Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Mehdi Daoudi, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

Content Marketing Requires More Than Content

Lately, I've been receiving calls from B2B sales executives in search of how to use content to drive pipeline momentum. Many of their companies have marketing teams that are doing good work. Their websites include customer-centric content, they have active blogs with posts contributed from across the enterprise, their social media accounts show a good ratio of other people's content vs. their content.

  • They aren't talking incessantly about themselves.
  • The content isn't overly product focused.
  • The content is providing solid information that is being read by their prospects.

From the description above, you'd think that they're doing all the stuff that all the blog posts, consultants, agencies and "gurus" say they should, right?

But this is where the rubber meets the road. What it comes down to is that content marketing takes more than content to be an effective catalyst for sales. Content requires a strategy for putting it to work. Without a strategy, there's no work ethic in place for your content. And that means you'll have a nice collection of quality content that people enjoy, read and share, but that never motivates them to buy.

I know you're sitting there thinking, how can this be? You're thinking that you've done what was required. You're getting form completions for eBooks and white papers and webinars. Your videos are being shared on Twitter, your infographics are being pinned on Pinterest and your blog posts wind up on people's Facebook timelines. Wasn't that the point?

Nope. Not by a long shot. That's only the training-wheels level for content marketing. Until that 30% of budget that marketers are investing in content helps salespeople sell something, your content still needs to reach maturity.

One sales executive told me that he thought all the content work his company has done was stellar, but that there wasn't much improvement to the quality of leads. Upon further inquiry, I discovered that they were evaluating lead quality based on the number of resources viewed/accessed. They were using quantity to measure quality and it wasn't working.

Why not?

Because the number of resources doesn't matter as much as the information that's being accessed and what that can tell you about the prospect. [Note that for the purpose of this blog post, I'm assuming the prospect has the right demographics and firmographics to become a customer.]

This company has created a ton of educational information about the industry and the related problems that need to be solved - and can be by their products. But there is nothing to help their prospects build a business case. Nothing to help them visualize what solving the problem could do for them. Nothing to show that the company has a depth of expertise beyond a high-level understanding of the industries it serves.

Do you see the problem?

Each content asset stands alone with no link to any of the other assets. It's all good, well written content with structure. It delivers on the promise made in the title. But it doesn't work together to build the problem-to-solution story. There's no progression of storyline so there's no momentum in the pipeline.

Even if the prospect wanted to expend the effort, they wouldn't be able to find all the pieces of the puzzle to make any sort of decision they could back up in a conversation with their colleagues to gain consensus. The only call to action used was your standard "contact a sales rep." Unfortunately, there's never a strong enough reason to click that link.

It's been said many times by many content marketers - including me - that content must be mapped to buying stages. There's a reason for this. Different stages have different informational requirements. What your prospect is trying to achieve in each stage is different. Therefore, the same kind of content won't serve.

This is where the strategy part comes in. And I'll go back to what those of you who know me, know I always say: You must start with buyer knowledge, aka Personas.

Until you know what they care about and what they need to know as they make each small decision that leads to progress, it's next to impossible to create content that will help them make that progress with you.

And progress is what you need. And it's what your salespeople need.

The bonus is that if you create content mapped to buying stages, your salespeople will not only get quality leads, but they'll have quality content to use in conversations with them that continues that momentum through the later stages that lead to the coveted purchase decision.

Content is not one-size fits all. Each asset plays a different role in the story. Go figure out the story your prospect needs to become the hero of and share it with them. It takes work, but it's also becoming the table stakes for content marketing. And it's called strategy. With all the noise out there, it's what's required to catch and keep attention. This is no longer optional.

Your sales team will thank you! And so will your company and customers...

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...