Your Customers Don’t Want Your Marketing, They Want Your Innovation! (Part 1)

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” ― James C. Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Good to Great was published back in 2001; however, I believe the quote above still serves as an overall guide for marketing organizations’ need to create innovation in driving a new discipline for developing and improving your marketing system. The Content Marketing Institute defines Content marketing as: “The marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” This definitely serves as a solid foundation for a customer-focused content marketing plan.

In fact, I believe it can be very simple to transform your thinking about creating and executing effective content marketing.  It’s now 2017 – Happy New Year! The next generation of marketing is upon us this year, which means something other than your existing marketing framework needs to drive your content marketing/management systems. This should be a new ‘framework’ of customer engagement rather than a patchwork content approaches. Specifically, you should avoid the approach of creating a strategic plan vetting it out resulting in a tactical plan that defines your marketing plan for the next year…which are tactics. I’m suggesting that your strategic and tactical plans need to give way for a customer plan that includes a specific method for engaging your customer through quality content, engagement and overall value. In order for all of us to be successful, it’s still required that this new system of engagement includes multiple channels and platforms both new and old, using multi-channel marketing constructs and plans (we all know this). However, the change to enable is innovation driving how we approach this strategic area of marketing in 2017 and beyond, creating a meaningful and powerful strategic marketing plan.

As Good to Great explains, the difference between failure and success is often a very small and small strategic changes in the content marketing framework will lead to success. Good is the enemy of great and the focus on tactics are the enemy of great content for customer engagement. The core of the current problem in creating and implementing your content marketing is the system of beliefs that content marketing is a task, tactic or strategy. This leads to the analgesic excuse of “At least we’re doing something” – on the contrary this should be new innovation transforming how you engage with your key customers! Content marketing is implemented successfully as an innovation in your system of marketing not in simply creating content as you would a tactic or a marketing plan.

What is meant by innovation is that your marketing approach needs to emphasize the importance of systemic connectivity to your customers and new organizational capabilities. We all know that the successful content marketing system is a success when you are not only able to engage and interact with your target audience but drive profitable customer action. Nonetheless, despite the fact that there has been progress in the direction of content marketing, especially in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, the predominant logic of just creating content without a content management framework still remains one of the primary reasons leading to failure. Unfortunately, the primary focus of attention continues to be just the creation of content and ‘Marketing’ rather than customer-value approaches.

This year, as CMI’s recent B2B report for the year showed, content marketing was heavily on the uptrend in 2016 and our new approach for success is all something we need to master in 2017! In case you don’t get a chance to read the CMI report, here are some highlights:

  • A whopping 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
  • Interestingly enough, though, not everyone is using strategy and documentation efficiently – this went down by 8% this year.
  • The most effective marketers allocate 42% of their total marketing budgets to content.
  • 79% of the most effective marketers have clarity regarding the success of their content marketing.
  • 31% of marketers report that sales lead quality is the most important metric they use.

Finally, if we can agree that content marketing really needs to be a systemic task of innovation rather than just content, there are 2 important next steps:

1.     Analyze Your Failure: Determine your content problem (the ‘beast’) which will lead to your plan of attack, utilizing a new content management framework for success.

2.     Create the new Paradigm: Providing innovation and quality content for and not ‘to’ your customers.

What do you think? – I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment or reach out to me. Part 2 is coming Soon: “Innovating Your Content Marketing System” Follow @neilkeene.

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