Cut through the noise.
“If you can’t tell, you can’t sell,” says Storytelling authority Robert McKee.
“If you can’t tell, you can’t sell,” says Storytelling authority Robert McKee.
There are many different perspectives and philosophies on persona development. This makes sense, as they’re the most critical element of creating messaging and informing Message Maps™…then identifying and developing content aligned with the buy cycle…and ultimately validating the various components of a true buyer engagement strategy. In the end, persona development should be defined by how it’ll be used – in terms of purpose and context that will drive messaging, and ultimately content strategy. Other marketers will use it more as a “playbook” of all possible or available buyer insights. I’m not saying either is right or wrong, but it’s why we’ve created a new category called Engagement Personas™.
There’s a significant problem with content today that can no longer be ignored. It’s the “elephant in the room”—and some organizations and marketers are aware of it, and some aren’t. It’s that the vast majority of the data from marketing practitioners, benchmark reports, industry analysts, and a multitude of other sources suggests that the #1 objective of content is lead generation and account/buyer conversion, sometimes expressed as “engagement”: (and yes, brand awareness tops some lists). Yet, almost universally, content strategy and content creation is “owned” by Product and/or Corporate Marketing in 60% – 80% of organizations. It’s driven by the Demand Generation team in only 5% – 10% of organizations!
So, let’s get this straight. The primary objective for content is to top-of-funnel inquiries, leads and converting full-funnel opportunities, yet the very people tasked with creating integrated programs to drive that objective DO NOT control the #1 MOST IMPORTANT element which is critical to achieving it? HUH?! Seriously?! That’s like having a plumber wiring your house and an electrician installing the pipes. This can truly blow your mind!
OK, as I step back from the ledge, please allow me to share a highly-informed perspective on this based on a nearly 25 year career in B2B marketing, buyer engagement and demand generation. It’s critically important to acknowledge and understand the difference between “domain-centric” and “engagement-focused” content. Is this starting to make a bit more sense?
The CMO of a “Top 50” B2B technology company said he saw tremendous efficacy in our buyer engagement frameworks and methodologies…but asked himself, and me, the question: why would he need our help with content when he has an dedicated, well-staffed team of product marketers producing it? Then bam…the ability to articulate this difference, which was percolating in my subconscious, hit me right between the eyes. I framed it as “domain-centric” vs. “engagement-focused” content, and the CMO immediately embraced the distinction.
Seems like I sort of threw Product Marketing under the bus, right? Actually, quite the contrary. Product Marketing sits at the intersection of Product Development/Management, Sales, Corporate Marketing, Demand Generation and Field Marketing. As such, they are the single most important information resource in content marketing today. They arguably know more about your products, value proposition, market segments, buyers, market trends, etc. than anyone else in your organization. The disconnect I see, universally across organizations, is that most are classically trained product marketers…schooled in research, creating and articulating value propositions, describing features and benefits, and creating stellar product collateral.
That’s where we Demand Marketers come in and the hand-off begins. By looking through the various white papers, data sheets, collateral, and sales playbooks the Product Marketers have created, Demand Marketers can find what they (and you) are looking for. It’s content that’s embedded and buried within, and it serves a different purpose and context than what is truly useful for buyer engagement. There, in the guise of product and benefit information, you’ll find the buyer’s key pain points, as well as an articulation of how your company, products and solutions help address them. Then you can apply all the insights in our new game-changing eBook entitled Exposed. The False Promises of Revenue Marketing. to create truly effective engagement-focused content.
To discover more in-depth insights on this topic, download a copy of the eBook by simply clicking on the link below to discover 9 principles to exponentially increase leads, conversion and pipeline velocity:
With the rise of social media, many “traditional” online marketing tools have fallen out of the spotlight in the glamorous new world of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Marketers scramble to discuss the latest marketing campaigns which can be implemented with social media.
However, email marketing is one of the marketing tools that should be discussed in earnest. Email marketing is still useful and has its place in the modern B2B marketer’s repertoire.
To ‘Feed the Content Beast’ seems to be a constant struggle for B2B marketers and businesses selling high consideration products/services and oftentimes a lengthy buying cycle.
Yet it’s essential to educate and enable prospects to self-sell at their own pace. Moreover firms, with content resources and associated campaigns enabled by an integrated technology stack, can capture, track and nurture those interested prospects to marketing qualified or sales accepted leads and hand off to sales for 1:1 selling. The rub: quality content assets and tools are required throughout the buyer journey as well as the customer journey and building a comprehensive content program can be daunting.
By John Nielsen
Lead scoring is the process of evaluating and assigning points to prospects and leads using marketing automation tools. Points are distributed based on the attributes associated with a qualified lead. It is important to understand whom you are marketing to when managing a campaign, sending irrelevant content to your followers is a quick way to lose. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, below are a few tips one can easily follow to update your contact lists and help identify priority focus using lead scoring.
