Selling content marketing to B2B executives is hard. At least harder than it should be.
The number one reason is due to the continuum nature of content marketing.
Content marketing is not a campaign. With no stop date, it violates the nature of traditionalist marketers to be able to box in a final result and say “it worked” or “it could have been better.”
At least not quickly:
Because content marketing isn’t three touches and a sales pitch, your department may not be shuffling as many leads to sales.
Think about the potential impact. It’s not about quantity, but quality. I know that gets bandied about a lot, but it’s true. And it takes time. Qualified leads are not hatched by download forms, they are nurtured over time.
Back to the issue of content marketing being a long-term approach. Even the ROI on Content Marketing eBook released by Kapost and Eloqua is predicated on 24 months of content marketing.
The reduction to cost per lead is impressive, but is still factored over a longer term than many marketers are used to measuring. Or should I say, have the latitude to measure based on corporate orientation on the 3-month quarter.
This is a true shift for marketing professionals at every level in the hierarchy.
And change is hard.
So keep the content marketing.
Here are a few reasons to do so:
The recent post about What Tech Buyers Want: 79% said that the quality of information received significantly affects whether or not they’ll do business with the vendor
You know your buyers have changed. There must be at least 9 gazillion blog posts circulating out there that say so. Buyers themselves have said so (see link above). Their behavior has told your web analytics and lead scoring it’s true.
What’s missing is true commitment from the company and its marketers.
Think about the following consequences of abandoning your content marketing strategy before it’s reached the tipping point:
- You’re no longer meeting buyer expectations.
- You’ve abdicated the privilege to educate and engage your prospects to your competitors.
- Your search engine results will flounder.
- Your findability will fade away.
- Brand awareness will suffer.
- Your salespeople will go back to demanding lead quantity and then hate you for wasting their time.
- Sales will suffer.
- Customer retention will ebb.
- Customer loyalty will be up for grabs
Can you see the ripple effect?
If the change we make isn’t driven by what our buyers want, it’s driven by what we want.
What we want isn’t going to convince buyers to buy; especially over the longer-term, complex buying process.
Two things to do to combat Shiny Object Syndrome:
First – determine ways to measure your incremental wins with content marketing that tie to business KPIs. That’s one thing that marketing automation technology and analytics can help you with. It’s also something that salespeople can help you with. When’s the last time you spoke with them about the leads you sent over?
Second – put some fun into your content marketing! Take a look at your personas and figure out a new way to approach them. Put a new spin on a topic you’ve grown bored with. Use a new format. Do it to engage yourself as much as you do it to engage your buyers. Just make sure it’s an extension to your personas and strategy and you’re good to go.
After all, if you don’t like and enjoy content and think it’s awesome, perhaps it’s time to rethink your career choice. It’s that dang ripple effect…again.