As someone who pretty much devours the latest marketing news, you’ve become convinced that your organization needs to change its approach to marketing. You believe that you need to stop blasting promotional messages at your prospects, and instead provide them with useful information, knowing that it will build trust. You now take it on faith that the way people buy today has fundamentally changed, and your marketing needs to reflect that.
It all seems so obvious.
Except to your boss.She believes that promotional content – that is, traditional ad copy, sell sheets and other sales collateral extolling the virtues of your products or services – is what drives leads your sales team can turn into customers. After all, if you’re not trumpeting how awesome your company is, who will?
She believes that promotional content – that is, traditional ad copy, sell sheets and other sales collateral extolling the virtues of your products or services – is what drives leads your sales team can turn into customers. After all, if you’re not trumpeting how awesome your company is, who will?
But you’ve been reading about content marketing, the new buyer’s journey and Youtility for a couple years now, and you know it’s right. So, how do you convince her that you need to reallocate resources to content marketing? How do you convince her that your company needs to shift its mindset in order to attract customers in this preference marketing era?
Good news – logic is on your side. Bad news – it’s hard to get someone to invest in something new when she’s had success doing it another way her entire career.
Explain content marketing.
Because you’ve immersed yourself in this world, it’s easy to make assumptions that everyone knows about content marketing. Don’t make that assumption. You need to explain the concept.
Content marketing is a buzzword, but there’s a reason for all the buzz – it’s the logical approach in this era in which the buyer is in control of the seller-customer relationship. Sixty-seven percent of the buyer’s journey now occurs before your sales team ever hears from a prospect. Content marketing – the creation and distribution of high quality audience-focused content – is the only way to attract attention and build a trust-based relationship with your customers and prospects. We always ask doubters how they purchase anything today; invariably they admit to going online to conduct research, comparing various offerings and learning about possible solutions to their issue. In other words, they consume content.
There are numerous arguments for content marketing, including the opportunity to increase top of the funnel sales activity, reduced sales cycles, the success other brands are having and improved online performance. You know what your boss is most interested in; make your arguments accordingly.
Show them the data.
There are plenty of statistics about the efficacy of content marketing; there is also an increasing amount of naysayers. Start by checking out the research from the Content Marketing Institute, which does annual surveys on the state of content marketing for both B2C and B2B marketers.
And then dig into your own data. Compare how your organization is doing SEO-wise in comparison to your competition. See how they’re doing with their own content marketing efforts and where they might have jumped ahead of you. Seek out anecdotal information from your sales team about what is happening in the field to find out their view of the landscape. If it’s at all possible, compare the competition’s top of the funnel sales activity with your organization, and find out how your sales cycle compares to their’s.
Focus on ROI.
The boss won’t be overly interested in doing something just because everyone else is doing it. Therefore, you need to talk about the return on investment. It isn’t difficult to find case studies across the Internet that explain the success other companies have had with content marketing. Find and use case studies that you believe will resonate with the person you’re trying to convince.
Propose a content marketing pilot program.
Rather than propose a radical new direction, suggest a six-month trial for content marketing. This is a chance for your organization to dip its toe into content marketing without making a massive commitment of resources. Select a specific course of action and what metrics you’ll measure. Be as specific as possible; focus will help you succeed because you’ll avoid the shiny new objects of marketing that seem to distract so many of us.
Commit to educating the boss.
Begin telling her about content marketing, how and why it works, and be sure to send along frequent (but not too frequent; that’ll get annoying) articles on content marketing and updates on your progress. You likely know that involving someone in a process helps them t buy into that process; just make sure you do it.