iStock_000012866288MediumCall it selling or call it marketing; to your customer, it’s buying, and it can feel as if the balance has shifted their way. Competitors keep making more products. Distribution channels are flattening; and customers, matched to internet search have uprecedented access to everything.

According to Forrester Consulting, the average buyer researches more than 11 pieces of online content before putting their money down. Last year, Crain’s Publishing determined from research that 43% of businesses believe the buying process is significantly longer than just three years ago.

From trucks to turbines, Americans take longer to decide. Today, they invite in more decision makers and they choose self-education as the best way to winnow the field.

Meanwhile, product life cycles don’t last long. Today, more than half of business revenue—across a range of industries—comes from products introduced in just the past three years.

Every company is in the communication business, and you can use content to manage this countering focus. Products are launched as an event, only to be superseded by the next one. Are the benefits of new products baked into your content strategy so customers are ready for what’s coming?

How has your communication adapted to this empowered customer? How do you communicate so they feel like you have their best interest? Can you effectively show how you anticipate customer needs?

If customers are in charge like never before, what does the trick? Here’s how to think about it with regard to content:

Focus on satisfied customers. They’re the buyers of your last new product so offer content that shows how their purchase paid off. They’re the best proof that your new product will deliver like the last. And, satisfied customers are your best for forward sales.

Use content to lengthen the launch. New products are more like jets lumbering down a runway than explosive rocket launches. Stretch your content with relevant information long before the product announcement and long after, with customer experiences.

Condition the market for what’s coming. You know where your business is going. Good content can start leading customers where you’re headed. Ask yourself: How is long range thinking—details not ready for release—woven into today’s content?