On Content for Lead Gen

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

On Content for Lead Gen

There is a new CMO Council study (along with affiliate, Content ROI Center) out called "Lead Flow That Helps You Grow" focused on demand generation strategy. The report takes a deep look into the struggle companies are having in producing quality lead flow that can advance sales performance. The study was conducted from North America-based research. It features perspectives from both qualitative interviews with marketing leaders at Informatica, Thermo Fisher Scientific, OpenText, CA Technologies and IBM, and key findings from a survey of marketing leaders across many industry sectors. More info about the study here.

More and more sales is getting tougher. The funnel has flipped around from outbound sales to inbound sales through marketing which is really content consisting of infographics, case studies, white papers and similar data.

Liz Miller, CMO Council's Senior Vice President, Marketing, answered two questions I had about the study's findings.

Q1) The findings indicate that it is all about images to attract viewers. How will this play out in the long run? It seems to me that we don't have viewers or readers but scanners or brief eyeballs.

Miller explains, "This is really about changing the way WE categorize visual assets. Traditionally, visuals are the icing on the cake...the attention grabber that pulls the reader INTO the text. But today, visuals can BE the content. Be it an infographic, an illustration or a video...the asset is the content that the audience wants to ingest. It isn't necessarily "just" a teaser anymore. And we, as marketers, must start applying some real rigor around how we manage these assets. We can't just create in silos like we used to...with an image over here in events, a graphic over there in sales, an infographic holed up with the social team."

Q2) When you saw the study, what was your first reaction to the data.

Miller answers, "I was struck by just how much marketers are planning to ramp up video investment and production. But then I was immediately struck with a bit of dread. Right now, visual assets, much like content in general, is being generated within silos - more like silos within silos as social teams create things, mobile teams create different things, which are all together different from what sales or product might be generating. We are spending massive amounts of money on this, but applying operational rigor to aggregating these assets into a central repository from which the entire organization can feed is not a priority. With so much planned investment into continued creation and increased creation in video, it makes me wonder if we are missing a massive opportunity to boost engagement AND trim bottom line fat by taking this step to connecting our internal customers and partners with the creative and visual assets they want to be using to best connect with our external customers and partners.

It sounds like the marketing should be done by all departments (or at least with input from all departments) so that the story is real.

Personally, I don't think we have a lack of attention really. We have too much information flowing at us. We see more ads in a day than many people saw in a year just 5 years ago. And most of the ads are lousy and obnoxious as the advertiser tries harder and harder to get our attention by jumping out at us with pop-ups, pop-unders, et al. To Interrupt us for attention.

I guess the advertisers don't think the annoyance will trigger negative feelings towards the brand. Shortsightedness for certain.

It's all about the long play now. Think lifetime value of a customer. Profile the best customers. Examine the buying process and the buyer's journey. Utilize analytics to know what is working and what is not. Think long term, not quarterly, not sales numbers, because the Brand is the most valuable asset.

It brings me back to Peter Drucker. A company has 2 purposes: marketing and innovation. Think hard about that.

That means product development. Our industry is $88 Billion - and we have only scratched the surface. As the transition occurs for B2B VoIP, the Hosted VoIP product should be filled in until there is a package that is UC&C. That is product dev. Not we have had the same HPBX offering since we rolled out our Asterisk box or Broadsoft.

Several execs think lowering the price is the all the product dev they need. Lower price by itself is not disruptive. What the product does for users is. We have free. We will always have free. Useful, easy to use, intuitive, flexible -- those beat cheap any day.

Then there is the marketing. Seth Godin says that the marketing should be baked into the product. Drucker would probably agree. The product should be so good that you would talk about it anyway. (How often does that happen?)

The rest of the marketing - the external marketing - is aimed at lead generation and brand awareness. It is about garnering interest with quality, consistent content aimed at buyers.

The problem is that we focus on sales, revenue, quarterly reports. While that is a reality for some, Amazon doesn't buy into it.

The focus should be on customer experience, improving deployment, getting customer feedback, and finding out how users interact with your product. All of that makes for great content (stories). In addition, that is how you fine tune your product.

It also makes for great content in the form of video interviews/testimonials; online support tutorials; visual aids for fast fingering the phone.

A fancy picture may stop people but it won't help your marketing any more than a funny cat gif posted every week.

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