What’s the big deal about content-based marketing? Is there content-free marketing? Hope not. We’ve been doing “content” marketing since the dawn of solution selling. How else can you build credibility?
I think the right term is “context-based marketing.” Context is everything. Communicating your message and selling your solution to people (not “press,” not “companies”) will always be filtered by the recipient’s frame of mind. It means matching the right story (content) to the right person, in the right place and time.
Communicate from your target’s perspective.
The context of your solution value to the technical buyer is very different from that of the financial buyer and from that of the actual user. The technical buyer wants to know about how it works, what it feeds from/to and how they’ll need to deploy and maintain it. The financial buyer wants to know about TCO and how it can save money or resources. The user wants to know what problems it will solve for them and how it will make his life/job easier.
Your context to press is different, too. They want to know what’s “newsworthy” about it – how it connects to the topics and trends they cover, and what perspective you can bring to the issues – regardless of what product you sell.
Consider the channel.
Do you want to engage in conversation, alert people to new information, or provide a forum for learning? It might sound basic, but what you can tweet in 140 characters is different from what you publish on your website. How you deliver your pitch is different in room full of executives than in a webinar, even though you want your audience to take away the same basic message.
Know your place.
Trade shows are a good illustration of the concept. Whether you’re planning for Mobile World Congress, Gartner Security Summit, InterOp or LeWeb, know the big trend! Do your research: Look at the agenda, read the show blog, monitor your competitors’ blogs. Your prospects will go from session to session to learn about X and Y, and talk with a mix of vendor exhibitors who are selling A-Z. Where will you fit in that “conversation?” It matters in how you pitch journalists, engage booth visitors and follow up after the show.
Be aware of the cycle – which you don’t control.
When Joe is simply gathering information about what’s out there, he doesn’t want a deep dive into “feeds and speeds.” By the time a prospect wants to engage with you directly, they’ve already done most of the evaluation – on their own. They’ve been to your website, read your case studies, looked at your LinkedIn page, and likely talked to Gartner before they talked to you. That’s why you need different levels and types of information available on demand, and why you need to be “out there” interactively – socially, directly and in press.
Some key assumptions for effective context-based marketing:
- You know the different players in your sales process and what matters to them.
- You know who your (likely better known) competition is, so you can compare (implicitly) and anticipate objections.
- You know where your app, solution or service fits within the buyers’ portfolio so that you know what budget you might compete with or value-add you can bring.
- You know the broader business issues related to your solution, and have a specific Point of View that contributes to the market conversation. (This is what we do in our leadership campaigns. Mark Suster has an excellent poston this topic that should be required reading for every tech company before they spend one dollar, pound, yen or euro on outreach!)
- You know the world your buyers inhabit: what they read, where they seek information on solutions, who influences them, etc.
If you don’t know the answers to some or all these, call us. It’s what we do every day :).
There’s more to come on this.