure and efficient access to the necessary resources, irrespective of the device being used. This cross-platform compatibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing for a unified user experience that supports both the agility and dynamism required in modern business operations. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, our solutions provide a cohesive ecosystem where data flows securely and effortlessly across mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring that your workforce remains connected and productive, regardless of their physical location. The adoption of our EMM solutions speaks volumes about an organization’s commitment to fostering a technologically forward and secure working environment, echoing its dedication to innovation and excellence.

Enhanced Productivity

EMM facilitates the seamless integration of mobile devices into the corporate environment, enabling employees to access corporate resources from anywhere. This flexibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing tasks to be completed outside of traditional office settings.

Unified Endpoint Management

The incorporation of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) within EMM solutions ensures that both mobile and fixed devices can be managed from a single console, simplifying IT operations and enhancing security.

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Advanced Security Protocols

Where cyber threats loom larger than ever, our EMM solutions incorporate cutting-edge security protocols designed to shield your organization’s data from unauthorized access and breaches. By consistently updating and refining our security measures, we ensure your assets are protected by the most advanced defenses available. This commitment to security not only safeguards your information but also reinforces your company’s reputation as a secure and trustworthy enterprise.

Data Protection

EMM solutions implement robust security measures to protect sensitive corporate data across all mobile devices. This includes encryption, secure VPN connections, and the ability to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices, thereby mitigating potential data breaches.

Compliance Management

By enforcing security policies and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, EMM helps businesses avoid costly fines and reputational damage associated with data breaches.

Driving Operational Efficiency

In the quest to drive operational efficiency, our solutions streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and automate routine tasks. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we empower businesses to optimize their workflows, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Our approach not only enhances operational agility but also positions your organization at the forefront of innovation, setting a new standard in your industry.

Automated Workflows

By automating repetitive tasks, EMM reduces manual efforts, increases accuracy, and speeds up business processes. This automation supports operational efficiency and allows employees to focus on more strategic tasks.

Real-time Communication and Collaboration

EMM enhances communication and collaboration among team members by providing tools that facilitate real-time interactions. This immediate exchange of information accelerates decision-making processes and improves project outcomes.

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Testimonials from Industry Leaders

Leaders in various industries have witnessed tangible benefits from implementing EMM solutions, including increased productivity, improved security, and enhanced operational efficiency. Testimonials from these leaders underscore the transformative impact of EMM on their businesses, solidifying its vital role in modern operational strategies.

Our commitment to innovation and excellence propels us to continually refine our EMM solutions, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of technology. This dedication not only solidifies our standing as industry leaders but also guarantees that our clients receive the most advanced and effective operational tools available, tailored specifically to meet their unique business challenges.

Looking Ahead

The evolution of EMM solutions continues at a rapid pace, with advancements in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) further enhancing their capabilities. These developments promise even greater efficiencies, security measures, and competitive advantages for businesses willing to invest in the future of mobility management.

Our proactive approach to integrating emerging technologies with EMM solutions positions our clients at the forefront of their industries. By leveraging our deep technical expertise and industry insights, we empower businesses to not only adapt to but also lead in an increasingly digital world, ensuring they remain competitive and resilient amidst rapid technological shifts.

In conclusion, the role of Enterprise Mobility Management in modern businesses cannot be overstated. Its ability to revolutionize workflows, enhance security, and drive operational efficiency positions it as a foundational element of digital transformation strategies. We invite businesses to explore the potential of EMM solutions and partner with us to achieve unprecedented levels of success and innovation in the digital era. Together, we can redefine the boundaries of what is possible in business operations and set new benchmarks for excellence in the industry.

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

Air Canada tried to throw its chatbot under the AI bus.

It didn’t work.

A Canadian court recently ruled Air Canada must compensate a customer who bought a full-price ticket after receiving inaccurate information from the airline’s chatbot.

Air Canada had argued its chatbot made up the answer, so it shouldn’t be liable. As Pepper Brooks from the movie Dodgeball might say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” 

But what does that chatbot mistake mean for you as your brands add these conversational tools to their websites? What does it mean for the future of search and the impact on you when consumers use tools like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to research your brand?

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AI disrupts Air Canada

AI seems like the only topic of conversation these days. Clients expect their agencies to use it as long as they accompany that use with a big discount on their services. “It’s so easy,” they say. “You must be so happy.”

