In the previous article, “Every journey starts with a single content step”, we explored the need to define your customer’s buying journey from their perspective and then use this to create truly customer-centric content. This approach creates an end-to-end content journey, as content is the tool being used to facilitate your customer’s journeys. But what does this mean in practice when trying to understand how content fits into customer journeys?

Understanding what content means

First of all, we need to clarify what is meant by content. To date content has been used as this new umbrella term that represents predominantly digital based communications such as blogs, infographics, eBooks and video, which was largely adopted when brands embraced the need to engage audiences on social media. However, content is much broader than just what can be shared via social media. As well as the above, content encompasses adverts, emails, website content, pricing estimates, customer bills and call centre scripts. Anything that involves an engagement between a business and a customer is content.

Challenging the traditional content journey

Now this is established, we need to look at the idea of how content is understood and managed within many organisations. Because of the limiting view of content mentioned above, many organisations see it as only an above-the-line digital or social media discipline, with it only serving as a tool to help with SEO and drive traffic to a website. Within this understanding of content, you often hear content being described as TOFU, MOFU and BOFU (Top, Middle & Bottom of Funnel) content, where the content has been mapped to a rudimentary customer journey in the form of the marketer’s friend the marketing funnel. However, there are three main problems with this approach.

The first is that it does not actually map content to a customer’s journey, but is more a lead generation journey. This is because the content journey stops once the customer reaches a product or service page of a website where it is then over to the UX (User Experience) team to convert the customer through to sale. From a customer’s perspective, this results in a disjointed journey as they will have been engaging with a series of content on a certain theme and then land on a totally generic product/service page that is often unrelated to the journey they took them there. The result is that many of your customers decide to leave as what they are seeing is no longer relevant to them.

The second key problem is that very rarely is a truly customer-centric view taken to the creation of content where the needs of the customer are taken into account in terms of what they need to hear in order to progress to purchase. The TOFU, MOFU, BOFU approach is more to help businesses manage their content and to segment it in an easy to understand way for creation. The result is that they have a great mechanism with which to produce content based on their sales cycle or product offering, but not for creating content that is reflective of what customers actually need to progress on their journey.