Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending NewCred’s Content Marketing Summit in NYC. The summit featured an all-star lineup, headed up by the former VP of Marketing at SAP, Michael Brenner, who is now Head of Strategy at NewsCred. Brenner appropriately discussed why he bet his career (you know, leaving a huge enterprise to go to a start-up) on content and how the future of the marketing industry can be found in the brands that successfully produce and promote great content.
As I sat through the subsequent sessions, I heard from industry greats such as: Tim Washer (Cisco), Dustee Jenkins (Target), Stacy Minero (Twitter), Jonah Peretti (Buzzfeed), Mark Howard (Forbes), Stephanie Losee (Dell), and Shaon Leath (Dr. Pepper) among others. All had great perspectives and advice for marketers looking to navigate new marketing paradigm and shift internal and cultural thinking. That theme was:mind the gap. Specifically, mind the content gap.
The common “mind the gap” phrase is often heard when departing a train. If the gap is not “minded,” there is potential danger in falling through (or at least part of you falling through) the platform. So while the content gap may not be as physically dangerous, it is something that needs concerted attention.
The content gap (and there maybe more than one gap) is where the customer sales funnel has a lack of content to support the action of that stage of the process. For enterprises to mom-and-pop shops marketing B2B or B2C, every business can identify the non-linear customer journey and web of customer interactions, and identify the places within the sales funnel that lacks great content – or any content at all. Once those gaps are identified, the goal of a content marketing strategy should be to fill those gaps with content that matters – content that customers, not just the company, wants that features messages intended to change a thought or create an action.
Basically, the content gaps are points of opportunity. They are empty spaces in the buyer’s journey where the customer can get lost, wander off course, and can become misinformed.
Here’s a quick, general example from a technology company.
Let’s say one customer’s individual journey to making a decision and becoming a repeat customer includes the four basic steps: awareness, trial, subscription, renewal. During each step of the process, the technology company must have an understanding of the channels that will be most relevant and populate them with content that achieves a specific goal. When it comes to awareness, maybe social media is the most popular channel for learning about a product or service, so the technology company must create great content that inserts their company into the social media conversation surrounding the functions of their technology.
Not being present in this space and inserting the company within those conversations is the content gap – it’s a missed opportunity to generate awareness. Without awareness, no potential customer could move into the next stage and therefore, they will never reach subscription and/or renewal.
So, evaluate your content strategy and compare it side-by-side to customer journeys and mind those gaps. Take the time to strategically fill the gaps with good stuff and those gaps could convert into points of opportunity.
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