How to Guide the Customer Journey With Content

How to Guide the Customer Journey With Content

Jessica Cross, Manager of Demand Generation at RollWorks, joins the Content Experience Show to discuss using content throughout the entire customer journey.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Content for the Whole Customer Journey

Content marketing has become a mainstream idea, with most modern businesses incorporating it into their marketing strategies. This is certainly a good thing, but we often embrace widespread ideas at a shallow level, at least initially.

While many companies are relegating their content to the top of the funnel, Jessica Cross and her team at AdRoll are advocating a deep, robust content strategy that guides consumers through the entire customer journey. After all, content is about storytelling, and just as in every other avenue of storytelling, your content should take people on a journey.

By getting to know your audience’s questions and pain points, you can create content for every stage of the customer journey that assists them in moving forward. Continually delivering relevant content for each potential dropping-off point will not only bring more customers to the sale, but it will leave them confident and more excited about working with your business.

In This Episode

  • How lead times differ between B2B and B2C.
  • Why content is much more than just top-of-funnel marketing.
  • How to address your customer’s major questions through your content.
  • Who should be in charge of content ideation.

Quotes From This Episode

Ideally, content marketing hits on our emotional pain points, and it can guide us through the entire journey. Click To Tweet

“My aim is that through our content, we’re able to answer a customer’s core questions, and then we’re able to tell a story that resonates as to why our solution should matter.” — @JFayeSF

“You want to be able to answer customer questions more so than just top-of-funnel acquisition.” — @JFayeSF


Content Experience Lightning Round

Tell us about why pottery is so important to you.

Jessica has done pottery for 12 years as both a hobby and as an exercise in relaxing and meditation!

See you next week!

What Great Brands Do That Good Brands Don't in Content Marketing

Okay content is easy. Killer content is hard. This nifty eBook shows you the difference, based on our real-world work with dozens of brands. A must-read!