An old friend recently introduced a new service that allows the Twitterati to monetize their tweets “MyLinkMyAds”. It’s a brilliant and simple idea that allows people to get paid for the content and knowledge they are sharing.
Like most of what happens on the Internet today, the idea came to fruition quickly and since my friend is a talented developer with a strong social network already, he was able to get his idea online and introduced to the Twittersphere easily.
Then a funny thing happened. He saw a Tweet come through, that basically said, “Great tool for adding ads to your tweets; but I can’t find much detail on it.”
My friend had forgotten a critical element of doing business on-line. Even in a world of 141 characters, you can’t get very far without content and information to validate your brand. He quickly rectified the issue, and added an FAQ page to the site.
It’s a basic principle, but one that is often forgotten in the lightening fast business world today. You may get attention and eyeshare on Twitter, but in order to truly use social media effectively you need to deliver expertise, in-depth knowledge and valuable information as well. As you embrace social media remember you still need to provide access to videos, podcasts, blogs, even old-school data sheets and Web content to share details and legitimize your brand.
There are likely different schools of thought on this and there are SEO metrics that can prove or disprove the visibility impact of more posts vs. fewer posts, but in my opinion less can be more and quality beats quantity. As the cobbler’s children, we are still enhancing our blog post capacity and shortly, our core team will be more consistently writing posts. But our objective is not to game the SEO system with inbound leads. Our goal is to share articles and perspectives that we think might add some value to our readers and continue the conversations we have every day.
With the increasing spamming of the social web, we are in danger of losing site of the true value of content. I get very concerned when clients consider mass article writing strategies – particularly those clients that market and sell a complex product or service to a sophisticated buyer. These readers know when they are being trapped with content proliferation. Now the buzz is content curation – we need to be careful here too. We don’t need someone to simply compile articles, but we do value an editorial perspective and a careful selection of relevant posts. If I trust you, I will trust the links and content you collect and share.
So, rather than stuff your website with trash blog posts and articles every day, if you are trying to reach a more discerning audience, think quality over quantity.
This week, I was invited to speak at a Content Marketing Webinar with BrightTalk (https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/21775 ) – Other than learning to turn off the mute button when speaking (gulp!) it was a good discussion. In preparing for the meeting, I was asked to consider best practices and thought I would offer a few from my perspective here.
Is Content Marketing over-hyped?
My answer is yes- but I think it is still critical to an effective online presence. By embracing some solid practices, content marketing is an effective and a critical component of a marketing strategy, sales strategy and revenue architecture.
Today businesses need to attract and engage audiences with content – the trick is to make sure you focus on relevance! There is a proliferation of content as businesses are scrambling for search visibility and placement and it is easy to get caught in the noise. This article may be hard to find through search unless I pack it with the right key words that are relevant to the searching audience. For broad topics like this, I recognize that the article may get a little lost among the noise – but at least I am engaged in the conversation and offering a perspective, perhaps maintaining a level of credibility. If a potential client is considering Revenue Architects, they will at least see that we are engaged in these important revenue architecture topics.
I advise my clients to really think long-tail and relevance if the content goal is visibility and awareness through search marketing. With so much content on the web, what can you add to the conversation? For Revenue Architects, we will start to write more about how integrated sales and marketing is applied in different industries we work with – these articles will increase relevance for our target segments.
What were these best practices we were talking about? Here are a few from our perspective:
1) Relevance – as just discussed, try to ADD to the conversation by bringing in new relevant content to your audience. Repeating and repurposing what is already out there is not “digital native” and also not helping differentiate.
2) Integrated Programs: Think about the mix. More digital video combined with blog posts, white papers and briefs. Webinars and video together? Connected into a trackable program with tools like Marketo or Eloqua and applying personalization.
3) Audience Aligned – obvious but we often forget. Are we writing for the CIO? CTO? CEO? VP of Sales?
4) Pipeline Aligned: What content works to generate interest? Educate? Facilitate decisions? Modular content will help your audience get just what they need and not be forced to navigate through your entire story.
5) Top-down: Use persuasive communications to drive your message forward.
6) Peanut Butter: Make your content sticky and spreadable: These are Amy Hunt’s words. Make your content sticky “I want to check this out” and spreadable “I want to share this with Jim”
7) More Free: We all think we have premium content and that we deserve your personal information in order to share our great insight. Increasingly your content will need to be more distinctive and value-add before you should expect to get people to register for it – or hand over extensive demographic information. Permission marketing suggests a value exchange – make sure you have one. Premium content should be valuable enough to collect profiling information from your audience – and the more relevant the questions are to the content, the better.
These are a few thoughts on content marketing, there are many more. What do you think? Good luck and good selling…