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I don’t like fads: never have, never will.

That’s why the advertising industry – for the whole of January – pisses me right off. Will that 90-day diet or the 90 seconds a day exercise routine create a whole new, brand new you? Not past March it won’t.

It’s just one more reason why my business card has B2B written on it.

But I do believe in the power of a good New Year’s resolution. Taking the chance to ‘ring out the old, ring in the new” with sustainable behavioral changes can make us better people. And better practitioners.

So I thought I’d take the opportunity to say goodbye to a Brexit-fissured, Trump-scented year by sharing a sustainable process that would improve the fortunes of every B2B marketing team I’ve ever met. Bar none.

You’re, almost certainly, sitting on marketing assets with a latent value of literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. Believe it. And is there a better time than now to unlock and unleash its power? No, I can’t think of one either.

So let’s look at how it works.

Marketing’s Latent Value
So what do we mean by latent value? We mean generating valuable outcomes that are literally waiting to happen. And you can achieve them largely with what you’ve got.

We get these outcomes because you’re sitting on:

  • Prospects ready to be customers
  • Behavior patterns set to become market knowledge
  • Information waiting to be captured
  • Campaigns primed to be optimized
  • Planning ripe to be more tightly focused

Now that’s a list of the lovely stuff. But how can we get these outcomes from what we already have? Well let’s take a closer look at the relationship between three components of a typical (if there is such a thing) B2B marketer’s arsenal:

You might love data. But do you love your own data? You’re not deep enough in the trenches unless you think your data is – to some extent – incomplete, unreliable and lacking substance.

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You’ve got the technology. But it’s hard to turn it into the all-singing, all-dancing marketing hub the saleswoman described on the phone two years ago. For many it’s a slow, underutilized technical process built on roadmaps and integrations.

You’re probably not got a content shortage. But it’s probably hard to shake the feeling what you’ve got isn’t working. Or, if you trust the reputable characters down at Sirius Decisions, you can accept 80% of your stack is achieving nothing.

Your goal is to get these elements running in a joined-up cycle to make them more than the sum of their parts. That means content flexibility.

Content Flexibility
Sadly, in many teams, content, technology and data operate as silos with limited overlap.

The corollary is a limited amount of content deployed, in very limited automation streams, based on limited amounts of trusted data, to achieve limited outcomes.

It’s all a bit, well, limited. And it’s this sub-optimal experience that builds up your latent value in the first place. The chances are you’re not using your best content, in the best campaign packages, to solve strategic questions.

If you’ve got technical people driving your marketing automation and data strategies then it’s time for a rethink. Put content people in the cockpit. And ask them to creatively and flexibly expand the horizons of your customer base, knowledge and impact.

Let’s take a real-life example of how it works. The conversation isn’t a transcript but it’s not a million miles away. (Man alive, we work hard for a sale).

If only we could run a campaign based on prospect renewal dates.
Let’s run a campaign based on prospect renewal dates.

We can’t because we don’t know renewal dates. That information is gold dust.
Let’s run a content campaign to work out renewal dates of our customers. Then run a campaign on prospect renewal dates.

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We’ve asked them that before. They won’t tell us.
Let’s create a campaign that uses behavior to categorize renewal dates rather than ask them direct.

That won’t be accurate to the day though.
No but it will be a lot more accurate than it is now.

Not everyone will get involved
No but your best prospects will be the most likely candidates.

Will we need a new campaign?
Yes, that’s a good thing. We want to reach more prospects with great ideas.

How much is it?
Less than gold dust.

Okay then…

Starting this process is simple:

  1. List your desired outcomes
  2. Write down what data knowledge will help meet these outcomes
  3. Put your content building bricks together to get the data.

It’s really that simple. Identify a need. Create a content-led solution. Test. Launch. Repeat.

B2B Marketing Lego
Using your content stack allows you to answer lots of big questions. The most progressive B2B marketing teams use content like Lego to create new campaigns, meet strategic goals, and unlock the value that turns prospects into leads, opportunities and sales.

Let’s me leave you with the words from one of my favorite books of all time: Sophie’s World.

“Question: Why is Lego the most ingenious toy in the world?
Rummaging on the top shelf of her closet, she found a bag of Lego blocks of all shapes and sizes…All her blocks looked as bright and new as the day they were bought…The best thing about them was that with Lego she could construct any kind of object. And she could separate the blocks and construct something new.”

So treat your content like you treat your Lego. Keep constructing new things from what you’ve got and you will always, as they say in Denmark, “play well”. And your prize is turning your latent value into real returns.

So let’s get started.

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