#ContentMarketing: The Hottest Marketing Buzzword of 2012
Why? Because as consumers are tuning out marketing messages at all stages of the buying process, conversion rates are starting to plummet.
And the cost per lead of many marketing programs is starting to soar. This is all at a time when marketing budgets are feeling the strain of sales’ expectations that marketing will produce more leads and better leads. So marketing leaders, marketers with a clue and the host of consultants and agencies are all talking about how to attract new customers with content.
In a perfect example of content marketing itself, Rebecca Lieb (@lieblink) with support from Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) from Altimeter have delivered a Content Marketing ebook, webcast, blog post, book and slideshare presentation on what they call “The New Marketing Equation. Why Organizations Must Rebalance.”
In this post, I will highlight the key points Rebecca and Jeremiah present and define the 5 steps to achieve content marketing success. I also have embedded the slides from their powerpoint for your own review.
Shifting from Push to Pull
We’re tuning out the noise. And not just some of us. The majority of internet users tune out advertising. Rebecca cited a Pew study that states that 77% of internet users never engage in online advertising.
So she interviewed 56 content experts at 38 companies, 19 brands and 23 service providers between October and December of 2011 to understand ho they are dealing with this seismic shift. And the answer was that marketers were realizing they needed to move from primarily push to primarily pull-marketing tactics.
But Shifting from push to pull is antithetical to corporate culture. You need new resources in staff, budgets and training. You need to differentiate between tools vs. strategy and you need to integrate your advertising into pull-marketing tactics.
How are marketers re-balancing to face these challenges?
Marketers need continual content initiatives that tell stories over time. This is putting new demands on marketing departments skills and resources.
There are new technologies that enables any brand to become like a publisher but with 178 average social media accounts, Jeremiah stated that we need to determine who will be enabled as publishers.
Rebecca believes that organizations that rebalance now will have a significant advantage. Marketing is shifting to storytelling and content. Consumers are expecting engaging content and marketers need to be able to deliver it.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing is the marketing of attraction. Attracting consumers means pulling them in when they are receptive to being pulled in. Sometimes this means education or even entertaining.
It builds stronger brands up and down the marketing funnel and well beyond the sale. Ultimately this is about lower cost of customer acquisition.
It is longer term and it requires new storytelling skills and a solid content strategy. Content strategy may literally save marketing through an understanding of what, why and how you’re going to deploy 3 distinct types of content: entertaining content, educational content and utility content (like apps) that help customers.
5 Steps to Achieve Content Marketing Success
- Determine a content strategy leader with empowered authority who can work outside of marketing with customer-facing experts. Some companies have even named a “Chief Content Officer:” a customer-centric marketer who also has multi-channel publishing experience.
- Identify other content roles such as editors, writers, designers, response managers, channel managers who are responsible for creating and disseminating content.
- Audit existing content. You cannot know where you are going until you know where you are. Determine what content by type, by segment and is it search-engine optimized. The key question is if the content is easily found (SEO) and if it is being used at all.
- Create an editorial calendar that maps out the content that is to be produced and when it will be published. It helps to inform content consumers what is coming and it helps the production process.
- Repeat, re-use and re-purpose your content into various formats and into all available channels. This extension is the best way to extract the highest level of value from content marketing costs.
How To Achieve Content Maturity?
Companies that do this well will be recognized as leaders in their field. They will be the sources where consumers turn for information and solution. They will have achieved “trusted adviser” status and will have affinity for their solutions.
5 Stages of Content Maturity
- Curious and considering but not really doing anything.
- Advocacy and Experimentation usually occurs when a leader emerges and pushes the organization into content marketing.
- Strategy and Process: Identification of a Head of Content Strategt, such as Joe Chernov (@jchernov) at Eloqua, who can set clear objectives, process and measurable KPIs.
- Content Culture: The entire organization has a sense of the importance of content, an understanding of how to employ keyword research and how to deliver customer-focused stories.
- Monetizing Content: very few companies can achieve this state where marketing is a profit center. Content becomes monetized and a product of the company.
- Content Marketing is not free (same as social media!). Content can be much more cost-effective than outbound efforts like trade shows and advertising.
- Content marketing requires significant cultural change in the traditional marketing organization
- Content and advertising should be integrated within existing channels
- Content Marketing will permeate organizations (not just marketing)