Take content marketing. We roll out information to help our prospects, and therefore us. Because the more they like what they see, the more they favor who did it for them.
That’s the idea. And it often works. But when it doesn’t, we often struggle to understand why. And that’s a problem. Because it often leads us to troubleshoot the wrong things.
Are we becoming so focused on shaping prospects’ perspectives that we have forgotten to shape our own?
Consider the funnel
One of the fundamentals of the sales and marketing sphere. Consider the three traditional phases:
- Top: establish authority and build interest with agnostic, broad-base content.
- Middle: establish trust and generate leads with specific, targeted content.
- Bottom: hand off to sales and provide support with highly detailed, individualised content.
The very nature of B2B interactions has long dictated this simple flow of lead management. But more recently, some have begun to see it for what it is: a relic of a simpler age when ‘closing the deal’ meant ‘thanks for buying and goodbye’.
That’s no longer enough. Our perspective has to change, because customer retention is hugely important – and turning customers into ambassadors, even more so. Nothing helps you out more than the recommendations of satisfied buyers. That’s why we do case studies – only this is better.
Content isn’t just a tool to attract attention and grow demand – it can and should be used to perpetuate customer lifecycles. So keep the funnel, but place a pan under it. Water is precious.
Rethink the drivers
The funnel is just one, fairly well-known example. Even the very content we put out deserves a critical eye – not what it’s made up of, but what we’re using it for and what we hope to accomplish with it.
Maybe the solution at the centre of the story you’re trying to tell is so convoluted, you don’t want to put it across to your leads as twenty pages of technobabble wrapped in a narrative. So you have a two-minute conceptual video done up instead. Makes sense. After all, conceptual videos are:
- More compelling a medium than text.
- More convenient for them to consume.
- Bite-sized, which hooks people more easily.
But who are you aiming this sharp, catchy production at again? The folks who are already on board with your idea. So what should be driving your content at this point, is helping them justify their own inclination to choose you.
Is what’s ‘convenient’ for them necessarily best here? Would it be too brief, too frivolous, not striking that inner need to get their problem dealt with? These are things you may want to ask yourself – after taking a few steps back.
Again, our perspective has to change. What we think is best for our prospects might not be. We must never be so focused on the how that we overlook the why.
As marketers, we’re in the business of guiding people to see things our way. So if that way isn’t the best way to begin with, we’re not doing our customers – and ourselves – justice. As somebody once said a long time ago, let’s get the house in order before we invite guests over for tea.
When was the last time you cleaned house? Tell us about it!
Check out GetIT Comms’s own perspective-shaping with marketing consultancy.
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