As an active observer and participant in the digital marketing world, I see a spectrum of attitudes and perspectives towards attracting and engaging customers online. There are a growing number of great examples and case studies within the world of content marketing in particular, but it’s really only a fraction of the digital marketing spend overall. Despite well promoted studies, statistics, trends and tactics, many companies don’t come close to realizing their potential when it comes to customer acquisition and community building online.
Why do companies continue to invest in content creation without specifying its purpose, the intended audience or outcome? Why do so many business marketers continue to think their existing distribution channels are all that’s needed to gain the full value of exposure to the content they’re publishing?
Limited resources, time and organizational constraints are common excuses. In fact, 69% of companies responding to our Integrated Online Marketing Survey said “Lack of Resources” was the top reason for not integrating digital marketing tactics like content marketing, SEO, social media, email, blogging and online PR. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that many of the companies that cite lack of resources or internal expertise, also pour substantial budget into familiar, poorly measured traditional marketing channels like TV, print and offline publicity.
Customer segmentation and persona driven content marketing, like SEO, is an ongoing effort requiring participation, refinement and adaptability. Knowing the customer journey across the sales cycle is a living map on how to use optimized content for awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, retention and advocacy. I think there’s a tremendous opportunity for companies that are just getting started in a meaningful way with content marketing and social media to look at their marketing mix in a more holistic way. Integration can facilitate consistent customer experience across marketing channels but I believe it can also serve as a force multiplier for a company’s overall digital marketing efforts.
This is an introduction to a 6 part series of posts that I’ll be writing over the next few weeks on how to better attract and engage with prospects, customers and any other audience your content is intended to reach, online.
There are a number of models that represent buying and sales cycles, but as we’ve pointed out here in the past and in conjunction with reports I’ve collaborated with Forrester Research on (Make the Switch to the Customer Life Cycle and Four Steps to Tackle the Shift to the Customer Life Cycle) the role of brand and consumer relationship extend outside the buying cycle. Companies must adapt beyond optimizing their online marketing for linear sales relationships and expand those activities to the full customer life cycle relationship to retain and to inspire advocacy.
Each of the 6 steps will be modeled after the following format:
- Current situation
- Approach to optimization
- Practical example
- Next Steps in the cycle
Be sure to watch for the next posts in this optimization series covering each stage in the customer lifecycle model:
By sharing a structured approach to different situations for each phase, I hope readers will start to connect the dots with how different content-based marketing tactics can be integrated and optimized for better customer experience, more sales, shorter sales cycles, greater revenue and better customer retention.
As always, if you want a deep dive into an “Optimized” approach to content marketing, be sure to pick up a copy of the book Optimize :)