Robert Frost has intrigued generations with his epic but brief poem about choosing your path in life. Let’s use his poetic insights as a corollary for creating a viable content journey for B2B marketers.
In any content journey, the customer is hero. The story of his content experience depends largely on that hero’s mission, pain points and needs. It’s also influenced by the cast of characters (personas) with whom he interacts along the way. The question becomes: Does the content he encounters help guide his journey to a successful end?
According to CMI research, 42% of marketers surveyed believe their content is on the right path. Those that consider their content effective are distinguished by having a clear and well-documented content strategy in place to guide their hero’s journey.
Still, the majority feels that their content falls short. One significant reason is that too many marketers mistakenly put the emphasis on their product/service offerings rather than the information needs of their customers and prospects. This is a critical error when you consider that our hero has completed 70% of his decision journey before ever reaching out to the brand. As Brian Clark presented at a recent CMI seminar, great content not only addresses challenges and pain points, but also educates in a focused way; motivates by being objective; answers and assuages fears; and so, makes customers believe that it is doable.
Having embarked on numerous content journeys for major technology, financial services and manufacturing firm, we agree. Each journey reinforces: The customer/prospect is clearly in charge. And they don’t want to be sold in the traditional sense; they need to find a solution to their problems. Today, content marketing has taken on the role of ‘trusted advisor’ and as such needs to be relevant, timely and credible. Meaning, it cannot solely reflect the voice of the brand, but also the voice of their peers and influential third parties. The path you take to get there may be somewhat less traveled, but in the end, that will make all the difference.
The focus of Kevin’s 40+ year career has been on strategic counsel, alliance and partnership formation and business development.