Episode Transcript

Randy: Welcome to the Content Experience Show, also known as Contacts, and I am Randy, I've got Anna with me, and we want to tell you everything you need to know, in this upcoming podcast, which was a beauty. It was Jessica Cross, manager of Demand Generation enroll works, which is part of an Admiral Group. And she hits on, I think one of the best definitions ever have, first of all, what the difference between B2B and B2C marketing path looks like, but then gets into how to use content effectively within there and of course, also touches on Patrick Swayze. But you're wondering about, but we're not going to tell you about. And what was your biggest takeaway from this podcast this week? Anna: I have to say, I'm just going to spoil it. Jessica gave one of the most sound ways to map customer journey paths with the brand that I've heard in a long time. In sound in a way of you can literally take everything that she just said she gives you the entire framework and you could go do it right now. Anna: It's based off of feedback from your customers and the way that she did it the way that she approached it was my favorite part. Randy: We I mean we were chatting kind of in between segments as we often do and you know one of the things that you kind of even needed to it's just how important it's been for her to talk to customers along the way, which was so refreshing and now she kind of you know shot in the legs and content marketers she's worked with over the years and saying like some of them just don't take the time to ever talk to customers and she hates them for that, which I loved you know she may not want me to know I said that or a bit that out loud. But this was a great podcast, even you and I, Anna, we said like, she was just so nice to speak to and, and I think you'll get that listening to this podcast. Anna: Totally, she was easy to talk to you. She gave amazing advice with pretty much every single second of this podcast, and even handled your Patrick Swayze trivia question. pretty well. Randy: Yes, now everyone's curious. The discussion to listen to the next time with Jessica, but it's great and engaging. So let's roll it. And you got to bring her in here we get. Anna: Jessica, thank you so much for being here today. It's really great to talk to you. Jessica: Excellent. Thank you so much for having me. It's really fun to be with you too. Anna: We started to chat a little bit off the air but for all of our listeners, go ahead and tell them a little bit about you. Jessica: Officially my name is Jessica Cross, I work for the Admiral Group specifically role works which is the B2B division, and I now manage our Demand Generation here. Anna: Nice, so what does that like a day to day look like? Because that there's a lot in terms of what Demand Generation encompasses there's a lot that Admiral enroll works do so what kind of does your day to day look like? Jessica: Day to days are fun, exciting seems to change seems like even though I've been here close to three years every year it's a different job, which is good thing but my day to days are all things digital marketing, advertising, paid acquisition as we call it. I run events and field marketing, direct mail in there as well. So I kind of to me, I round that out as my ABM approach as well as a lot of work with my sales leadership and our operations team to make sure the efforts that my team undertakes actually go somewhere does it get handed off to sales as it turned into revenue all those good things. Randy: That the so little bit to keep you busy yeah? Jessica: But it's fun, it's great. Randy: Nice, and you and I connected at an event speaking of event marketing, I'm curious you referred and in what you do in the company or with being Admiral or role where within Admiral. It's interesting to me that there's a marketing team that separately focused on the B2B side, and I'm wondering like, do you see inside of that organization a major difference between the B2C product and B2C approach that you may have versus selling to B2B marketer in terms of how you need to go to market? Jessica: Most definitely, at the high level add role is display advertising and did like digital marketing acquisition solutions for marketers and we can serve both a B2C style marketer like an E-commerce marketer, as well as a B2B marketer, which I think most of us are. For B2B marketers when you run ads, the main thing you're trying to get someone to do is to hit the website and turn into a lead, and then that lead maybe six months, nine months a year later, could turn into revenue for your business, and that's a basic approach for that funnel. Jessica: For E-commerce, their ads, drive them to the website and ideally someone purchases right then and there or maybe they purchase within a 14 day, 30 day period. The product has to behave and report and function quite differently for an E-commerce marketer versus a B2B marketer. Jessica: And last year, we decided that we just weren't doing a good job of serving all of our customers with one platform. So to be better customer service, we actually split into two business units. And we're now we're seeing to see more differentiation between our product lines. Randy: That's really cool. Anna: Real quick not to divert, but I love that you just outlined sort of the different lead times in the different functions. Because one of the things that I find so often it's so frustrating is that people kind of apply those lead times to just everything like blanket like you did the thing so go get the customers go get the lead. So I love that you just clearly differentiate and articulated that like I'm immediately like fanning over here. Randy: Now, and it starts to make sense to me because you know, as you describing that, and this podcast is often very much tied back to content, it makes me think about the not just the product you have but your acquisition strategy yourself for these customers may need to be a little bit different, little bit different style. Randy: Would you say that's accurate? Like, is it help to have two different marketing teams or you ultimately yourselves acquiring customers along the same type of pipeline, whether they're selling B2C or they're selling B2B. Jessica: Yes. About our marketing team, I think about my job last year, and I was trying to service an enterprise sales team, a mid market sales team, and maybe which is direct people hit the website and signed up for an account started spending as well as region. I would be supporting Dublin, Japan and Australia. And that was kind of crazy but also really fun. Jessica: But, I would say that the marketing team was unfocused. Now we have