Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's all in the content!

Billboard marketing is fine on Route 66, but it’s all wrong
on the information superhighway.

Your job as a marketer is to make it easy for your buyers to buy from you. But making it easy for them may be hard for you, unless you can execute an effective content marketing strategy.

Content marketing is the art of understanding exactly what buyers need to know and delivering it to them in a relevant and compelling way. This extends way beyond product information into the realm of best practices, case studies, success stories, and more.

Why? All the rules have changed. You will need to relearn the marketing game with a brand new marketing mindset. Those that can adapt will flourish. Those that don’t…well… think of the fate of the dinosaurs.

Buyer behavior has changed dramatically in the past decade. Your buyers are busy on the Internet becoming more knowledgeable about everything they want to buy. They aren’t wandering around aimlessly hoping to be influenced by marketing messages that arrive out of the blue. And they are not sitting around waiting to hear from you. They have no time to waste–and resent the onslaught of unwanted advertising messages. In short, buyers don’t want to be sold. They want to make up their own minds based on their own information gathering.

Understanding the New Breed of Buyer is Essential

Buyers today make their own informed decisions about what they want to buy and whom they want to buy from. Technology advancements, particularly the pervasive use of the Internet as a buying tool, have put the buyer in control. They can learn most of what they need to know about a company and its products before they ever contact vendors they will consider. By the time they are ready to talk to you, they will be armed with information about your company, its people, and its products. Whether you are selling Mazdas or industrial equipment, you need to use traditional media to build brand awareness, to invite inquisitiveness…to then drive buyers to relevant content within your web site.

This is actually great news if you take an enlightened approach to these newly empowered buyers. The even better news is that your company is empowered too–thanks to seamless and integrated technology that enables you to talk with prospects in more and different ways than had ever been possible.

Benefit from this new buyer behavior by executing an effective content marketing strategy

You know that prospective buyers will have done serious homework before they contact you. This presents a great opportunity.

Educate them about your industry, about possible solution choices, about best practices, and about the right questions to ask. Do this before they ever call you. In this way, you have already begun a relationship that will make it easier for them to buy. That’s what content marketing is all about.

By delivering content that is vital and relevant to your target market you will begin to take on an important role in their lives.

How do you deliver great online content that will attract and retain loyal customers?
That’s easy. Simply start thinking like a publisher.

What does it mean to think like a publisher?

When you boil it down, publishing is simple to explain:
• First, define a critical group of buyers.
• Second, determine what information they really need and how they want to receive it.
• Third, deliver that critical info to that core group of buyers in the way they want it.
• Fourth, make sure that your content is both relevant and compelling.
• Fifth, continually measure how well you’re doing and adjust as you go

For a marketer who begins to think like a publisher, success means attracting and retaining lots of customers.

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.