Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Content Marketing Imperative

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By L ‘Subu’ Subramanyan, CEO & Founder, Trivone Digital Services

 

With the explosion of unstructured content (read social media conversations, chats, blogs (including this one)), there is a real need to filter out the signal from the noise.

Oftentime, particularly in the B2B context, I am asked “we are a B2B company with a finite addressable market. So do we really need a Content Marketing strategy”? The answer, unfortunately is a resounding YES.

“The ‘surplus society’ has a surplus of similar companies, employing similar people, with similar educational backgrounds, working in similar jobs, coming up with similar ideas, producing similar things, with similar prices and similar quality.”

Kjell Nordstrom and Jonas Ridderstrale,
 Funky Business

If the above is indeed true, then most companies, including those that are selling to Businesses as against consumer have an equally challenging situation, if not higher. Take the case of the Indian IT Services market.. Everybody calls ‘Legacy Transformation’ as one.. Application Maintenance Services as one and so on and so forth. There is no differentiation, nothing to suggest that one company’s offering is superior to another.. The only thing that is different is the calling card.. and the perceived brand value of the enterprise, not the service. While that may have worked in the past, that it will work similarly in the future is highly uncertain.

On the other hand, every single company that I know of has humongous amount of unstructured content and wisdom that is hidden presently. There are conversations that happen, solutions that are proposed, business problems that are analysed within the company. Outside the company, their customers are chatting, Facebooking (if that is an acceptable term), tweeting and spending a large part of their professional and personal lives interacting with other communities. Given that the addressable market is finite, it should be a cinch for the Services companies to deploy listening tools and map the prospect or a customer to understand them better. Right? Wrong!

While we may pride ourselves as the digital solution providers to the rest of the world, our own adoption of digital solutions is less than significant. There is still a huge reliance on the traditional marketing and Direct sales route, which are expensive and time consuming. On the other hand, most of the Services companies that I have met, still work with the decade old case study formats, White Papers which have so much of jargon that even a CIO would faint, have absolutely very little business use cases and are struggling to deal with the digital content explosion within their own enterprises.

 

That has to change and fast. The days of writing a template case study are over. If you really want to get your customer’s attention, tell her a story, not tech mumbo jumbo.. that she knows. She wants to know how you will change her (and her customer’s) life for the better. Get your business use cases out.. how have you transformed some business problem (you could have used technology or done a pole dance, it doesn't matter, really) for some peer in the industry. A good story will be remembered. If you are not economical with truth and have your data right, she will ask to meet you.

And above all, don't be bashful. Don't cringe from the melodrama… all stories have them. Don't you like a good well made ad? Then why would you assume that your customer won’t like a well written real-life story that she can connect with? Why in the blazes would a B2B case study be sterile and dry? Who set those rules? The suits, right? And these are the same suits who would fight the last creative director for what they think is a good creative ad?

Use videos. Regularly.. they may be a mite expensive but their payoff is generally very very high.. remember the old saying  “a picture is worth…? It is right. A moving picture is worth a heck of a lot more. No wonder the motion picture industry has survived every recession thrown at them worldwide. A slick video telling a story will get passed around.. add a dash of humor.. it normally works.

And if you still don't believe me, ok go back to your historical tools.. you will soon be  a part of history anyway.

 

Category: B2B, Content Marketing