http://www.b2bmarketinginsider.com/content-marketing/2014-content-marketing-imperative - We’ve heard it time and time again: according to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) almost 60% of the buyer journey is complete before prospects reach out to vendors.
And according to Harvard Business Review, “Solution Selling is Dead” because talking about our products and our solutions is no longer good enough. It may even hurt us in the buying process.
Why? Because our buyers are too smart. They see right through these self-serving tactics. They are looking for brands that put buyers first.
They are looking for brands that know how to connect on a human and emotional scale. In fact, the Corporate Executive Board’s latest report shows that “emotion beats promotion” by a factor of 2 to 1.
Content marketing is the process of creating content that our customers actually want or need.
Content marketing meets the needs of your buyers across ALL phases of the buying cycle:
There is the largest number of potential buyers in the early stages. So there should be more focus on early stage content to drive interest and awareness.
There are more potential buyers in the middle of the buying process than in the latest stages. So there should be more focus on engagement than on the latter stages of the buying process where potential buyers are looking to understand what we sell and for how much.
Late stage content is still needed. It’s really a question of whether resources are aligned to the buying process.
Content marketing is how you attract buyers instead of paying to reach them. It is more effective. It is aligned with buyer needs. But it also may seem counter-intuitive. (“We are here to sell stuff, right?”)
Content marketing is a mindset that starts with the question “what do our buyers want or need?” It then cycles through the process of analyzing keywords (what people search for) and social trends, finding the research, experts, tips and tricks that answer those questions. And then process starts all over again when you analyze what works and use those insights to drive continuous improvement in the next round of content creation.
Content Marketing is an equal portion of creation, curation and syndication.