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Customers are Giving us Permission to Create Better Content

Customers are Giving us Permission to Create Better Content

As a marketer you're under constant pressure to maintain current customers and find new customers. Your likely having to gather and present data to support that your efforts are effective. And you do all of this in the knowledge that there's a reasonable likelihood that, as Steven Pressfield famously wrote;

 

"nobody wants to read your shit" - http://bit.ly/nbdyrdsursht

Did you know that 75% of consumers are comfortable sharing personal information in order to improve their digital experience (Source: 2015 Adobe Corporation survey). This is an amazing statistic and it can be interpreted as a cry for quality by buyers and customers. There's certainly no shortage of content landing in people's Inbox each week and in recent years there's a 10x increase in the number of Inboxes - Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp etc. So, how will you ensure that, "people will read your shit?".

In any burning issue considered by your marketing team, the customer is rarely sitting at the table in the meeting room, whilst all the other parties are there, fired up and ready to go. Arguments can get tense, every one defends their own personal or functional interest, and it’s very easy to get sucked into making decisions that are about keeping things balanced internally.

Who's the Customer Champion in Your Team?

But who's the customer champion ? Who in your team will champion quality over quantity? Who will be the one to approach decisions on the basis that, we damn well better be making decisions based on, "how will we ensure they read our shit?".

One clear change that arises out of practicing customer advocacy, is that the marketing manager no longer stands as the aloof judge who will decide once all the stakeholders have had their say, but as an active advocate for customers:

  • How does this decision affect which customers?
  • How will this impact our relationship with them?
  • Are we pushing them to use an alternative – either competitor or another way to solve their problem – if we go for this or that option.

If the more powerful person in the room defends customer interests, gradually, the entire organization becomes more customer focused as key players are reminded that they are there for a purpose beyond pushing their immediate functional or political agendas.

Here's another amazing statistic. Close to 60% of B2B buyers are 65% through the funnel before they engage with a sales person. [Source: CEB 2016 survey] This means they have made their shortlist of 2 or 3 vendors from their own research, which is in effect their reading of your content.

80% of buyers prefer learning about a brand through content

And maybe I should apologize for yet another statistic, however I just have to table it. 80% of buyers prefer learning about a brand through content rather than advertising. [Source: Adobe Corporation 2016] This is really the most powerful number to endorse what I'm proposing. Fully 80% of people prefer to read and assess your communications and content rather than taking any notice of your advertising.

Marc S. Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Proctor & Gamble, said in 2016, "We thought that the best way to cut through the clutter in the digital age was to create more ads and change them constantly. We eventually concluded that as the world was getting louder, we were just adding to the noise. So we decided to stop the noise. We’ve made a choice to raise the bar on creativity."

So, will you stop adding to the noise?

So, will you do a P&G, stop adding to the noise and switch the focus to quality? When did you last audit your content template library against a measure of quality-of-content? Most companies either don't think about this at all or simply don't have the bandwidth. They're satisfied to keep pushing out the same tired material and formats. In psychology it's referred to as "escalation of commitment".

What is Escalation of Commitment? "A pattern of behavior in which an individual or group will continue to rationalize their decisions, actions, and investments when faced with increasingly ordinary outcomes, rather than alter their course".

I'm afraid that marketers generally have an ESCALATION OF COMMITMENT problem. As a group, marketers tend to stick to the good old ways of operating. There's been an investment in marketing templates over the years, perhaps even 10 or more years, and the company has systems that populate the content into those templates.

The 4 Rules

Here's 4 rules that might prompt you to seriously address the quantity vs. quality issue in your company.

Rule #1 - Customers are hummingbirds. You simply have to treat "Attention" like a resource.

‣ Attention is a finite resource

‣ Gaining attention is about being relevant

‣ Attention creates the possibility for behavior change

Rule #2 - Our relationship with data is often flawed. There's always two sides of data. You can choose how to interpret data to support the rationale for a decision. We all do it. The only view of data you need is how it explains and influences customer and prospect behavior.

Rule #3 - We don’t cheat. The tenure of U.S. CMOs fell in 2015 for the first time in a decade. This drop is a reflection on the general tendency for marketers to take shortcuts and their failure to focus on quality of content and probably, a lack of absolute truth in advertisements.

Rule #4 - NO lazy personalization. In 1982 NameOfUser@NameOfComputer. Today ! HEY {FIRST NAME}! There's just no excuse for lazy personalization. Reflect on that statistic I referenced - 75% of consumers are comfortable sharing personal information in order to improve their digital experience.

Expanding Sphere of Influence

As marketers we’re at our best, when we paint a brand masterpiece, clearing the highest bar of creative brilliance… Too often we produce barely ordinary content.

There are Clearly 2 Broad Types of Marketers - Which are you?

“Just get the messages out the door” Marketer, or

“Content QUALITY is King” Marketer

Article by Greg Twemlow, CEO, AIRDOCS Global - read more athttps://www.airdocs.io/

An accomplished CEO, I combine technical depth with business savvy and creative flair and an ability to think analytically.

Currently CEO of AIRDOCS Global, a one-stop Cloud solution for all digital and print forms of intelligent, personalized communications. If you want to treat every single customer with the personal care they deserve then we should talk.

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