A recent survey on “The role of content strategy” conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in association with Peppercomm indicates that all is not well in the content world. The survey found that two-thirds (67%) of global decision makers judge the success of content on its distinctiveness while 71% of the content-supplying marketers judge success purely on sales. The reasons for this mis-match, this dis-content, are understandable enough … but it doesn’t alter the fact that things need to change.
It’s not as if there haven’t already been several alerts to this problem. Back in 2006, in their book “Customer Message Management”, Tim Reisterer and Diane Emo made the point that “Up to 90 percent of the marketing messages and materials created for sales support is unused, or is used inappropriately. This translates to millions of dollars of wasted marketing and communications investment that aren’t having a tangible impact on sales effectiveness.”
Then, in 2011, in “The Challenger Sale”, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson startled us when they unveiled the fact that a huge factor in a customer’s buying decision is the way the vendor behaves in the sales process. What does good look like in this area? Dixon and Adamson’s list included the following: “[Vendor] offers unique, valuable perspectives on the market.” “Educates me on new issues and outcomes.” “Provides ongoing advice and consultation.” “Helps me avoid potential landmines.”
So there we have it. The writing was in the surveys: buyers value advice that educates and informs without resorting to old-style “me, me, me” selling.
Marketers really need to ‘get’ this reality. In the final decades of the analogue era, Marketing and Sales inhabited such different worlds that they had completely lost touch with one another. And it’s Marketing that has the biggest challenge to get back into the real world, and regain a close partnership with Sales colleagues, Customers and Prospects.
Content may indeed be King. But only if it is properly constructed and communicated.