Content Will Not Be King

Coronation crown of Louis XVNearly every marketer in every industry has heard the cry “Content is King“. Even the cover of Ad Age was emblazoned with Content is King last month, complete with a crown. Once a call for change and recognition of a new marketplace reality, Content is King has become conventional marketing wisdom.

The problem is, conventional wisdom is average. Following conventional marketing wisdom will not differentiate you.

Why is content king today:

  • Being customer-centric required moving away from creative executions as the primary way to deliver a message. Focusing on the customer requires providing something that meets their need, and content perfectly fits the bill.
  • Content marketing was not the norm. Companies embracing content marketing were able to provide unique value to clients and prospects.

Today, the situation has changed. Read more of this post

Buyers to Marketers: Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

“Why do you want my email and phone number again? So your sales consultant can contact me? No thanks, I’ll pass.”

Boonville Missing Bucky Walter PhoneMost B2B marketers are still fixated on capturing registration data, and no wonder. The marketing automation machine lives on a diet of email and your sales process is built on the telephone.

The problem is, your buyer’s process is not built on your email or your phone. According to research, buyers only engage with companies directly during the last 40% of their research process.

When you insist on registration, you are in effect telling prospects:

  • We don’t want to be involved in the first half of your research.
  • We are only willing to engage with you on our terms and timetable.

Read more of this post

Content Marketing and Choose Your Own Adventure Books

Choose Your Own Adventure books were a staple when I was growing up. I could read them for hours, choosing different paths and seeing each outcome unfold.

Original Choose Your Own Adventure

As a child, these books gave me a sense of control, they engaged me with choices and opportunities throughout the book.

Today, B2B marketers use content to meet the information needs of their audiences. However, the experience is often built on the assumption the marketer knows best, with a carefully planned stream of content dictated for each person. Read more of this post

Recommending Content and Automated Sharing of Content

You find a great blog, read regularly, and tweet or share everything posted. So why not automate sharing what you already share, and get a few minutes back each day?

On the surface, it seems logical. However, if you are using automation, it likely is having side effects.

  1. Automation has made your algorithm, primarily your selection of sources, more important than the content itself.
  2. You share more than you used to. I follow people that, with the addition of automation tools, now share more content than I have time to read, even if they were my only content source.
  3. It has disconnected you from your best content sources. Your time savings are from spending less time reading, considering or commenting on content from the best sources, those you are willing to automate. The simple act of sharing is a minimal time savings.
  4. Your sharing does not include a comment or note that adds context for your audience. The comment or note improves the recommendation, helping your audience see what content is right for them.

Read more of this post

Social Media is Lowering Our Content Standards

Sharing has ceased to be an endorsement of the quality of content. Social media has created the expectation that we share content, and in the drive to meet the content demands social media places on us, our content standards are falling.

Here are signs that sharing content may have become more important to you than the content itself:

  • You have started reading in order to find content to share, not because you want to spend time reading content.
  • When you find content you REALLY like, you have to share it differently, emphatically stating how great it is to differentiate it from the only OK content you shared before. (ie “LOVE this post! …” or “+100 RT …”)

If so, it is time to stop listening to the social media experts, the ones Read more of this post

Is Social Media Just Winning Price Sensitive Customers?

Box o' couponsIn social media, marketers buy attention with promotions or discounts. And research shows consumers expect this from marketers. 44% connect with brands on Twitter for discounts (source). The problem is, buying attention is an old school mindset, plopped into a new communication paradigm.

For social media to become an important part of the marketing mix and create loyal customers, it cannot continue to rely on tactics that reinforce consumer price sensitivity. Consistent discounts and promotions erode your pricing power; preference increases your pricing power. Read more of this post

Five Signs Your Content Marketing is an Illusion

do not look at the center...Content Marketing should provide valuable information to your market at large and to prospects at each stage of the buying process. Ideally, your content is easily discovered, naturally making you and your content a resource.

But how do people find your content? Is it through search and peer recommendations (which are increasingly connected), or will they only find it in their inbox?

Five Signs of Illusion

Here are the signs Read more of this post

Not Just Automation, Marketing Needs REAL Conversation

Create a personalized dialogue with each prospect at every point in the sales process!

This sounds like a pitch for marketing automation. While the result is valuable, it is not a dialogue. Here are some of the characteristics of this “dialogue” marketing has created with automation:

  • Most of the audience response is a click and inferred consumption. In mass it is a valuable indicator but it isn’t a valuable individual response (Scott Brinker discussed this at Insights from the explosion of marketing touchpoints)
  • It is based on well educated guesses about what information someone needs next, not answering a specific question or need.
  • It is designed to replace the conversation that once happened directly between sales and a potential new prospect.

Real conversations need to come back into marketing communications. Read more of this post

Five Marketing Changes You Need to Make

CardsIf B2B marketing isn’t dead, it is changing very quickly. But the real change isn’t the marketing, it is how marketing has evolved in response to the evolving buyer.

The biggest factor driving the changes in today’s buyers is the accessibility of information technology has enabled. This change has turned demand creation upside down. In the past, your prospect held the budget cards and you held the information cards. Through the sales and negotiation dance, the cards were slowly revealed one at a time, with you and your prospect jockeying for advantage through the entire process. Read more of this post

A New Way to Understand Your Social Media Audience

Audience research is invaluable and well developed personas provide a broad array of insights into the lives and minds of your target audience, insights that form the basis for your social media plans.

Then, you put your social media plan in place, including sharing great content from others and creating your own. And you hit a fundamental disconnect. Your planning is based on your target audience, but you are measuring activity from everyone. Here are two questions that are difficult to answer.

  • Is the content you share via social media resonating with your target audience or a random audience?
  • What content is most popular with your target audience?

Read more of this post

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