This week, I am attending my third annual Content Marketing World conference, in sunny Cleveland, Ohio. The more time I spend around world-class content marketers, the more I am convinced that every database marketer is in the content business, whether they want to be or not.
The question is: What is your content telling your customer about your business and how you want to relate to them?
Start out with these assumptions:
- Customers don’t care about your company; they care about their problems and how you can solve them
- Customers and prospects conduct 70%+ of their sales process before they contact your company
- Content transmits valuable insight into your brand, your values and how you treat customers
What is the most frequent communication database marketers send out to their customers? Email, of course! Who is proud of the value message sent to your customers via email? What does your email say about what you think of your customer?
It is time for database marketers to become content publishers in their own right; time for engagement to be based on something more than the latest hot sale; time for differentiation that will last longer than your next campaign.
It is time for database marketers to become publishers.
Becoming publishers does not mean foregoing the “hard-core” testing and analysis that underly the best of digital marketing; rather, it means that testing and analysis must focus on longer term campaigns than the one blasted out last Tuesday. Content campaigns gains share of mind in order to garner share of wallet. The end result will be be increased short- and long-term revenue as well as increased loyalty and brand preference.
Content marketing should be given the same thorough testing and analysis as any other marketing program, with one exception — content marketing also provides “SEO fuel”; when you put this content up on your site and other related websites, you increase the chance that customers and prospects will find your information when they are searching (which they do online 70%+ of the time).
The increased sales in e-commerce and off-line resulting from that syndicated content is the “gift that keeps on giving.” As long as consumers have the same problems, they will keep searching, keep finding your content and then reaching out to your company to help solve their problems.
So when the result of a content marketing campaign are analyzed (incremental lift vs. control, etc.), the follow-on impact of additional transactions driven by on-line content should also be analyzed and included in the results.
Consumers are sick to death of the sale, sale, sale message delivered by most companies via email and direct mail. They may take advantage of the offers (after all, who wouldn’t?), but that effort does not capture their preference or their loyalty.
Marketers need to start testing content + offers (on a segmented basis, of course) over a 3-4 month period to determine the next impact on the business. The net impact could change your marketing, your marketing department and your impact on retention and loyalty.
My next post will talk about how to determine the right content to send to specific customer segments.