Content Marketing: The New Name for a Well-Established Discipline

Content marketing is nothing new. Only the term can be considered recent.

The creation of targeted information – about companies, products, services, and everything else – has existed for generations … just under different names. Collateral materials, sales tools, product literature, brand books … were all the old nicknames of what is now grouped as “content”.

The seemingly unlimited number of articles, social media and blog posts, podcasts and God knows a little more about the supposed nuances of the content marketing discipline reveals one thing: the lack of perspective. That is why students learn (or should learn) history at school: to make them feel that there was a world before they were born.

A look into the past

When I started my marketing career, I had an advantage: I worked as a journalist. I made crucial news and research stories; I had to identify facts, background information, and at least three reliable sources to confirm the validity of what I was about to publish.

Research stories were generally neither easy nor quick. Valid, informative, and targeted business information is generally not.

There are reasons for this, starting with the most basic of intentions: why is this information being developed, for who is it intended, how is it presented, and what are the expected results?

This is not a marketing process. This is not a sales process. It is a combination of both and requires some (or a lot) of discipline. And cooperation. And the dedication to helping each other succeed.

It is a process

There is a definition up there. What is the product: the complete product, including the physical “thing” or actual service, along with the available support, warranty/warranty, accessories, etc.? What is the target market (B2B companies, B2C customer segments)? Who is the target audience … except the end-user?

Salespeople are good at determining who is involved in the purchase decision. Marketers focus on presenting the product/service/brand most convincingly. Each is only a third of the equation. The beliefs, expectations, and perceptions of potential customers or consumers are the other third. (Depending on how you sell – directly to buyers/consumers or through valued resellers, channel partners, or resellers – the equation can have four components.)

You can’t market or sell anything better unless you literally understand everything about it and who is involved in buying and using it.

You also need to know what the competition is, direct or indirect, and how to compare offers.

Defined parameters

So, what is the strategy? What role will information play in educating potential customers and achieving specific goals – for marketing, sales, and business as a whole?

Will the material – the “content” – be used to generate questions, fill the pipeline, qualify leads, overcome objections, differentiate your material from “other guys”, to help? It can be anything … but not everything.

Particularly in B2B, purchasing decisions are shared and the functions that people perform fall into identifiable categories:

  • Initiators: people who see a need and look for a solution
  • Researchers: those who actually research to determine the right products and services
  • Restricted lists: lists that limit the list of options based on a variety of criteria, including features, costs, implementation, training, support, etc.
  • Jurors: qualified employees or consultants comparing the shortlisted options
  • Recommendations: those who review the rating and evaluate the options based on the criteria defined by the company, business leaders, and end-users.
  • Decision-makers: managers, finance and operations managers and, hopefully, a group of end-users who will work with the product every day
  • Checks: men and women who need to make sure they’re spending the right amount to get the best ROI

If there are channel partners, VARs, or resellers, there will be similar groups that determine whether (a) they will offer their products, (b) only certain lines or individual products, and (c) how much inventory should be … if any.

Specificity

Each group of people probably has subgroups. This is especially true for judges: if you buy equipment with metal panels for cars or software that provides security for mobile transactions, print…

  • Financial officials who want to understand the total cost of ownership and how long they will be employed before they need to be replaced
  • Maintenance staff who need to know how easy it is to repair or update
  • IT, looking to see how easily it can integrate with existing systems
  • Business leaders to assess the effects on productivity and the extent of the learning curve
  • End users can resist any change that is not easily adaptable or that does not make their job easier

The real truth: each group and subgroup needs its own targeted information. Any summary / supporting material/name as you wish, address your main problems, educate them about how they and your business benefit and make it clear that what you are offering is an economical, practical, and reliable solution to the problem that the business has faced. Try to solve it.

“What is the secret to your success …” “Moment.” “… Stop?”

If you always add for each element, you must include a different set of criteria. I once worked with a sales organization that believed in sending potential customers everything they could get their hands on. It took time to convince them of the benefits of progressive disclosure: providing specific information at specific times to specific people about specific problems.

Marketing automation is easier to do, but the principle hasn’t changed:

  • Give people what they want and they will give them the attention they deserve.
  • Give them a lot and they will probably ignore everything.
  • Follow the information they ask for or related content that is based on what they already have and they will be grateful for your help.

It is part of the promotion process, whether through marketing, creating awareness and interest, educating, developing acceptance, and generating directions; either through sales to support interactions, persuade others in the buying cycle, overcome objections or clarify benefits.

And it’s just a pre-order.

After the sale is complete, the real commitment begins. It is at this point that communication should focus on ensuring that the customer has made the right decision.

The seller must strive to ensure the success of buyers by providing the components of the “complete product” that help to differentiate the offer from the competition, provide feedback to customers, emphasize the value of the entry and improve the information of buyers. Related products and services.

This is a fascinating task because there is always something new to consider, someone new to conquer, a competitor who is sure to be a threat. It will also use new media, technologies, and approved processes that need to be adapted to ensure that we deliver the information that people need at the right time.