3 Questions to Stop Marketing Strategic Drift – The Content Standard of Skyword | Region & Cash

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As the year-end sales sprint begins, we are faced with the fact that corrective actions such as hiring new salespeople, revamping our websites, or targeting new customer segments are unlikely to bear fruit before 2023.

Then we as marketers are doubly challenged to eliminate sales bottlenecks and strengthen what works, as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Typically, more and more stakeholders then ask themselves, “How can we do more with less?”

I would argue that the question we should direct them to is instead, “What are the one or two things we can do to make the greatest impact?”

Last month I mentioned that content is your brand’s most adaptable marketing resource. Well I encourage you to take advantage of this by considering the following:

  • How to adjust the context of your content to give your product message more immediate relevance.

  • What content you can reuse or re-stage to better support both online and offline sales.

  • What content could you amplify to trigger an instant surge in leads?

  • What new content you need to fill critical gaps in your sales funnel.

As the clock ticks, the best value you can offer your business is knowing what and how to focus your efforts for the greatest return now and in the new year.

These three questions will help you get more surgical and craft marketing content for the “now” your business and customers are in.

1. Is content being used to address our most pressing business challenges?

This question helps determine which areas of the business should be prioritized to support if, like most marketers, you don’t have the luxury of doing everything.

As a foundation, continuous content production is essential to grow your audience, but it’s wise not to gain false trust through healthy traffic. So don’t just look at what’s working, look for what’s been slowing down or preventing sales from flowing optimally.

For example, perhaps the current economic pressures have made your sales cycle much longer in recent quarters. It’s a strong signal that you need to double down on your assets to address the concerns of new stakeholders and ensure the right testimonials, case studies and ROI messages are fed into your customer journey early on.

Examine your sales and retention numbers, your pipeline metrics, and the remaining months of the year to determine what has changed and where your business needs the biggest boost.

Don't ignore your most pressing business challenge

2. Marketing for the moment we are in?

While the first question helps determine exactly where the business needs you most, this question forces you to think carefully about what your customers need right now.

You want messages to be contextualized for the moment, which creates urgency and addresses all of your customers’ most important concerns. Remember, like your business, your mindset and priorities have changed since you last planned your content calendar.

If you aren’t already, now is the time to incorporate real-time search data, social listening, and voice-of-the-customer data into your content planning. Encourage your content partners to help identify the priorities, market drivers, and cultural events that intersect with your business so you take every opportunity to lend a helping hand.

ADP’s Eye-on-Washington team keeps abreast of current legislation to keep HR and corporate leaders informed about the impact of the latest state and local regulations on their operations and employees. From GDPR to Covid to Roe v. Wade, the Eye on Washington team challenges the brand to deliver new suites of tailored information and tools when their clients need it most. Your brand is known and valued for maintaining that edge. This is content that is contextualized to create immediate value and long-term competitive advantage.

3. Do we measure the value delivered to the customer?

I’m a firm believer in the quote, “What you measure is what you manage.” By answering this third question, all of your content activity focuses on a) who the customer you are supporting is and b) what value they have for him, so you optimize what’s really important.

Do you measure value or vanity metrics?

99.9% of the time, value means helping someone do something better or easier than they could do before. You don’t want tunnel vision looking at engagement rates when your customers really value a faster checkout route.

Case in point: Colgate set up its online oral care center years ago, which generated millions of monthly SEO blog hits. But it quickly became clear that customers didn’t just want answers to oral health questions; They wanted quick access to recommended treatment products. Colgate no longer focused on overall traffic and instead optimized flow-through behavior.

As a result, they were one of the first brands to add contextualized product modules to their training articles, eliminating the steps customers had to go through to buy the right product online. The point is that because they measured and managed what their customers wanted, they stopped selling and became better at helping their customers buy.

content craft

No marketer ever sets out to run a content factory, but it can feel like it when you get so bogged down in production that you begin to drift away from business priorities.

I encourage you to spend the rest of the year disciplinedly striving for more meaningful outcomes with less effort.

practice content craft

Use these questions to avoid wasted effort, target priority business areas with precision, and be a problem solver in the customer journey. I call that content craft. And as marketers, it’s our job to apply that skill at scale.

PS As you plan your strategy, read our latest research report on what consumers and B2B buyers expect most from your brand experience.

Featured image by Rod Long on Unsplash

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