In my previous post I outlined 3 trends that combine into an efficient instrument for targeted, audience-based marketing: Data Quality, Content Marketing, and Marketing Automation. This eventually will enable marketers to lower cost per sale by delivering fully prospected, profiled and qualified leads to the sales department.
Let’s start with Content Marketing, a buzz word that has been popping up all over the internet lately. For the long version, best check Junta42.
Why is Content Marketing an important trend? Audience behavior is shifting, and it’s moving away from predictable media models. Print, television, pay per click and paid search will be gone within a couple of years. They will no longer attract any audience, as audiences will gather information in social networks, from peers and trusted publishers. Corporate websites will disappear, or change fundamentally to adjust to changing circumstances. Corporations will increasingly struggle to pinpoint tomorrow’s buyers, and their media consumption patterns. To attract prospects, they will become publishers and aggregators of free, high quality content. Content Marketing is the strategy to get this high quality content into prospect audiences, allowing them to join the conversation, influence products, solutions and services, and bring in more prospects.
What is it? Content Marketing basically means to market your content like you market a product. You think about the “buyer” (i.e. reader, downloader, listener, audience), the price, the packaging, the place, the branding, channels and alliances you can leverage in your go-to-market and so on. You create a pr plan for your whitepaper, come up with a search strategy to get prospects to download your recorded webcast, and create an email campaign to push a joint customer study with your best alliance partner.
What about the content? Just make sure each and every piece of content is brilliantly written and beautifully designed, has a clear call-to-action, and is fully integrated into related other content pieces on the same topic: have your whitepaper refer to your twitter, your twitter to your ebook archive and your ebook archive to your event calendar. And vice versa. Make sure its easy to share in social networks, its coded for your e-marketing system to track, and optimised for search engines to serve it up in their organic results list.
Why is Content Marketing bringing in the right prospect, at the right time? Because you have linked your Content Plan to your company’s buyer personas, and to its sales cycle. Let’s start with the latter: Make sure you have a good number of pieces available for suspects and prospects in each stage of the cycle, and you will be able to nurture them up to the point where they are ready for your sales pitch. In B2B, “gathering information” will require a solid high level pitch, with great customer testimonials. “Consideration” will ask for detailed comparison, calculator, extended customer studies.
Then look at buyer personas. Who is influencing, who is gathering information, who is making the decision to buy? For each of these roles, line up the right number of high quality content pieces, tailored for their very specific information needs. Again, make sure you code, track, trace and learn from what works in your audiences. This is where data quality and marketing automation – the 2 next posts on this topic – will make your life a lot easier.