two marketing teams that Admiral side is a little bit bigger than the role of work side. We have about 12 people on the role works marketing team, and now I just get to focus on enterprise style B2B marketing. I don't have to switch my brain back and forth between trying to run a fields a road show for a bunch of enterprise sales reps to then go focusing on how do I convert more people from a free trial to spend within 30 days? Because that is two different types of marketing. Randy: That makes so much sense, and maybe we can take the conversation, I know Anna and I would both like, in our lives that this you know, before the show and you've actually lived it really nicely up here so far is. With these timelines that you have, as a B2B marketer, and your need to work with these enterprise customers with all that time. How does content play a role at different stages? Like, I think a lot of us guiltily think content marketing is inbound, inbound top of the funnel, get a lead and then sales will go take care of things, right, but it's not that way. I mean, people listening to us know that how do you think of that? Jessica: Content marketing for me is it's the art of story telling, and as everyone we all want to be told a story that we can believe in, that helps guide us through our journey. Ideally content marketing it, it hits on our emotional pain points, as well as maybe the worst pain points. And it can guide us from not only just the top of funnel acquisition, but through the whole journey. And even if your sales reps are using the content to deliver through their email, it should be tailored to the customers lifecycle stage. Jessica: We hear so much about you got to deliver the right message at the right time to the right buyer. And in order to really do so you need to build out a full library of content that ideally answers their questions. Why do I need to buy this solution? Why should I buy the solution right now over any other solution? Why is this solution going to solve my needs versus me just building it myself? You want to be able to answer all those questions more so than just all that top of funnel acquisition. Anna: In order to answer all of those questions how do you win the team go about doing that? Because I think a lot of times when we talked to content marketers and we talked to people who are trying to discover what their users really want, there's a lot of different methods. There's a lot of different approaches and there's just so many questions. So how did you and the team go about starting to address some of the questions that your customers have and take on this approach? Jessica: For sure. And by no means was this methodology scientific I going to say that, but it worked for us. Last year I was the life cycle marketer for Admiral which meant my brain was dedicated specifically to thinking about how do I take someone from a net new name to close one business because we had another person on the team focus on the acquisition. I got to spend a lot of time on this and I developed things like a content matrix I also sat in a lot of demo calls with customers, so I could hear what the pain points were and thanks to calls we could actually transcribe all those demo calls and it allowed me to boil down the common questions that people ask in the pitch calls and in the demo calls. Jessica: From there, I actually made I'm a big on making spreadsheet. I made a spread of spreadsheet of all the questions. And then I tagged them by like the lifecycle stage and then try to coat like, do some sentiment analysis of the pain points, which I then worked with my content marketing manager at the time to map out like five big buckets of our life cycle stage. And then the common questions asked at each stage. Jessica: Then we took our existing content and we figured how much we had that could answer each of those questions. And, of course, number and behold, a lot of our content was very much at the top of the funnel. And we had a lot of green space in, the sit like the SGR like the demo call to NBS rep handoff. Why should someone care about taking an appointment with us? Then we also found we had big green space around our onboarding, to answer more of the technical questions on how do you get up and running? What are the steps to picking a target account list and figuring out what ads served to that target account list? Jessica: Going through that exercise, maybe it took us like a couple months my content marketing manager that had a full list of things to work on for the rest of the year, which was great. And I then had content to put in multiple different nurture streams. Anna: I love that you started off that entire process with it wasn't very scientific, but I think you need to take a step back and give yourself some massive credit because listeners everybody hearing this, Jessica literally just gave you the roadmap for how you can go figure out your customers journey with you and how you can attack their questions at each stage. And Jessica, I have to say that is actually literally the exact approach I would have taken as well. Please take a step back and give yourself credit because the whole time you were explaining this and your promise I was like, Yes. Amazing. Anna: And even just listening to your customers it's such a missing part of that process that a lot of content marketers they're just missing it and just even all that anecdotal proof and the validation and just hearing them it's gold it is content gold it is journey mapping gold and it's just something that people aren't even doing. Jessica: My aim is that through our content we're able to answer their core questions, and then we're able to tell a story that resonates with the buyer as to why our solution should matter, why we should take up 15 minutes of their day. Randy: I want to dig a little bit deeper because I think is said you really gave us a good framework, but I want to go into some specifics of takeaways that you found in that green space and content you create it but let's take a quick break we'll first hear from some of our sponsors here on the content experience show and then we'll be right back with Jessica Cross to learn more about mapping content. Jay Baer: Hi friends this is Jay Baer from Convince and Convert, reminding you that this show the Kinet show podcast is brought to you by Uber Flip the number one it content experience platform. Do you wonder how content experience affects your marketing results? Well, you can find out in the first ever content experience report where Uber Flip uncovers eight data science back to insights to boost your content engagement and your conversions. Jay Baer: