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Get Content Out of the Marketing Box!

In your organization, who is in charge of content marketing? Who lays out the content map? Who is in charge of blogging? Chances are it is solely left up to marketing. That’s wasteful and wrong. Here’s why.

Unless we’ve been living under a rock, we’ve all heard the admonition that content marketing, particularly blogging, should be done for the people, not to the people. That is perfectly correct. Our messages should reach out and pull in clients and customers by being helpful in their hour of need or throughout their decision making process. Now for a really tough question: Who in your organization knows best what your target audience is searching for, what objections possible buyers will have to overcome before they pull the trigger and how customers use your products and services after they buy? It’s probably not the marketing people. I know I’m going to get a lot of arrows aimed at my back and bounties placed on my head, but hear me out. I’m not taking anything away from the duties and knowledge of marketers. They are needed to be the creative ones who know how to promote your company. But who is on the front lines day in and day out talking with buyers and customers? It’s not marketing. It’s sales and customer service. A Juicy Story to Ponder Long ago from a far away land a client came to me and wanted blogs, web copy, white papers and ebooks. Typical of most clients, the person who reached out was from the marketing department. My first question was, “Do you have a content map?”

“Oh yes! We’ve outlined our buyer personas and figured out a list of segmented topics.” Upon it’s arrival it looked pretty good…well thought out and complete…better than most. But for my own understanding I had a few questions the marketing person couldn’t directly answer, so we arranged for a conference call with one of the sales people who knew the aspects of their product really well.

An Almost Missed Opportunity While on the call the sales person gladly gave me what I needed, but went on to say that the technical question I raised for my own research and understanding was actually their biggest pre-sale hurdle for potential buyers. Customers always asked the same question. It was like the "monster under the bed" no one addressed. Hmmm….but that issue wasn’t on the list, addressed on their website or in their sales collateral. It was just something I wanted to know so I could write effectively. To get clarity about the answer that would help potential buyers I finally asked, “Well how do you explain this issue after a company has purchased your product?” Dumb me…I really opened a can of worms. Marketing didn’t know, and sales couldn’t say because, “…those types of calls are handled by Customer Service. Talk to them.” I did…and got an earful. The person from customer service knew exactly what problems were common with product users, what language customers used when calling in their complaints (the repeatable kind) and with her experience knew exactly how to put a customer’s mind at ease.

This was huge! Together we discovered:

  1. A common problem that was not talked about on the content map…

  2. A solution not highlighted that could now stave off a ton of buyer objections before the sale and customer service issues afterward…

  3. Positioned in common language that potential buyers all had running through their minds before and after the purchase.

But I’m not done. From newly written and tested blogs we came up with new sales collateral that addressed this topic up front…and really made it a deal maker in the field. Customer service also noticed a drop in complaints because the question had been addressed up front. Everyone in the organization was happy, happy, happy! Moral of the Story: Content Maps and Blogs Need To Come Out of the “Marketing Only” Box. Everyone should have a stake in their creation.

So since this Bedtime Story brought to light a greater opportunity to help the entire organization, I’ve made the following practices standard:

  • At some point early on, get marketing, sales and customer service in on the development of content maps and blog messages.

  • If there are online demos record them and then watch them multiple times, write down critical questions viewers ask while in the demo, and ask questions yourself after the demo. Pinpoint gaps in understanding. If there is existing sales collateral, ask for copies and pass them around to other members of the team. Then ask the sales person, "Which aspects help, which need to be stronger?", and how they use the collateral.

  • Customer service should be able to tell you the weak points in the process, so ask, “What would you like customers to know before they called you?"

The Benefits Not only will your content marketing strategy and blog messages be on target and helpful to customers, it can enhance the efforts of everyone in your organization if you take marketing out of its box. In addition, walls will be torn down.

  1. Sales will appreciate marketing’s effort to make their jobs easier,

  2. Marketing will have a better understanding of how they can help the sales process, and...

  3. Customer service can provide valuable insights into how to approach new customers by reverse engineering the current customer. This eliminates many problems they’re having.

Let me ask the question again: In your organization, who is in charge of content marketing? Who lays out the content map? Who is writing the blogs? Is that the way it should be?

Need help with your content map and blogs? Sometimes it's easier to bring in an

impartial party to get the ball rolling and chair the discussion. Contact me if you'd like help in getting blogs and other collateral out of the "marketing only" box.

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