The Role of Content in Customer Engagement
November 26, 2012
Long before businesses even realize they have a problem, they will have been engaged by a company that could provide them with a solution. You can do that by utilizing relevant, trustworthy content that leaves a mark and establishes your brand as a solution to a problem, rather than simply a product or service provider.
Content has become a crucial part of every modern marketing campaign precisely because it gives organizations a way to engage prospects, even if they aren’t currently interested in whatever the business has to offer. For example, a company may have read a relevant white paper that identified industry trends or received an informational email newsletter because this content was of interest of them, not because they wanted to buy your products or services.
This trend continues into the sales cycle. Rather than relying on the word of salespeople, businesses are increasingly performing their own due diligence on solutions to the problems they face. Content becomes even more paramount in this step of the process, as a recent survey conducted by IDG Enterprise suggesting that as many as eight informational assets are downloaded by businesses during the purchase research phase. Among enterprise organizations, that number jumps to 10, highlighting the increased relevance of content to these companies.
There are stages in which content plays a vital role in the sales cycle. Early on, decision makers look to assess business needs, and articles about trends and strategies may be the best way to engage them. Then, decision makers will begin look at specific products and services – online reviews and product literature could impact this stage. Finally, case studies can be use to show higher ups why a product or service is worth the investment.
The fact of the matter is that content is a valuable component throughout the decision-making process and is pivotal to lead nurturing. According to the IDG Enterprise white paper, the average decision maker in the IT industry needs to have consumed at least five pieces of relevant content before they are ready to engage with a sales representative. Even then, 60 percent said they interacted with two pieces of content before engaging a sales representative.
What Makes Content So Effective
Many businesses consider this “evergreen” content to be more trustworthy than sales pitches and other traditional engagement approaches. Case studies, white papers and various types of collateral are generally created under the auspice of being unbiased, whereas salespeople are clearly motivated by trying to convert leads into buyers.
Another reason decision-makers trust content is because of the way they receive it. For example, 57 percent of IT decision-makers told IDG that they share interesting media with their work-related connections through social networks and community sites. Sharing valuable content is a great way to create brand evangelists who will share you content with their trusted network, further extending brand trust.
Content is a valuable part of any marketing campaign because it helps businesses engage prospects without seeming overeager or pushy. It establishes a company as a thought leader within its industry and as an organization that businesses would want to go to. However, it’s still crucial that organizations are delivering this content to the right consumer at the right time and through the right channel, and distributed marketing automation platforms can help ensure your collateral is reaching the right audience.