Boards at startup companies pressure their management teams about it. “Where are we on an AI strategy,” they ask. “It’s so easy. Everybody is doing it.” Even Hollywood artists are hedging their bets by looking at the newest generative AI developments and saying, “Hmmm … Do we really want to invest more in humans?  

Let’s all take a breath. Humans are not going anywhere. Let me be super clear, “AI is NOT a strategy. It’s an innovation looking for a strategy.” Last week’s Air Canada decision may be the first real-world distinction of that.

The story starts with a man asking Air Canada’s chatbot if he could get a retroactive refund for a bereavement fare as long as he provided the proper paperwork. The chatbot encouraged him to book his flight to his grandmother’s funeral and then request a refund for the difference between the full-price and bereavement fair within 90 days. The passenger did what the chatbot suggested.

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Air Canada refused to give a refund, citing its policy that explicitly states it will not provide refunds for travel after the flight is booked.

When the passenger sued, Air Canada’s refusal to pay got more interesting. It argued it should not be responsible because the chatbot was a “separate legal entity” and, therefore, Air Canada shouldn’t be responsible for its actions.

I remember a similar defense in childhood: “I’m not responsible. My friends made me do it.” To which my mom would respond, “Well, if they told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

My favorite part of the case was when a member of the tribunal said what my mom would have said, “Air Canada does not explain why it believes …. why its webpage titled ‘bereavement travel’ was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot.”

The BIG mistake in human thinking about AI

That is the interesting thing as you deal with this AI challenge of the moment. Companies mistake AI as a strategy to deploy rather than an innovation to a strategy that should be deployed. AI is not the answer for your content strategy. AI is simply a way to help an existing strategy be better.

Generative AI is only as good as the content — the data and the training — fed to it.  Generative AI is a fantastic recognizer of patterns and understanding of the probable next word choice. But it’s not doing any critical thinking. It cannot discern what is real and what is fiction.

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Think for a moment about your website as a learning model, a brain of sorts. How well could it accurately answer questions about the current state of your company? Think about all the help documents, manuals, and educational and training content. If you put all of that — and only that — into an artificial brain, only then could you trust the answers.

Your chatbot likely would deliver some great results and some bad answers. Air Canada’s case involved a minuscule challenge. But imagine when it’s not a small mistake. And what about the impact of unintended content? Imagine if the AI tool picked up that stray folder in your customer help repository — the one with all the snarky answers and idiotic responses? Or what if it finds the archive that details everything wrong with your product or safety? AI might not know you don’t want it to use that content.

ChatGPT, Gemini, and others present brand challenges, too

Publicly available generative AI solutions may create the biggest challenges.

I tested the problematic potential. I asked ChatGPT to give me the pricing for two of the best-known CRM systems. (I’ll let you guess which two.) I asked it to compare the pricing and features of the two similar packages and tell me which one might be more appropriate.

First, it told me it couldn’t provide pricing for either of them but included the pricing page for each in a footnote. I pressed the citation and asked it to compare the two named packages. For one of them, it proceeded to give me a price 30% too high, failing to note it was now discounted. And it still couldn’t provide the price for the other, saying the company did not disclose pricing but again footnoted the pricing page where the cost is clearly shown.

In another test, I asked ChatGPT, “What’s so great about the digital asset management (DAM) solution from [name of tech company]?” I know this company doesn’t offer a DAM system, but ChatGPT didn’t.

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It returned with an answer explaining this company’s DAM solution was a wonderful, single source of truth for digital assets and a great system. It didn’t tell me it paraphrased the answer from content on the company’s webpage that highlighted its ability to integrate into a third-party provider’s DAM system.

Now, these differences are small. I get it. I also should be clear that I got good answers for some of my harder questions in my brief testing. But that’s what’s so insidious. If users expected answers that were always a little wrong, they would check their veracity. But when the answers seem right and impressive, even though they are completely wrong or unintentionally accurate, users trust the whole system.

That’s the lesson from Air Canada and the subsequent challenges coming down the road.

AI is a tool, not a strategy

Remember, AI is not your content strategy. You still need to audit it. Just as you’ve done for over 20 years, you must ensure the entirety of your digital properties reflect the current values, integrity, accuracy, and trust you want to instill.

AI will not do this for you. It cannot know the value of those things unless you give it the value of those things. Think of AI as a way to innovate your human-centered content strategy. It can express your human story in different and possibly faster ways to all your stakeholders.

But only you can know if it’s your story. You have to create it, value it, and manage it, and then perhaps AI can help you tell it well. 

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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