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Ideas & Insights

  • Writer's pictureVox Logic Staff

Be Seen: Capture the Attention of B2B Decision Makers

Let's start with the obvious… There is a ridiculous number of voices competing for the attention of your buyers every day. From Super Bowl ads and movie trailers; to aspiring influencers and Realtors who put their faces on bus benches, there’s a non-stop barrage of content vying for the limited space in our brains.

The actual statistics on this stuff are even worse than you might expect:

  • On average, Americans are exposed to 10 thousand marketing messages every day.

  • There are over 500 million blogs, generating over 6 million posts a day.

  • Up to 86% of web users report ‘ad blindness’ (indicating they don’t even see most of the content on the periphery of what they're reading.)

Maybe it's just me, but 10 thousand marketing messages a day feels excessive. I’m probably going to ignore most of those today. And tomorrow. If we can assume the same is true of your target audience, it’s worth reminding ourselves that the attention of buyers is an increasingly valuable commodity. Something we have to earn.

The good news is that most of those competing messages are pretty easy to ignore. Which gives you a legitimate opportunity to create something that stands out. (So, yes, I’m saying you have a chance.) Here are a handful of tools and techniques that dramatically improve your odds of getting noticed.

01 Know Your Target Audience

Seth Godin said, "Marketing is the act of helping someone solve a problem. Their Problem." I've always thought that was a great way to stress the importance of empathy in marketing. If your plan is to talk about your product more loudly, and more frequently than your competitor, then you can count on your buyer to find a way to ignore you. If you want people to listen, talk about something they care about.

So… step #1 is getting to know your targeted buyer. Who they are; what motivates them; what keeps them up at night; who they trust for information that shapes their purchase decisions. There’s a wide selection of techniques for collecting this kind of intel: one-on-one interviews, surveys, focus groups, market segmentation, buyer personas, customer journey maps. Unfortunately, time and budget constraints often limit our ability to dig deep into this kind of data.

As a fall-back marketers often rely on the feedback of internal team members who work most closely with buyers – sales and service-delivery staff. But, be wary of customer insights that come from business-unit leaders in positions that no longer require customer interaction. It’s not at all unusual for companies to make painfully expensive marketing decisions based on outdated assumptions about their target audience.

The good news is that AI-enabled tools have unlocked powerful new research techniques with the ability to collect and analyze information from global data platforms – identifying patterns, trends, and predictions rooted in the actual behavior of targeted buyers.

For example, AI-enabled search marketing applications collect and analyze global search activity of specific audience segments – uncovering trends and shifts in what buyers are searching (and, by extension, what they care about). These insights fuel smarter keyword campaigns, plus they help identify new market opportunities and product strategies.

AI also has the power to reach across the broader spectrum of online activity to help marketers better understand changing customer sentiments – tracking what buyers are clicking-on, sharing, and talking about on social media and across the web. This allows marketers to create a content calendar that maps directly to the changing interests of buyers. Plus, it sheds light on the characteristics of headlines, imagery, and interactive content that convert traffic to new business.

02 Reimagine Your Channel Strategy

Even the most brilliant ad strategy or content campaign is unlikely to generate ROI if nobody sees it. That’s just as true if a large number of the wrong people see it.

The success or failure of a campaign often hinges on channel decisions – selecting the vehicles that will reach potential buyers at critical moments in the customer journey. All too often, those decisions are based on an incomplete understanding of the ecosystem of influences that shape purchase decisions.

For example, it's easy to get drawn into a pay-per-click bidding war for keywords that reach the wrong decision-makers – not understanding that other players in the ecosystem (e.g. an analyst, consultant, review site) may hold the key to reaching a real decision maker.

Again, AI gives marketers a clearer picture of which online platforms, companies, and individuals have influence over specific buyer groups – based on the real-time behavior of the buyers themselves. They also help identify which individual analysts journalists have the largest targeted social media following. All of this can help optimize advertising, PR, search, and social media marketing programs – while simultaneously uncovering brand-new channel opportunities.

AI can also help marketers to identify which associations, events, and other organizations have unique reach and influence over targets. Potentially, this data can lead to co-branded channel partnerships, experiential marketing, and influencer marketing programs that dramatically outperform traditional paid or organic digital marketing strategies.

03 Don’t Be the Problem

One of the most common mistakes in modern marketing is overestimating the importance of content volume and frequency over content quality. We’ve all found ourselves on websites made up of long stretches of scrolling text, clearly written for search algorithms vs. sentient humans. Social media feeds are littered with well-meaning brands and aspiring influencers who feel compelled to hit a certain number of daily posts, but appear to have very little to say.

The flaw in this approach isn’t just that mediocre content will be lost in the white noise of competing messages. The flaw is that potential buyers will see it. And it will define you.

Buyers know the difference between an original insight and a keyword-dense article filled with recycled ideas. And they have little patience for thinly veiled self-promotion and social posturing. Conversely, they are quick to recognize an original point of view on a subject they care about.

04 Be Authentic

If nothing else, the statistics at the top of this article illustrate why the attention of buyers is increasingly rare and increasingly valuable. At a time when we’re all a little cynical about the number of predictable, recycled sales pitches we see every day, the best way to stand out is to be yourself. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Put the Customer First – Every message should be written customer’s needs and aspirations in mind. Avoid making content all about you. The act of creating something that helps the customer is what makes it about you.

  • Be Human – Don’t be afraid to write like you’re in a real conversation with another human. Rigid, overtly formal writing makes people uncomfortable.

  • Listen: Asking questions – rhetorically or literally – helps transform content into a dialogue. Write from the perspective of someone who seeks to understand issues and solve problems rather than knowing all the answers.

A Final Note

Obviously, I’m a big believer that AI can be a game-changing tool for creating campaigns that connect with customers. But, marketers have to be especially careful about the use of AI-generated content. Generative AI helps pull together ideas from across the web, organizing concepts into draft narratives. But the product of generative AI is a form of recycled content that the search engines discourage and actively penalize. More importantly, AI writing lacks a human voice and point-of-view. Without editing, AI generates the kind of content that is easily ignored.

The real value of AI is that it delivers deep, buyer-centric insights, empowering marketers to draw on their own unique expertise to craft a compelling, original narrative.


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