Content as a Product – Core to B2B Sales

By Thomas B. Cross techtionary.com

SalesForce put out this interesting though really too long of a paper called B2B Marketer’s Lead Generation Field Guide.  I Didn’t see anything about nature, mountains or fields but there is a lot of ideas albeit too many good ideas.  Once you settle down to look at some of the tips of the trade, they talk about you find things like:

The content you create for – it should be something like another product. It should offer your buyers a solution to problems they might have, or new ways to consider problems that their clients might have.

The operative word is content as a product.  This is really fascinating as I have never seen that before.  Certainly, it is time for content to be created, managed, used and even destroyed like a product.  Products come from ideas and have a useful “shelf-life” and then have an EOL-end of life process for environmentally managed destruction.  Just as customers change content seems to be often a thing that especially marketing departments value has having something of lasting value.  Indeed, product marketing tends to match product with marketing but often too closely as they often forget about customers. 

What if that content had similar processes as product management processes and was organized along the same way?  Having built and managed large-scale software development projects, there is something appealing about having a better-organized approach to content.  Some think and for good reason that content is the only thing that organizations have of any value.  If you are a Disney, Netflix, music/movie and other content-driven organization that is really true and those with the most content are going to win in the continuing business cycle. 

However, in practical B2B product development, I have never seen a really good approach to content.  Indeed, there are some interesting examples where content is written for vertical markets, type of customer and even the kind of person aka finance, IT and others.  Indeed, I do not know what is behind all the content but one can read “between the lines” what is being said that there is no real process like in product management where this content is generated.  This is why maybe just maybe another approach is needed that is not product marketing but customer-focused content marketing designed, developed, deployed and destroyed like products are. 

This is not only possible and practical but in this era of nanosecond product lifecycles a more integrated approach to the sales process.  Moving from writing blather, talking about it, trying to convince customers it is something they need, selling it to them, hoping it will work “as advertised” and then selling version 2.0 and beyond to a new process where customers are actually involved in all the product processes via content they can really become beneficiaries of the “use case” they actually need. 

Summary – Product management and lifecycles work because they have processes.  Marketing often doesn’t work because they don’t have the kind of processes that Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) has.  Maybe it’s time for marketing to have processes like PLM.

This concept is also presented in TMCnet Selling UP Market UP Margin Technology to SMB & Enterprise Certification at ITEXPO/MSPEXPO. (registration required)

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