Once a year, marketers across the U.S. converge on Minneapolis for Confab Central to get the latest content marketing news, trends, ideas, networking, and some pretty delicious cake.
At Leadous, content marketing plays a big role in the companies we work for. With any well-executed marketing automation strategy, content is going to be the fuel that drives it. We love to help companies re-evaluate an existing content library or sometimes even build a new one from scratch that speaks directly to their audience.
So we were pretty excited to get the opportunity to hear from some of our fellow marketers and strategists on what’s working well for their businesses and bring some of those insights back for you to apply to your content strategy! Here it is, four things we learned at Confab Central:
1. Customer centricity isn’t just a buzzword
Gerry McGovern, founder and CEO of Customer Carewords, proclaimed that we are leaving the “age of the organization” and entering the “age of the customer.” And we couldn’t agree more!
Today, companies that succeed are centering their marketing strategies on how the customer wants to interact and buy from their organizations. So when you’re building an email campaign, updating a web page, or even starting from scratch with a brand new marketing automation strategy, the customer should always be top of mind. One way to practice this is to do a lot of audience research. What problem are your customers trying to solve by going to you? What research can you do to make sure that they’re having a good experience with your company’s website, emails, or content?
2. We should probably update our LinkedIn profiles to mind readers
As marketers, often we have to “read minds”. When other teams ask us for information or help on projects, we have to tease out the right information to get to a finished email or brochure that solves the business problem AND everyone will be happy with. Librarian, Anne Haines, is often in this situation as well. She gave us some helpful things to keep in mind when fielding requests across departments.
First, understand the situation. Get background on what the requestor is looking for and why. Second, find the gaps. What is it that they know and what is it that they don’t know? This helps to ensure you’re “speaking the same language” when coming up with a solution. Third, find out the use. What does the salesperson want to do with a new brochure? What deal will it support? The more you know about the applied end goal, the more you can help direct what you need to get there!
3. Content strategy is an iterative process, not just a deliverable
It’s easy to think of content strategy as a one and done. It’s a deliverable to show our bosses, the sales team and then execute. But more often than not, content strategy is an iterative process that documents what you have, how it’s doing and what you need. Content is the fuel that drives the marketing automation engine, and you need to constantly be refueling and performing maintenance checks to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Getting this sequence right can be tricky, and there are a lot of players involved from sales to marketing to senior leadership. If you’d like more information on executing a better content marketing and automation strategy, you may want to get started with an M2S Audit! Find out more here.
4. Content as an asset
What’s the cost if you had no brochure, no website, or no lead generating e-books or lists or infographics? Content has real value, including monetary, when it comes to increasing sales through a marketing automation program or reducing calls to customer support for example.
As marketers, it’s our job to help reframe content as an asset, to bring out its true strategic power. When your company starts to rethink of content as an asset, you start to see a deep audience alignment between how well-crafted content can connect with your audience and fulfill your business goals.
Those were four, of many, many takeaways we gleaned from Confab Central this year. If you’d like to talk more about making the most of these content and marketing trends, we’re more than happy to chat with you.