It's a killer report and you do not want to miss it, and get your free copy right now. At And the show is also brought to you by our team at Convince and Convert consulting, if you've got a terrific content marketing program, but you want to take it to the very next level we can help commit to convert works with the world's most iconic brands to increase the effectiveness of their content marketing, social media marketing, digital marketing and word of mouth marketing. Find us at Convince and Randy: A lot of you may be wondering, why would I send you to Bitly/Instagram for tours? It's a report coming from Convincing Convert that's all about Instagram for tourism marketing. Now some of you may be saying I'm not a tourism marketer, granted I like to go on tours and I like to travel around but I always like to say we can learn so much from different areas that are outside of our focus. And I think the travel industry, the tourism marketing that's going on these days, the degree of personalization that's needed is so important. To boost your Instagram views, likes and business in 2019, go the Randy: All right, so Jessica, I'm still kind of excited coming off of that last answer that you gave us in this idea of the steps that you're doing to map the matrix. But this is true story. I just finished the manual, you know, finalizing the manuscript of my book. And like we were looking for examples of people doing this right. And a lot of things we talked about people doing is exactly what you are doing. Maybe you can give us I mean, it's one thing to say you've got the right framework. Randy: I think sometimes when people really walk away is a great example. Maybe you can give us an example of what is your solution all about kind of in that middle to bottom of funnel. What was some of that green space he did and then ? How did you get the content team on side to create that asset and what results did you see? Jessica: A question that kept coming up in the demo calls and what I could hear from sales reps, was all around I think this is like a barrier to getting them to move to the next step in our buyers journey. But a lot of marketers they want to do Account-Based Marketing but they don't have a target account list, but they know that they need to be doing ABM so they have this hurdle that they need to get over. I worked with my content marketer to think about a checklist of different ways that one could go about building a target account list and it kind of was like a follow your own destiny type of map. That's how it turned out. Jessica: But it's like if you have atleast an idea about your industries and you can do this kind of target account list. Or if you know your customers, we could model data after your customers or if you don't have any of those things, but at least you know, geography, we're trying to give the prospect three different options are just some ideas on how they could get over the hurdle of not having a target account list to keep them moving forward in the buyers journey. Jessica: Once we identified that as being a critical question, the production of the contract was actually really quick. I think it took us only two weeks from typing it up, running it through copy edits, putting it to the designer to design this nice little checklist. And that checklist actually goes in a direct mail piece that we send out after someone takes their first demo with us.They take the demo they like what they see, but then potentially they have some hurdles they need to get over. Ideally, the checklist helps them through those objections. Randy: And find is really interesting, I actually want to go back to the beginning of this process because this is the part that I think a lot of people listening to this trying to figure out. Because we started off that you are a manager of Demand Generation. Nowhere in that job title is it's a content, right? But of course, you're talking all about content, which is refreshing itself. Where would you say the ideation base for content here should be should come from? Is it coming from the content marketer or is it coming from Demand Gen? Or is it coming from someone else that we're not even identify? Jessica: It has to come from both. Otherwise, content marketing can produce things that will get used. I actually just had a meeting with my marketing manager Mike, he runs all of our digital. Earlier this morning, where we're starting to build out our 2019 wish list. We have a new content marketer starting in the new year. I'm very excited for her to join. But I want her and my digital marketing manager to work really closely together to figure out what are the pieces of content, the blog posts the SEO keyword rankings that we need to rank. Jessica: Figure those things out together. So that her efforts, whatever she produces, actually gets used in the wild. Because, sadly, I have been at an organization where the content marketer just produced, and I actually didn't have used for some of the things that she produced because they didn't rank on keywords, they didn't fit an objection, they didn't fit my nurturing cycle. And that caused friction within the team. So to me, it has to be a joint effort. Anna: Based on having experienced some of that friction in the past, and then obviously having a much different experience recently with collaborating on content. What are some of those keys to collaboration that you feel have to be in place? Is that team structure? Is it just the person themselves you know what, what are some of those keys to getting people Demand Gen and content marketing department for the best result possible? Jessica: Good question. Team structure can help I think having high level goals on more than just top of funnel acquisition. If the team can focus on improving, what is it, like our M2Q appointment ratio and say the VP of Marketing says this quarter, we're going to, we're going to increase how many leads actually make it through the funnel, then the rest of the team can focus all our efforts on that goal. I will say our VP of Marketing does a very good job of setting those types of benchmarks for us. Jessica: As a full 12 person marketing team, not just content, not just demand independently, but the full team, we can try and aim for those goals. Anna: Nice. Even just having that bigger picture than like, I have to do this thing, put the round peg in the round hole, but actually see sort of like what actually is really happening with the customer. And what were our bigger goals? Jessica: Sure. Anna: Agreed. I've had some of those same instances before in the past and integrate that's kind of worked for me to where it's taking the focus off of