Your Marketing Content Sucks!adminComments off.
Sorry to hit you in the forehead right off the bat – I’m not aiming the title of this blog at you. This is about my experience(s)…if you happen to share them…well, that’s probably not just coincidence!
Your marketing content sucks! I’ve been on both sides of the table for this one. As VP of Sales who built and ran national sales teams for early stage technology companies, our marketing teams just couldn’t seem to capture the key value propositions of our product. Of course, my sales team would bring back a different perspective after each prospect meeting, as did the sales engineers. The result was sales and marketing were never aligned, and my sales team spent a lot of time customizing presentations, collateral, case studies, etc. to compensate. The Content Marketing Institute tells us on average, 20% of sales people’s time is spent creating their own content and materials.
As a VP of Marketing, my sales teams would complain that the content we were producing just wasn’t resonating. “It’s too technical, it doesn’t express why we’re different, are we really best in class(ugh), the demo doesn’t do what the website says.”
Sales: “Look at what our competitors are saying!”
Marketing: “Can we meet with some customers?”
Sales: “You should see the presentation Bob created for our prospect meeting!”
Marketing: “Can you guys update the CRM system so we can see pipeline activity?”
Sales: “What does Gartner say?”
Marketing: “We need more win/loss reviews!”
Sales: “You guys don’t understand our products!”
Marketing: “You guys don’t know how to sell!”
I’m going to address this issue from the marketing side of the table. Marketing is being asked to integrate deeper and deeper into the sales cycle – to nurture, engage, and build rapport with prospects via engaging content. This is a dramatic change that many marketing organizations are struggling with: for some of us, it’s the first time in our careers we’re being held directly accountable for pipeline activity deeper than top-of-the-funnel awareness. We’re being asked to be thought leaders…wait, well no, that’s not it…we’ve got to convey commercial insights…also, what is our customer’s path to purchase…how fast can we shift to Account Based Marketing…let’s A/B test these new messaging concepts next week…oh, and can you create buyer profiles?
The fact is, the B2B product purchasing process has changed…and our marketing processes must adapt. Whether the percentage is 40%, 50%, 60%…we know customers are self-educating before they engage vendors. And we know on an average there are 5 – 7 people who influence product purchase decisions…some of whom we never interact with directly during the sales process. So, if marketing fails to connect with meaningful and differentiated value positioning throughout the prospect discovery, education and evaluation process:
• Prospects will assign value to your products on their own
• Fewer Marketing Qualified Leads – sales will have to sort through lots of pipeline noise
• Cost of customer acquisition will be extremely high
• Sales becomes the personalization vehicle
• Prospects will drive price matching from the start
• Channels will quickly become disinterested…or tell you deep discounting is required
Creating unique product/services messaging is exceptionally difficult. In fact, the probability of you providing the same answer as your customers to the question ‘what’s the number 1 reason customers chose your product’ is 6.1%. Marketers usually don’t have direct visibility to specific decision maker, influencer, and user value perspectives…and most don’t have the budget or resources to perform comprehensive, quantitative research.
Let’s step back a minute and think about the origins of most technology product content, which is the essential expression of value and difference we marketers need to communicate. Several times in my career as the senior marketing leader, one of my first charters was to tune up our product messaging. It’s just not resonating, I’m told. We need to better express our commercial value, we don’t present value to the business buyers, the product does 5 more things than we represent on our website, our competitor’s product is far inferior to ours, but they keep winning…
OK, I say – who do I talk to learn about our products? Well, start with the engineers, then the chief architect, of course the product development team, and Bill – he’s the sales guy who owns our 3 best customers (who btw is somewhat reluctant to put marketing in front of his customers).
What’s wrong with this picture????
Nearly every input we marketers get is from insiders; full of the bias, pride and conceit (and rightly so!) of the people who believe with absolute fervency in the superiority of their products. Our job is to take those inputs with maybe a small sample of customer touch points, and we start down the path of insightful product message development. There are high hopes all around!
The reality is that with the many voices contributing to our product value propositions (all well-intentioned – we all want to win!), a good deal of marketing’s time is spent curating input, arbitrating ideas, mollifying the most powerful voices…and in the end, likely settling on something that’s watered down, functionally oriented, and a bit generic.
YOUR MARKETING CONTENT SUCKS! YEAH, NO WONDER!
At BeMarketDo, we are flipping the product marketing content process upside down (or more specifically, outside / in). Our mission is to help marketers take the subjective, internal perspectives and blend them with the quantitative voice of customer insights. We believe, in the end, the only relevant content is what your customers think is relevant! And until now, a systematic approach to capturing a broad, yet granular swath of customer perspectives – both personal and functional, has not existed. Enter BeMarketDo! Our analytics-driven process of drawing out individual value perspectives – both personal and functional – is a game changer for marketers. We deliver product value insights that sales teams will love!
Thanks for your time and interest…more to come!Posted in: Blog