By: Ritika Puri, NewsCred Contributor –
Content has transformed the B2B marketing landscape. Five years ago, media spends were viewed as expenses – agencies and Fortune 500 brands released branding dollars in cycles, measuring performance in terms of aggregate ROI. Marketing teams cultivated leads, but sales reps were the ultimate revenue engines.
As Rishi Dave, Executive Director of Digital Marketing at Dell, pointed out at NewsCred’s Content Marketing Summit, content has become a consistent and steady source for customer acquisition. The economics speak for themselves – high-value customers at incredibly low price points.
Content is the most valuable investment a company can make. Here’s why, according to Dave:
1. Today’s buyers are entirely self-driven
In the non-digital era and earliest days of online marketing, it was up to sales teams to discover pain points, uncover customer needs and build business-to-customer connections.
Today’s buyers are completely self-driven – they’re 60% down their journey before they engage with a brand or salesperson.
Content helps customers self-nurture, self-research, and forge their own paths to conversion. It’s only after they’ve made a decision that they’ll connect with a sales rep.
Content marketing empowers buyers with information at key decision points, just when they need it. Blog post, whitepapers, resource centers, case studies and guides are today’s solution sellers.
2. Content embraces the customer’s whole self
Through content marketing, brands connect with buyers on both practical and emotional levels.
Use analytics to split platforms by persona and person, recommends Dave. In addition to providing product-based resources, Dell inspires thought leadership through what Dave calls “content porn” that’s lifestyle based.
If all goes well and customers enjoy what’s produced, content will go viral, show up in search, and pull even more prospects into the conversation.
But content doesn’t stop at discovery. In addition to helping consumers enter the funnel, content provides a tool for navigating key decision points. Feedback loops send user-level data back to marketers who can then respond with the right message at the right time.
3. The content marketing ecosystem is a revenue engine
CMS, personalization, and curation technologies make it possible for brands to produce content at massive scale. Companies that deploy a mix of content production strategies through original content creation, aggregation, story recycling and user-driven conversations are more likely to retain and engage their audiences for the long-term.
The key to success in content marketing relies on velocity, quality, and volume, says Dave.
As long as companies keep piling content at a faster rate than it becomes outdated, there will be massive opportunities for lead generation at scale. The faster companies run their content engines, the better leads they’ll get, and the faster they can move buyers through the funnel.
This momentum is amplified through social media exposure and community dialogue. Branding is a natural byproduct but is secondary to revenue and growth.
Hear Dave’s argument for making content your number one marketing priority.
Originally published on May 19, 2012 5:01 PM