Signs of Sybil in B2B Content Marketing


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I’m likely dating myself, but sometimes reviewing the array of marketing content produced by a B2B company reminds me of the 1976 movie Sybil. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Sybil, it’s the story about a woman who manifests 16 personalities.

The problem, of course, with 16 personalities is that you never know which one will show up or what it will say or do. In a business context this confuses your target markets and undercuts your credibility – possibly in ways that damage your ability to close deals.

As marketers, we must be very cognizant that each and every interaction our prospects have with our marketing content either improves our relationship with them or introduces doubt. Even a neutral experience falls more on the doubt side than the relationship side.

The reason this happens is often that each content marketing asset, program or campaign is looked at separately. We create blog posts without considering our latest white paper. We hold webinars without considering what other content we have to back up the topic. We send demand generation emails without understanding what messaging is being communicated by corporate marketing.

The biggest upset of them all usually falls to the corporate website. When’s the last time you updated your website content in parallel with your other marketing programs?

Is your latest white paper from 2 or 3 years ago?

Is your latest customer story just as dated?

Are you pushing a new solution but still featuring outdated content on the website?

Doe your microsites tell the same overarching story as your main website?

This type of disconnect is not new, but it’s hitting the spotlight now because marketers have glommed onto that shiny new object – Social Media. The differences between old marketing and new marketing content are made more obvious as dialogue is compared to brochure speak.

As we’ve begun adapting to the conversational style of social media, we’ve often done so in a vacuum, without consideration for the other messaging that lives online.

You may have begun writing a corporate blog recently. But let me ask you this – If your prospects read your blog and then visit your website will they believe they’re still with the same company?

Yes, the tone and style of blog posts will differ from the more formal content generally found on corporate websites, but the voice should still be recognizable.

If your blog posts are focused on your prospects but your website is all about how wonderful your company is and talks incessantly about your products and solutions without so much as a nod to your buyers, you’re sending conflicting messaging.

When you consider that your buyers have embraced self-education and that they conduct the majority of the buying process on their own – without you – your marketing content and communications must interweave convincingly.

If you produce a highly entertaining video but your website content is dry as dirt your prospects and customers will wonder who’s steering the ship. If your Twitter profile only displays tweets linking to your own stuff, step away from TweetDeck and re-evaluate. If your ebooks are conversationally written and educational but your white papers are chest-thumping product pushers, you’ve got the signs of dissociative content identity disorder.

The only way to assess the level of the disease is to step back and get the big-picture view. You need to evaluate all of your content, in each and every channel, online and offline to make sure every single content asset is building the story that represents your company as one distinct personality.

How many of you have signs of Sybil lurking in your marketing content?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and the CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She helps B2B companies with complex sales create and use persona-driven content marketing strategies to turn prospects into buyers and convince customers to stay. Ardath is the author of Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. She's also an in-demand industry speaker.


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