We’re going to try something new on the blog: “Behind the Numbers.” I want to show marketers how to interpret surveys and data by applying things they already know and–when appropriate–a healthy dose of skepticism.
The invaluable eMarketer newsletter shared a survey from content marketing firm Eccolo Media on popular content throughout the B2B technology sales cycle. Among other data points, Eccolo shared this one about what kinds of content these buyers want right after purchase:
In descending order, these customers want content relating to thought leadership (36%), tech support (30%), new product info (25%) and customer stories (9%).
The data tell a good story, but they don’t tell the whole story.
You see it coming a mile away: the solution to your client’s problem. The answer seems to simple that you imagine yourself yanking a Whitman’s Sampler from a newborn. After listening to your client completely, you lay out your solution with clarity, specificity and proof of past success.
OK, now what? What do you do when your client says “that’s not how things work around here?”
For years, I had a standard answer for this problem. The answer involved probing for weaknesses looking for opportunities to nudge in whatever idea I thought would solve their problem. Surely, my sterling logic would prevail sooner or later! Thing is, it didn’t work.
After multiple attempts at bashing down the figurative door, I realized that a client saying “that’s not how things work around here” is really telling you two things:
Collectively, marketers have spilled a lot of ink around content marketing for the past few years. However, a lot of marketers still don’t seem to understand how to use it. For those marketers, I offer a quick analogy: B2B marketers can use content the way B2C marketers use humor.
Last night–Halloween–was a big night on my block. The local block association closes of West 90th Street from Central Park West (the nice end) to Columbus Avenue (where we live). The kids have a ball collecting bite-sized Milky Ways from one end to the other. And the 7-11 on the corner of 89th & Columbus taught me a lesson just in time for the crazy holiday marketing period that has already begun.
Here’s what they did:
What does a free coffee in October have to do with mistletoe, menorahs and suchlike? Continue reading →