The topic ‘content marketing’ has got its attention for already quite some years but to me it looks like the last 9 months it really took of. Once such a topic gets traction I see many companies, consultants and peers jump on it since it is expected to have an opinion about it or even create some specific services for it. When getting traction most likely that also non-marketers and your internal stakeholders will start to read things about it and ask about your content marketing strategy. I always want to make sure I stay ahead of them, but not for this reason more that I want to make sure we as a team are constantly innovating in marketing by using the latest insights, technologies and best practices to contribute to the max for our ambition: becoming the global top 3 player for small and medium businesses in cloud business software.
Too many content experts?
But as said, many are jumping on the content topic and demand to experts and consultants in this area is increasing. Big time for them writing hours about how to create appealing content for the target audiences and persona’s companies are aiming for. And thats true, by understanding your persona’s you will probably get some insights of needs and pains they feel attracted to. In my team about 8 professionals are responsible for the creation of hundreds of content assets in 6 languages, for 6 countries for 5 different target audiences. It takes a lot to put all this effort into content marketing and make it work. Many other things like tooling and processes need to be in place to keep it efficient and make it really contribute to our business. But it is worth all the effort because each day we benefit from the fact we have all this value content to generate marketing and sales qualified leads. Many are jumping on the content topic and demand to experts and consultants in this area is increasingIt is part of our nature, our system, our engine and our mind. We practice it each and every day. We are being approached many times by content professionals to discuss where to improve or adjust. Many times we listen and try to learn from it. Also many times it is a confirmation that we are on the right track. I have the privilege to have a team in place who is able to work the right balance between the market needs and our solutions. It took quite some time to get this right balance and still we are learning and improving each and every day. Working with many stakeholders like sales, product marketing and technology brings challenges. Making sure that the essential marketing principle for relavancy remains takes some effort. Non-marketers not always immidiately understand that you shouldn’t try to bring your story at once but in a phased approach, it is an engagement game.
Purpose of the content
Sometimes I read articles and blog posts about content which in my opinion are going a bridge too far. A variety op topics that are being discussed with regards to improving quality. So further research on persona’s, gathering more insights about themes and in depth analysis of target audiences and their behavior. At the end things always have to be in balance taking into account the purpose of the content we create. In my opinion people sometimes forget that the content they create isn’t there for people who want to get their Masters degree. And off course it needs to have value and meaning for the ones we are aiming for, but look around you, it is not only about heavy in depth stuff in order to grow or being succesfull. I think the majority of the content that truly helps people and their businesses is less science and more pragmatic and easy applicable on their own situation. We try to treat every prospect as a customer which means helping them to take the next step.And this is what we should keep in mind. At least within Exact the content that we create has a pure commercial purpose. No problem with that as long a it remains valuable for the people we are creating it for. We inspire and enable business to grow is within our brand promise. Thats what we try to do. We try to treat every prospect as a customer which means helping them to take the next step. We are not there to learn a manufacturer how to manufacter or an accountant how to do the books. However we think we can inspire and give some practical tips how to bring their business further. We from marketing should always keep that in mind.
I think that we need to further embrace technology which is available to be more specific.
The next big content thing
So what is it what will bring us to the next level in content marketing? I think that we need to further embrace technology which is available to be more specific. Today many tools are available to register prospects, customers and their behavior. We have tools to analyse their profiles and related behavior in order to reach potential new clients and start to engage with them. Mediachannels in order to reach these people are more sophisticated and with great focus via our own channels, Facebook’s Atlas, Google’s DoubleClick etc. we can get in front of our most wanted potential clients. Based on many many variables we are able to define audiences and segment in a very specific way. But here is in my opinion the main challenge: how are we going to manage once we are in front of that person to serve a ultra relevant message with related content underneath it? That is my main concern, this is where I think for acquisition purposes but also retention purposes we have work to do. For me the main reason to think that at a certain moment Google needs to acquire a company who enables them to actively execute engagementDynamic publishing comes into play based on analysis and insights on existing customers and the way to came to us, how they behave after being 3 months, a year or 5 year a customer. How am I going to make sure that the team of content creators keep on generating ultra relevant content in an efficient and ‘publishable’ way? Having determined several sub segments within the target audience, how do I build that engagement engine without the necissity to create duplicates of assets for each and every phase in their customer lifecycle? This will be a combination of state of the art technology and an innovate content creation team who is able to come up with something that is workable and scalable. For me the main reason to think that at a certain moment Google needs to acquire a company who enables them to actively execute engagement a step further than only reaching the audience. I am really looking forward to that. Google moving further down the road into the core processes of a marketing department.