This week Forrester Research released a study on the maturity of content marketing. Naturally, I was super eager to read it and see what gems I could learn. The report, “Compare Your B2B Content Marketing Maturity,” found more than half (51 percent) of respondents said their content marketing efforts were somewhat effective, while 27 percent said their strategy was “neutral” and 6 percent said it was somewhat ineffective at delivering value.
Turns out that content creation is not the issue, but content development. Anyone in marketing who has worked with subject matter experts or executives knows this process is challenging. However, BMA Chairman Steve Liguori, is spot on in his statement of the challenge,
“Our survey results show that the majority of B2B content practices focus too narrowly on early-stage buyer acquisition—which fails to engage buyers throughout their lifetime. To create content that attracts and builds customer relationships throughout the customer life cycle, B2B marketers must make a fundamental shift from writing about features and benefits to delivering valuable information that drives business results.”
A long, but well-crafted statement, but there are two important points:
1) Content should NOT be about features and benefits of your products and services. It should be about information that helps the customer make a decision or learn something new. Jay Baer writes extensively on this subject and wrote a book about it that is so worth the read.
2) Content needs to cover the entire buying cycle.
Marketers face a real challenge of quantity versus quality in an age where everyone is a publisher. Again, in my mind, the purpose of content is to communicate with your prospects in a meaningful way. It’s about creating content that your customer needs, not what you want to produce. There is a huge difference.