Content is the new marketing. It’s generally the initial way prospective customers learn about the products and services they seek to buy–and it’s generally found on their own.
It’s now common marketing knowledge that buyers reach decisions through internet research before they talk to a single salesperson, and the seller with the most relevant and innovative insights may get a buyer’s first contact.
Marketing and sales must adapt. As Byron Matthews, CEO of Miller Heiman Group, puts it:
It’s not good enough to show up and ask questions anymore. You have to show up, understand their business and understand what they are trying to get done, yes. But you also have to provide value. You have to change their thinking, provide them content and insights that differentiate you from anyone else.
Buyers certainly value thought leadership that educates and maybe even inspires. But they also still need to understand the basics of a seller’s offerings and how they help produce better business results. As LinkedIn put it in one of its recent reports:
Product information, data sheets, and demos are table stakes – the baseline information necessary to be among the consideration set. But buyers also need broader information to help them on the way to making the final purchase decision. The implication for marketers is that they must have their message present throughout the full funnel, from awareness and thought leadership content in the upper funnel to data sheets and demos in the lower funnel.
Experience counts in creating all that content. Otherwise, you’ll see general and vague marketing and PR language like these quotes from an investment brief:
- built an outstanding reputation and strong leadership position in its industry
- leverage leadership, industry expertise and relationships to take Company to the next level
- build on the Company’s history of success
- confident the future for the Company has never been brighter
- significantly grow the business both organically and through acquisitions
Instead, make sure product literature focuses on tangible and real benefits to customers. Looking at product features from the customer’s point of view and presenting their value is critical. Case studies work, too, as do demos that show exactly how a product works and what customers can expect.
Broader content can educate potential customers on industry trends, best practices, and technical approaches and considerations. Content that puts the details and specifics into an industry context or looks at them through the lens of a company’s own purpose, values, and point of view establishes the credibility and expertise that leads to sales.
Canright writes and produces a wide variety of marketing content, including:
- Brochures, web pages, and product data sheets
- White papers, trends reports, and bylined articles
- Case studies and blog articles
- Social media content
- Speaker and webinar presentations (scripts and PowerPoints)