The term “Content Marketing” has become quite the buzzword in 2013 – especially from marketing professionals. But, even with its ubiquity, marketers are still struggling to define the meaning. Because of this ambiguity, many in the industry are wondering, “is content marketing really a thing I need to pay attention to?”
Let me tell you, it is. And here are two reasons why.
No one wants to talk to sales.
First, there’s a massive change in the behavior of consumers on the web. Buyers are no longer calling up salespeople and asking them about products. Those days are over.
Nobody wants to talk to a sales rep–and nowadays most buyers avoid that conversation until they’re ready to make a purchase. In fact, a study by SiriusDecisions reported that 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed before sales is ever contacted.
So how are these buyers getting information and where are they looking?
Online. They’re researching solutions to their problems independently–i.e., without picking up the phone to call a sales rep–and they’re doing it by searching on the web. Which leads me to my next point.
It’s a Google world we live in. Consumers are opening their browsers and doing the research themselves, which has led to a dramatic shift in the world of marketing. Now that consumers are going to Google and using it as a tool to learn about your product or brand, there better be some pretty good information waiting for them. Otherwise, they’ll never learn about your solutions or pay attention to your products.
Web users are increasingly using Google to navigate the web. The number of Google searches have increased every year for the past 10, and 2012 was the highest ever. Marketers are finding that if their content doesn’t appear in search results, they will miss out on consumer interactions and sales. Because of this, content marketing has become the highest priority for marketing groups in 2013.
These two trends, disdain for sales and the rise of Google, has placed content marketing firmly in the spotlight this year.
Cool, Mike, but why should I care?
If you don’t care about the impact of these two trends, you’re playing by outdated marketing standards. It’s like golfing with your grandaddy’s wooden clubs when everyone else is swinging with titanium. You may like the game better the old way, but you’re not going to win without embracing new technologies and methods. Not to mention you’re giving your competitors a significant advantage.
Marketers, you need to have a new conversation with your buyers. Instead of sales reaching out before a buyer is ready to purchase, the conversation needs to start with informative–and awesome–content that your buyers can find online. Besides, creating content that helps people solve their problems is the right thing to do. Your company is an expert in something–otherwise you wouldn’t be successful–and sharing that knowledge is the best way to get people in your lead queue. But you’re not tricking buyers into paying attention to you and your products, you’re actually helping them meet their goals and be more successful. With that, and the fact that content marketing drives more traffic, leads, and revenue for your organization, everyone wins.
By embracing content marketing, your organization will be more successful at reaching customers and you’re going to make the world a better place for your buyers–even if it is Google’s world.