Jay Baer is on a tear calling out marketers for their incessant whining about Facebook’s decline in organic reach, otherwise known as “Reachpocolypse”.
Of course, we know that all social media platforms are moving this way, as they seek to make money for their public investors. Pretty soon, you’ll have to pay for any reach in social media, unless you are really putting out killer content all the time. Because of this, social media is fast losing its cred as the cool, innovative way to do marketing that involves “creating a conversation” and “building relationships”. It has now become just another media platform that you look at in your media spend mix similar to traditional media or a digital content site.
This suits the social media platforms just fine. They want your media spend where your big budgets are and not your little “social media” budget. They don’t want you to think of them as anything “special”. As soon as you do, they no longer get your media budget. They want to show you how they are a more optimal way to spend media than anything else. Marketer mentality is changing in that direction with the advent of programmatic buying based on cold, hard data against which social media is increasingly delivering. As marketers become increasingly sophisticated with predictive analytics, customer journey modeling, and automatic trigger based marketing, social media will become increasingly automatic for marketers.
In my previous blog post, I discussed the new customer buying process and its impact on marketing. This new process gives rise to a different, content driven marketing funnel as shown below.
Customers discover brand content when they begin researching solutions to their pain points. From here, they eventually land on the brand’s owned content platforms where brands use technology and constant streams of frequently updated content to keep customers coming back. Customers then engage with the brand’s experts around the content and execute an online sale or lead when they are ready. This process massively scales marketing costs.
In my previous blog post, I discussed the importance of customers discovering your digital content ecosystem and staying in it. In this blog post, I discuss how this ecosystem should work and its impact on ROI.
In your content ecosystem, customers should be seeing constant streams of content. They should be able to engage with your experts when needed. And, they should always have the opportunity to convert whether that means an online sale or lead. The content should be mostly focused on solving pain points verses what you sell.
When you have this content engine running, you massively scale costs. In the olden days, you created content a few times a quarter and oriented your spend around defined “campaigns”. You spend money, get customers, get a spike in activity, and then they go away and you have to do it all again for your next campaign. You spend dollars each time to reacquire customers.
With your digital content engine in place, you see totally different economics. Customers keep coming back to see new content without you having to spend money to acquire them each time. As well, they share the content and new people come into the ecosystem without incremental marketing spend.
When you do have a “campaign”-like activity, you can go back to an existing set of people who know and love you because you have helped them with great content. They give you permission to sell to them.
Developing a digital marketing strategy involves reacting to macro and micro customer behavioral changes on the web. So, beginning from this first principle, why all the hype around inbound marketing?
In the old world, when B2B customers had a problem, they contacted the sales rep of the brands they trusted. Those sales reps, equipped with extensive training, asked the right questions to uncover the problem in detail and then mapped their solution to the customer need. However, digital has changed all this. When B2B customers now have a problem, they start on Google and social. Google and social are your new company home pages. In fact, data from CEB shows that customers are 57% of the way down their buying journey before they engage a brand. During that time, they are self-nurturing mostly in digital. Google’s recent changes around surfacing long form content, implementing authorship, giving results based on user intent, and devaluing press release links are in exact reaction to this changing behavior.
Your main goal is to have customers self-nurture with you by making sure they land in your content ecosystem and stay in it. So, if you don’t have a robust, high volume and high quality content strategy and if you are not using digital marketing technologies (DMPs, Marketing Automation, Personalization, CMS, 1:1) and analytics to keep customers with you, you will miss the big deals.
Most B2B brands are woefully unprepared for this new world, relying too much on their expensive sales teams to hunt for deals, producing too few early stage thought leadership pieces and too many tactical late stage pieces, not thinking about their social strategy, measuring everything based on immediate ROI, and not implementing the right technology and analytics tools.
I am the Chief Marketing Officer of Dun & Bradstreet. In this role, I run all marketing globally including brand, demand generation, digital, communications, PR, AR, operations, channel, events, sales enablement, corporate social responsibility, and product marketing.