Content Marketing: Are Your Customers Tuning You Out?
Marketing | Nov 21, 2018 | 3 min read
If you’ve looked recently at your email inbox, been on LinkedIn, or just lifted your head up, you’ve noticed the deluge of marketing content falling on customers. And, if you hope your competitors will slow that content creation anytime soon, to help you get noticed, you’ll be disappointed. Our research, done as part of CEB, found that a majority of marketing leaders plan to "increase a lot" their content marketing budgets through 2020. Get ready for more direct mail, social media, blogs, webinars, and enough e-books to fill many virtual libraries.
Creating digital content feels good in the moment. You're producing; your voice is out there. But content production does not mean more business. If you look at the chart below, even with ramped-up content creation, most organizations see little movement in their MQL conversion rate to revenue.
Source: CEB Analysis
When you put a few statistics together, the picture gets bleak. Over half of customers completely tune out your content marketing efforts, and 34 percent retaliate after an undesired contact. This means you have a better chance of finding someone either indifferent or angry towards your message than someone willing to act. And when a customer does connect with your message, such that you “qualify” them, there is little chance they ultimately buy. It’s no wonder two-thirds of marketers struggle to correlate content metrics to business metrics. Your tidal wave of content may not actually be helping your business.
So how do you create marketing content that helps the business? First, you appreciate what your customer does as part of a decision-making process and align your content to those actions. Our research has shown that learning through digital channels is the most time-consuming activity buyers participate in when making a purchase decision. They are eager to learn on their own and are specifically searching for content that will teach them something new.
Second, content must give customers a compelling reason to act. Part of the reason so few MQLs convert to revenue is the content has nothing in it to disrupt or challenge status-quo thinking. Social science research has long shown that people are more apt to take action when presented with the negative consequences of their current situation than when presented with positive future opportunities.
Third, buying complex B2B solutions is hard. Buyers need information that enables them to complete specific jobs in their buying journey. This may include truly identifying and understanding their problem, prioritizing solution requirements, or building consensus around a path. Support in this area has historically been the job of salespeople, but today’s buyers interact with sellers and with marketing simultaneously throughout the buying journey. If your content doesn’t address specific buying jobs, particularly in the mid to late stages of that journey, it won’t be of much value and will likely be ignored.
This is where the Challenger concept meets content marketing. The goal is not more content, but better, more disruptive, and more useful content. Specifically, content that disrupts the customer’s status-quo thinking about their business and enables an easier and more informed buying journey, resulting in a purchase. Reach out to learn more about bringing Commercial Insight to your marketing organization.
Bonus: Want an inside look into this year's Challenger Sales and Marketing Summit? Get your exclusive access to Arco's presentation on how they implemented Challenger and insight-led messaging to change their customers' perceptions and improve revenue.
Spencer is the Director of Marketing and Sales Enablement at Challenger, and has helped transform sales and marketing teams in some of the biggest and best companies in the world.