Information is power, and that’s exactly what marketers are worried about. Customers with unbridled access to online answers DO have more power. They can check out competitors, compare prices and browse for customer reviews.
A recent study by Oracle and The Aberdeen Group on “The CMO Dilemma” reports 55 percent of marketers find it challenging that customers have access to such a wealth of information about the products and services they’re going up against.
Business professionals aren’t paranoid. Buyers are confirming this behavior:
25% of B2B tech buyers reads 6-8 assets before making a purchase decision
48% of B2B tech buyers read between 2-5 pieces of content during their consideration process
People are conducting due diligence with earnest. They are no longer leaning on sales representatives to be the experts who will guide them to the right choice for their needs. They want all the information (and often none of the consultation), so they can assess their options independently. Only after sifting through product specs and whittling their options down to a short list will prospective customers ask for support.
What’s the solution to information overload? Take your content to the next level
By 2015, most companies know content marketing is a ‘must have.’ Just before the start of 2014, The Content Marketing Institute reported over 80 percent of companies engaged in content marketing.
40% of marketing professionals struggle to generate enough content for cross-channel customer conversations
Marketers understand that without any content to publish and promote, they can kiss their search rankings and brand awareness goodbye. However, their efforts still seem to be falling short.
The people surveyed for “The CMO Dilemma” say that outside of competing to get their messages heard in the sea of content, their other top challenges are:
Generating enough content for cross-channel customer conversations (40%)
Having enough budget to execute their ideal marketing strategies (23%)
To stand out in today’s marketplace, companies need to go beyond creating content for content’s sake.
Diversity and specificity must be at the heart of everything content marketing asset
There must be purpose behind every blog post, case study, infographic and video. Marketers need to know (with confidence) how each asset fits into their broader strategies, what goals it supports, which channels it’s designed for and who it is targeting.
Of course, this level of content marketing sophistication – at scale – requires time and money. Marketers who need bigger budgets to bring their grand plans to life will have to get buy-in from their executive teams, which can be a challenge (see ideas for doing this successfully here and here). In the end, they’ll find it’s well-worth the added investment.
Content isn’t a silver bullet for all marketing woes. But a thoughtful and value-focused strategy will help businesses reach target audiences before competitors and empower prospects with the best information about their products and services.