|By Ardath Albee||
|June 8, 2014 07:02 PM EDT||
The buying process has gotten messy for B2B marketers. This easy access to information means that engagement one second can turn into disinterest in the next. Every new channel puts a hole in your funnel. (Although I've never liked the funnel construct, it's appropriate for making the point.)
Marketers who don't integrate new channels into their content marketing strategy will find they have a very leaky funnel. I'm not talking about using them, I'm talking about considering how they all work together.
If you want to plug the holes, it's time to consider:
Consistency of Story
Given that only 32% of enterprise B2B marketers consider their content marketing effective, they need to pay attention to what they're doing with the 17 tactics they use, on average. Forty-one percent are creating more content than they did last year but the question remains as to what it is and why they're creating it?
Many of them don't have a documented plan which leaves me to wonder how they manage it all. But I'd wager that this is an indication of why consistency across channels is lacking. If you're relying on memory or hoping that everyone is publishing to the idea of the plan, good luck.
The problem I see is that in lieu of a strategy, marketers use different channels for different things. One example I've seen a lot is a really well done blog and a Facebook page that's about the company's favorite sports team and silly contests. If you're a buyer and you encounter a really thought-provoking blog post and then click through to the silly Facebook page, what are you left thinking?
The other is a conflict of personas. You may have a blog focused on IT professionals and a LinkedIn Group for line of business. But somehow there are cross links that make no sense but were done for SEO purposes. I've seen horrendous crimes done to content in the name of SEO. This can also happen with hyperlinks on phrases that link to product pages on the website with no context. Who do you think you're fooling? I just read a buyer research study that found buyers are hesitant to click on links when they don't know where they'll go. Why do you think this is?
Marketers need to think about the impression made by all the channels in use where prospects and customers may encounter their company. What will the overall impression be if they run into your company on the channels you publish in most? When's the last time you looked at it from the outside, from this perspective?
Depth of Relevance
I was reviewing content for a potential project the other day. The content was solid, focused on industry trends that mattered to their prospects, but it felt off. It took me a bit to put my finger on it, but I finally figured it out. The company had taken the idea of journalism to an extreme. They were trying to be so unbiased that their content was dry, it was like straight reporting and it was stiff because they weren't actually taking a stand or speaking directly to anyone.
The company is actually really interesting and has SMEs galore that are willing to contribute content. But they don't know how to talk to their prospects with any tone, voice or personality. If you stripped away the company brand, the reader would think the content was provided by an association or news publisher. And that's not the lasting impression you want to leave.
To get to depth of relevance you not only need to know your buyers intimately, but your brand's personality. Instead of brand guidelines, why not create a brand persona that can help your company become more relevant in information, as well as in style?
Formats Don't Matter More than Information
One of the first things I hear in a lot of content conversations is about the type of content the marketing team wants to create. We need a white paper or an eBook or an infographic, etc. This is the wrong place to start.
Start with the idea. What topic and for whom? What will they get from it? What do you want to accomplish? How will it work within your storyline?
These are the questions to answer. Then you can define a suite of content to develop around the idea complete with a distribution plan and how you'll connect the dots across channels. Remember that the expectations in channels also vary. Instead of one content asset, start thinking in terms of content hubs.
If you don't want to lose your audience, you need to move format to the end of the list. It's not the most important element. The information is.
Social Does Not Mean Broadcast
I think we've forgotten how to actually "be" social. There's a big difference between broadcasting and engaging. The lazy way out is to post title and link...repeatedly. Or to post title and link when channels including LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ allow you to add much more narrative. Yet, we tend to treat every social channel with the brevity required by Twitter. Why?
What a missed opportunity. Although this would also mean we'd need to think about how to be meaningful - and who has time for that?
The point is that marketers are putting a lot of investment into channels they don't own, but they're not applying the effort to make them pay off. Buyers have a choice. It's often represented by the back button and then the ignore trigger that has them scan right past your post. Once they start avoiding you, will you be able to win them back? If their experience with your brand across channels is reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you've got work to do.
The best approach is to think of everything you publish as a form of Natural Nurturing. I wrote about it in my book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, in 2009. This is not a new concept. Every time your content comes into contact with your audience you have an opportunity. Squander it and your funnel becomes a sieve.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Aug. 29, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 369
A producer of the first smartphones and tablets, presenter Lee M. Williams will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, COO of ETwater, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater.
Aug. 29, 2015 03:45 PM EDT
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Aug. 29, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 419
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Aug. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 197
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Aug. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 236
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Aug. 29, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 110
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 29, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 846
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Aug. 29, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 179
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Aug. 29, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 578
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Aug. 29, 2015 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 129
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Aug. 28, 2015 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 194
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Aug. 28, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 322
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Aug. 28, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 410
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
Aug. 28, 2015 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 360
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Aug. 26, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 118
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 544
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 475
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,561
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 275
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,223