like, what each team is responsible for. And like what the day to day minutia is in looking at sort of like the bigger picture it seems to help there's all still. There I've also some interesting friction stories with co-workers in the past. Jessica: Of course it's example. Anna: Exactly Yes. I mean, sometimes you see them more than your actual family, depending on the work week. Jessica: This past week, I seen my co-workers far more than my husband. Randy: I'm thinking about it the same way. It's true. I mean, it's the dynamic that we establish between these groups is so important. It's this big question of who's going to own that journey, or who's going to own we often call it on this podcast, the content experience because it's not, as you said, just the content marketer and what they want to create. Randy: It's not just the Demand Gen marketer and what campaigns they need to run, it's what are the actual touch points that someone's going to go through, until they're ready to buy from you. And I think it was a great summary that I keep coming back to, at the beginning of this podcast for you map the complexities in the final cycle. Randy: Now, regardless of B2C, or B2B, right, even those short ones, they're still complex. And even more than anything, we got to make sure we don't lose a beat because the person is looking to buy right in that moment. Definitely some great takeaways that we've had here from you, Jessica. We've had a lot of fun just learning from you. We're gonna have a little bit more fun if you can stick around. After a little break here. We're going to go in and get to know you a little bit behind the scenes. So right back here in a moment with Jessica Cross. Randy: We're back here with Jessica Cross. We've learned everything I think we can take in today from a Demand Gen content marriage that's going to last long term even though as you said before the break you haven't seen her husband as much as your team members, but I am going to hit you with a question. It's a get to know your question. I always like to ask people about movies and things like that. But this is a leading question intentionally. Randy: The leading question is, tell me your favorite Patrick Swayze movie and why? The question is whether you're picking up on my cue? Jessica: Oh, I got it. Randy: Nice Jessica. Jessica: Hey oh now I'm stumped. I mean.. Randy: He was not in ghost busters just to clarify he was not in goes ghost busters. Jessica: But I'm more into dirty day I'm saying. Randy: Oh really? Okay I thought you were going with the pottery scene in ghosts. Jessica: That's oh now I know the clue. Randy: Now you know the clue. Jessica: I actually just watched ghost, and thankfully my Spanish is decent but the movie was dubbed in I think Mexican Spanish but then the subtitles were in Spain Spanish so it's like trying to read like I think I know what this movies about. Randy: Well, I was trying to lead you into pottery which is overly associated with that movie even though it really is about a ghost. But what is when you tell us a little bit about why pottery so important to you because I clearly, screwed up the queue. Jessica: I do pottery, I guess you could call it. I'm a ceramicist. I've been doing it for maybe 12 years now. And I go every Thursday night is my studio time at my studio in Berkeley. And then sometimes I'll, you know go in on the weekend if I have something in progress. And surprisingly this is the first year that I've actually been able to break-even on my sales of my goods comparative to how much the hobby costs me. Jessica: I joke that pottery is my creative outlet because maybe my job isn't as creative as I wanted to be. But that's that's a lie. I get to do a lot of great stuff at work. That's my joke about pottery. Anna: But there's just something nice about like throwing on the wheel or I used to do ceramics as well which by the way do you do throwing or do you do building which style. Jessica: I mainly throw and then I tend to decorate our like car or paint on the outside of my house. Anna: Real quick story time, so I for electives and in high school and college I used to take ceramics because I loved it and it was super fun it integrate. It was there's something very therapeutic and like almost like a level of meditation about it, I remember. Jessica: Patrick Swayze comes up behind you. Anna: Yes, that's a good. Randy: For that dirty dancing move down the arm or for pop that sees this all but coming from that that group but comforting behind move, like I walked into that one. Anna: That was never my experience of ceramics but you know good for them. No, my devastating experiences ceramics I was I actually finally built a like 12 inch tall throne piece and it was beautiful, it was amazing. And I finally got like, you know the glaze right on it. And it was detailed and complex and I went to go submit it to like a show and as I was getting out of the car, it just fell on the ground and shattered into a million pieces and then ever since then, it's just maybe sad to think about like ceramics. I was gonna say you've probably had way worse experiences. Jessica: It’s not that it's worse. It's the same experience. And we were joking about this in the studio last night, myself and the other women, it's mainly women in the class. That powder is an exercise and letting go that at every phase and that customer journey just kidding everybody. Jessica: The last night I was trying to just make some cylinders and lifted jars. I successfully created two but killed the third and that's just something that happens. You can kill it on the wheel. You can kill it, trimming it, you can drop it as you try to glaze it. It cannot come out of the glaze kiln. It's just an experience in, as you said. It's meditative. And it's an experience and letting go. Jessica: Yes, I love it. And I feel like that's something that you can absolutely bring back to everyday life. Anna: Well, Jessica, thank you so much again for joining us. It was really, really fantastic to have you on. Jessica: This is very fun broadcast. Thank you guys. Anna: Fantastic. I'm glad you had a great time. So everybody, thank you so much as well for joining in. Once again, you can find us wherever you find your podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, all the good stuff. Do us a favor though we'd love to hear from you. When you do find us, please leave us a comment. Please leave us a review and let us know what you want to hear until next time. Thank you for joining us. I'm Anna Aha off from Convincing Convert on behalf of the always amazing Randi fresh from Uber Flip.  
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