Ask the B2B Expert: Michael Brenner on the Evolving Buyer's Journey

Discover how NewsCred's Head of Strategy thinks about using data to drive prospects through the funnel

May 12, 2015

With more than 20 years of experience delivering excellence in marketing and sales, Michael Brenner is a results-driven, strategic marketing executive and the fearless leader of NewsCred's strategy team. NewsCred is a leading content marketing platform, which empowers top brands to build effective content marketing programs that earn customer attention versus buying it, all while building customer relationships at scale. Read on to learn Michael's take on the funnel metaphor and how marketers are using data to drive prospects through the funnel.

You can find the full interview, along with insights on how to generate awareness, engage prospects, and drive leads with a full funnel marketing approach in The Sophisticated Marketer’s Crash Course in Full Funnel Marketing.

Q&A with Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy, NewsCred

LinkedIn: How has the buyer’s journey changed, and how should marketers be responding to those changes?

Brenner: The main thing is the explosion of content. What’s happening is that while we are creating tons of more content, we’re just feeding the beast. What I mean by that is there are hundreds of people out there talking about how we’re in information overload. But the bottom line is that we seem to have an increasing capacity to be able to consume all this information. What’s happening is that we’re getting more informed, and we’ve all seen the research that the buyer’s journey is 60 percent to 70 percent complete before buyers reach out to a vendor. We have access to information that allows us to be more informed, and we’re taking advantage of that. The amount of information that we as buyers are consuming throughout the customer journey is just going to continue to increase.

LinkedIn: What’s your assessment of the funnel as a metaphor for this whole process, do you think it still applies and why or why not?

Brenner: The funnel metaphor, at its basic level, is that there are more people that are always starting the process than there are at the buying stage. There are more people who aren’t ready to buy than are ready to buy. There are more people that are trying to figure out what the hell cloud computing is than are ready to buy Amazon Web Services or Dropbox. That aspect of the fundamental metaphor is totally still relevant and always will be.

“The funnel metaphor, at its basic level, is that there are more people that are always starting the process than there are at the buying stage.”

LinkedIn: How well are marketers using data to drive prospects through the funnel?

Brenner: The necessary skills in marketing are data, content, and technology. We’ve always created content; it’s just become such a focus because of the way the digital landscape has changed, and we all walk around with super computers in our hands with our phones. The data is just the signal: marketers send out a piece of information or a message, and people either consume it or don’t — and that sends the signal back to us as marketers that says, “Yes, I love this,” or “No, I ignored this.” So I think data is equally as important, and as a content marketer at a content marketing company, I’m here to say that data is equally as important as the platforms and the approaches we take to publish it. But I also think that we can’t forget technology. Gartner predicted that CMOs are going to become bigger purchasers of IT than even the CIO. The reason for that is we need the technology to help us understand how we’re going to reach today’s consumer with all the digital channels that are available to them and all of the ways that we can reach them with content.

“Data is equally as important as the platforms and the approaches we take to publish it. But I also think that we can’t forget technology.”

For more thought leader interviews and tips on the most effective tactics for reaching prospects at each stage of the buyer’s journey, download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Crash Course in Full Funnel Marketing.



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