Always love the Marketoonist, who can capture complex issues into a single cartoonimage. Click here to see his take on Content Marketing – several comics and a short blog that sites new research about content. His point is well taken – brands can be so taken with providing content that it ends up:
- Being more content than the prospect (or customer) can consume;
- Publish content that is not relevant or just plain junk;
- Can open up the consumer to ideas that lead away from the sale, or
- Lose focus on the main thing (providing the customer with what they need/want).
That is the part that is often missed. Yes, in the Information Age content is king. Content is critical to engage and draw prospects into the sales funnel. However, selling is fundamentally changing… because buying is fundamentally changing.
Not only does the consumer want what they want when they want it (and how they want it). They want to receive information about their proposed purchase as they need it. So marketers and brands need to provide content that engages, educates and draws the buyer closer to the sale. However, the buyer’s steps to the purchase may be very different than what the selling organization considers the steps in the sales funnel.
Price First Please
Price may not be the deciding factor in a purchase. Still it is not uncommon for that to be the first question (or click) about a potential purchase. Knowing the pricing up front may be a sign of budget concerns (“If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it…”), but it could also be a way of determining value. If the buyer knows the price up front (and from multiple vendors), it is easier to determine value as more is learned about the product.
Traditional selling techniques say marketers must use value to move the prospect closer to the sale. Uncover pain, show how the product solves the pain, show how good it feels to have the pain gone… and POOF!, price no longer matters.
Intelligent, informed buyers are simply reverse engineering that process – price is the bar, now the seller is required to build value to surpass that bar.
Providing Relevant Content
So here are a few tips when considering a Content Marketing strategy:
- Find out what content is helpful and when it is needed – use research and data to understand what information is helpful to the buyer at each step of the buying process;
- Create content that is meaningful to the buyer at each step – the first goal is to create content that answers the number one question or objection at each step of the process:
- Make content readily available so the prospect can find it when they need/want it – that may mean repackaging content in varying forms and using various media to deliver messages;
- Don’t assume inbound marketing is going to flow like a slide – prospects will jump on and off the sales process… because it is their buying process;
And finally: content must be relevant; no content for the sake of having content! Unlike more cowbell, you can have too much content!
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