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Content Marketing News & Analysis

No More Messaging in the Dark: Get Sales + Marketing on the Same Page

2014-26-September-Flashlight-Reading.jpgGiven the rise of marketing automation software over the past five years, today's B2B sales funnel is half illuminated and half in the dark. Sales and marketing teams have near-perfect visibility into how leads interact in the top half of the funnel and the insights needed to improve the marketing process, yet they remain blind to how content is supporting sales reps in the bottom half.

Storytelling in the Mobile Millisecond

2014-25-September-Next-Stop.jpg“Wrong number,” says a familiar voice.

Lost my wallet, found my desires.

Sounded much better in my head.

I should have brought a GPS.

What do these sentences have in common? They’re all six words long. And they all tell a story. With forums and Tumblrs devoted to it, and anthologies published each year, you’ve likely heard of the six word story phenomenon. It’s a deceptively simple exercise: tell a story in just six words or less. And it’s captured a huge following of writers and readers who love seeing just how much punch can be packed in one brief sentence.

B2B Buyers Need Great Content, Not Fireworks

2014-24-September-M-Mouse-Razzle-Dazzle.jpgFrom a host of breathless blog posts and enraptured articles, we all know what a B2C customer experience is supposed to look like: the customer enters a store and is immediately whisked away to a world of personalized activities that enhance the buyer’s connection to the seller. We often hear how this customer should be “delighted” or “enchanted.” It sounds a lot more like a Disneyland attraction than a shopping experience.

The B2B customer has a customer experience, too -- but it’s based on other considerations. B2B buyers don’t need immersion or enchantment: they have something they need to buy to keep their businesses running and profitable. They want to sustain their business, not be immersed in someone else’s.

Just the same, they have a customer experience. And if you’re paying attention to the way buyers are buying, it should be clear that the experience starts long before they make contact with your sales staff.

Personalized Content: Nice in Theory, Challenging in Practice

2014-23-September-Cookie-Cutter.jpgAmid the intense focus on vehicles for marketing -- social media, omnichannel merchandising and what have you -- heightened interest in content and its role in marketing is a welcome development. Perhaps content marketing hasn’t taken center stage before because everyone does it, and always has. If what you tell or show prospective customers has always been part of your marketing efforts, what has changed to justify the increased interest?

While the goals and concepts of content marketing have remained the same, the evolution of technology and the internet have largely taken over media and delivery channels, changing the execution of those concepts in ways that are forcing a radical rethinking of how best to engage rapidly changing target audiences.

What's the Real Deal with Marketing Content?

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Talk to any marketer today about her demand generation strategy and she’ll regale you with stories of the magical properties of content.

It’s consuming increasing amounts of money, according to a recent study by Starfleet Media. Specifically, marketers now spend 20 to 50 percent of their budgets on content creation — and 25 percent plan to spend even more in 2015. Already, about 7 percent of the survey’s respondents spend more than 75 percent of their marketing budgets on content.

Content is designed to engage buyers. It informs, inspires and illuminates while building brand credibility and preference. Done correctly, it can influence buyers to act in ways that favor the brand.

The aspiration is correct, but the reality doesn’t measure up: content has become a panacea. It’s the new elixir of customer engagement, applied in peanut butter fashion across every possible channel, in every imaginable form.

Wrapping Up Hubspot's #INBOUND14

HubSpot's INBOUND 2014 conference wrapped up yesterday in Boston, ending a week of events punctuated by higher-than-anticipated attendance and the company’s announcement that it would be launching a new sales platform. It includes a free CRM and what the company calls a “sales acceleration product” called Sidekick.

It's Time for Sales to Embrace Content Marketing

2014-19-September-Hugs.jpgEffective content marketing can revolutionize the way we sell. The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) reported that 53 percent of organizations select and stay with a vendor based on sales experience over factors such as product features or price. Customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience, yet sales leaders continue to arm sales teams with the same content portals and tools as they have for years. Buying has evolved, but selling has not. It’s time for a change and content marketing can help sales get there.

CMSWire Tweet Jam: Guide Customer Journeys with Content Marketing #CXMChat

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Customer's path to purchase gets more complicated by the day. By providing consistent, relevant and valuable content, marketers help people make informed decisions and (hopefully) win customers and loyalty on the way. But how is this done? And how can marketers make their content stand out in a very crowded field? Tune in to our Tweet Jam to find out! 

Connect the Content Marketing Pieces with Taxonomy

2014-17-September-Bricklayers.jpgHas your company embraced content marketing? Have you migrated your team of copywriters to writers, your press releases to blog posts? Are you in the process of forming exploratory committees and trying to decipher a series of magic quadrants about cloud data systems? Has someone in upper management asked you about “Personalization"?

Q&A with the Master of Content Marketing World #CMWorld2014

digital marketing, Q&A With the Master of Content Marketing World #CMWorld2014The numbers are in: Content Marketing World 2014, the largest content marketing event on the planet, according to conference officials, went off last week in Cleveland, Ohio with 2,600 people from more than 50 countries.

But the conversation isn't over.

That's why we caught up with the chief of CMWorld 2014, Joe Pulizzi, for a Q&A on all things content marketing. Pulizzi is the founder and CEO of the Content Marketing Institute.

Content Is the Foundation of the Buyer's Journey

2014-16-September-Toward-Los-Angeles.jpgCompanies that are serious about the user experience on their website should already be thinking about buyer personas and the buyer’s journey, two of the most important components of website strategy.

Customer Journeys Trump the Traditional Sales Cycle

2014-15-September-Rock-Paper-Scissors.jpgWhile pointless debate continues in organizations as to who “owns” the customer experience (the customer, of course!), the responsibility for nurturing and shepherding the continuous customer experience belongs to all teams that impact customers. At the core, much of the work should be accomplished by strong, continuously evolving collaborations between marketing and sales. Unfortunately in many companies there are still ridiculous and harmful walls between sales and marketing -- and a lot of political nonsense, mainly tied to the "blame game" when forecasts aren’t met and deals aren’t closed.

In reality marketing and sales have intertwined roles for engendering positive outcomes from customer journeys, whether they realize it or not.

The Consumer Journey: Content as Compass

2014-12-September-Blindfold.jpgContent marketing, when done right, should guide consumers based on their specific needs, buying preferences and online behavior. Much has been said about the quality of today’s content, but not enough has been said about how well you understand the consumer compass -- a specific interest combined with level of intent. Only then can you determine what content to serve, how to serve it and when.

Customer-Centric Content Journeys: Your Duct Tape Is Showing

2014-10-September-Quick-Fix.jpgGetting the right content to the right person at the right time was first evangelized by the programmatic ad buying platforms. It was a vision that stemmed directly from a doe-eyed interpretation of their capabilities.

Now content marketers have latched on to the same philosophy, without fully appreciating an important distinction: Content marketing, unlike ad buying, generally assumes an active and intelligent customer who wants to educate him or herself (not simply a target for the right sales reminder at the right time).

Use Purpose-Driven Content to Create Buyer Experiences

2014-09-September-Buy-Now.jpgIt’s no secret that the information pools that buyers can tap are overflowing. It’s time, however, that we start looking at the customer buying process with a different perspective and begin focusing on purpose-driven content that creates distinguishing experiences for audiences.

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