Your Brain on Content

As marketers, you’re in the conversation with the customer throughout the buying cycle, as more buyers are relying on content to research their purchase options. That’s the good news that Leslie Talbot, Corporate Visions’ VP of Content, told her audience at Conversations That Win 2016. The bad news? Despite all this content consumption and engagement, 60 percent of qualified leads still end up in the “black hole of no decision.”

So here’s what we know:

  • 51 percent of buyers rely more on content research buying options than they did in 2015.
  • 83 percent are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content.
  • 50 percent of buyers say much of the content they receive is “mostly useless.”

According to Talbot, mere alignment between sales and marketing is not enough. The sales funnel was created for a low information world, and since we’re now in a high information world, that funnel has shattered because buyers now enter it at different stages. To contend with these challenges, you need to make a compelling case for your prospect to take an action or make a change. You need to shake them loose from their status quo. Understanding how humans frame value and make decisions is critical to telling that status quo-busting story. And if you do it well, you can, as Talbot said, “crack the code on how to get prospects to change their behavior.”

One memorable way to think about great storytelling in the high-information age is a concept called the “three Cs”—context, contrast and concrete—which are summarized below:

  • Context – Frame your story within the context of the buyer’s experience, and aim to disrupt that experience by delivering insights that will make them think differently about their world and how they’re approaching it today. The more disruptive your insight, the better story you’ll tell.
  • Contrast – Value lies in contrast, not in touting the capabilities and differentiators of your solution. A great way to unhinge the status quo is to paint a picture of contrast between the pain of your prospect’s current situation and the upside of a new and better future state, which you can lead them to.
  • Concrete – The “old brain” or “lizard brain”—the emotional core of our brains that controls decision-making—responds to simple concrete visuals. You can take advantage of this factor by using simple imagery that makes change seem actionable, digestible and less daunting.
Tim Riesterer

Tim Riesterer

Chief Strategy Officer

Tim Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations marketers and salespeople have with prospects and customers. His books, “Customer Message Management”, “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale”, “Three Value Conversations”, and "The Expansion Sale", focus on improving market-ready messages and tools that marketers and salespeople can use to win more deals. As chief strategy and research officer for Corporate Visions, he sets the direction and develops products for this leading marketing and sales messaging, content and training company.