At Kapost, we’ve had the good fortune to work with hundreds of B2B marketing organizations in their effort to build outstanding marketing content operations. Through the course of this experience we’ve learned a lot about what makes our customers successful in this endeavor. And from this learning we’ve developed a new offering for how to best get started with Kapost that we call our Express On-Ramp, which I’m happy to announce today.
I’m eager to tell you all the details. But let me start by explaining where it fits within B2B marketer’s efforts to build world-class customer experiences.
The Goal: Building a Winning Marketing-Driven Customer Experience
Our mission at Kapost is to enable B2B marketers to develop superior customer experiences, from first touch, through sale, all the way to advocacy. Whatever the customer interaction might be—a blog post, an email, a physical event, a sales deck delivered by a sales person, a help article, a script delivered by a support deck—they are all defined by content, content that marketing is increasingly designing as part of its mission to architect the end-to-end customer experience.
To win a customer experience, marketers must master the content lifecycle—plan, create, distribute, analyze—across the entire customer lifecycle. Thus the goal is the upper right of the graph depicted below.
But most B2B marketers know that they are far from the mastery of both dimensions. Instead they are typically in some level of content chaos. Internally different siloed teams create content that is disconnected from other silos’ via ad-hoc fire drills. There is very little long-term, cross-functional planning. And there is very little visibility into what content the organization has already been produced so that it can be used by various internal stakeholders.
This internal chaos results in external chaos. Buyers receive different, inconsistent, and often contradictory messages at different touch points on their buyer’s journey. As a result conversion rates at every stage of the journey suffers.
B2B marketers know that they want to move out of this chaos and build a winning customer experience. But this does not happen overnight. Fortunately, however, Kapost has been on this journey with hundred of marketing organizations, and has developed a step-by-step approach to get to the goal.
Steps to a Winning Customer Experience
As B2B marketers evolve up from chaos, there are three levels of maturity that yield increasing business benefits to their organization.
As marketers emerge from content chaos, they need to first establish order in the content efforts through visibility. In the visibility stage, internal content stakeholders begin to get insight into a shared plan for what content is going to be created, producing great improvements in their efficiency and output. Additionally content consumers—marketing channel owners, sales people, support, etc.—gain visibility into what content the organization has, yielding efficiency and performance improvements.
Once visibility is achieved and order has been brought to the chaos, organizations are then ready to focus on alignment. In alignment, an internal feedback loop develops between content creators and consumers so that creators better understand the usage and needs of consumers and better serve them. Different internal teams align more strongly on a common plan around the customer experience and create content that is more consistent from stage to stage in its message. And this begins to result in a more aligned external customer experience, with customers benefitting from a consistent value proposition delivered all across their journey.
And once alignment is achieved, organizations are ready to move to optimization. Instead of driving marketing initiatives forward based on instinct or opinion, marketers now can focus on creating a data-driven customer experience. With a systematic operation in place, internal processes can continuously improve and scale for global collaboration. Furthermore, so much content performance data has been accumulated at this point that marketers have real insights into what content is driving customer experience success and what content is not, enabling them to deploy resources on the most effective marketing content and initiatives.
As we’ve worked with customers at Kapost, many of our champions inside marketing organizations see the vision of achieving visibility, alignment, and optimization and rush full speed ahead towards achieving that vision.
But quite often we find these champions get tripped up in their rush to move forward. Why?
Improving your customer experience through management of your content lifecycle across your customer lifecycle can be a complex undertaking.
Depending upon the size of your organization, the number of stakeholders involved (content creators, influencers, consumers) can be anywhere from a few dozen to multiple thousands. If a champion moves forward without achieving the necessary understanding and buy-in from at least a first wave of stakeholders, the entire endeavor can often fail. Many times champions spin in circles trying to develop the necessary consensus from stakeholders, but are unable to get a critical mass of their team bought in. “Yes,” the stakeholders say, “we should try to do something, but what is the right solution for us? What would that solution really mean inside our organization? How would it impact our day-to-day?”
The Critical Step: Awareness
Given this challenge that champions face in building consensus in among their internal stakeholders, Kapost has identified a critical step between chaos and visibility in our maturity model: awareness.
In the awareness stage, the organization achieves across senior and tactical stakeholders:
- Awareness that the company has a marketing content problem and that there is a commitment to fix it
- Awareness of how the problem can be fixed—developed via some quick wins
- Awareness of the steps that will be taken to fix the problem
We’ve found that organizations who execute on the awareness stage first have a much higher chance of succeeding across the higher steps of visibility, alignment, and optimization.
The Express On-Ramp
Now at Kapost, we of course believe that our platform is the key ingredient to solving the content chaos problem and achieving a winning customer experience. The need in the awareness stage to gain the internal understanding of how Kapost can solve the problem presents, however, is a chicken-and-the-egg dilemma. How does an organization come to understand that Kapost will solve their problems—in a tangible way and through quick wins—before they have Kapost?
We’ve developed the Express On-Ramp program as a way to solve this dilemma and enable customers to succeed in the awareness stage. Through Express On-Ramp, customers have the opportunity to experience Kapost at very little risk but achieve the quick wins and buy-in necessary to awareness.
Express On-Ramp is structured as a month-to-month service at a price point that is incidental to most organizations. This low level of up-front commitment removes the risk for prospective customers looking to quickly get a real sense of how Kapost would impact their organization.
But despite the low risk and commitment, prospective customers are fully enabled to experience the Kapost platform. Express On-Ramp customers are assigned a Customer Success professional who works with them on weekly calls through the process of set up, training, and launch. Focusing either on the Kapost Content Gallery or Kapost Content Planner packages, customers within 30 to 45 days are able to achieve quick wins showcasing how Kapost can impact their business.
For example, a Kapost Content Gallery customer in 30 days would have 50 assets from our two recent campaigns are all tagged, in one place, and ready for sales to easily find and use. Or a Kapost Content Planner customer would have all of the content for their next two product launches clearly planned out in an online calendar—not a nasty spreadsheet—and ready to go.
Armed with these quick wins, the organization’s content champion can then showcase the solution to internal stakeholders. With the organization’s actual content and plans uploaded in the system and real progress achieved, stakeholders can tangibly understand how Kapost will lead them out of content chaos and toward a more effective customer experience. Stakeholders are now ready to buy-in to the path forward that the champion has laid out, and that buy-in is critical to success of the content effort going forward.
B2B marketers understand more than ever that the customer experience is critical to their business’ success and that overcoming content chaos is the major challenge to getting there. Kapost’s experience with marketers on this journey has laid out a path to this goal, passing through steps of visibility, alignment, and optimization. But companies—and specifically content champions—who look to vault straight to these steps often get lost in an endless cycle of consensus building. The awareness step is vital to winning the buy-in and understanding from internal stakeholders that enables content success.
And Kapost’s Express OnRamp program enables content champions to effectively achieve that awareness.
To learn more about Express OnRamp, listen to this short, 15-minute webinar. It covers five ways the Kapost Express On-Ramp will speed up your marketing success, and give you the quick wins you need to move your organization forward.