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B2B Content Strategy Should Never Be a Wallflower

A B2B content marketing strategy should never be contained in a silo. First of all, to be literal, a silo is a dugout, cave or shelter for grain. Secondly, it denotes walls and barriers that keep its contents apart from everything else. A B2B content marketing strategy must lead somewhere. It should be based on a continuum that matches the needs of prospects and customers wherever they may be in the experience at any time.

The issue I see often, is that content marketing is an add-on to everything else that marketers have on their plates. It's viewed as a campaign, a project or a standalone initiaitve. A silo. This is in part related to the way marketers are wired. In the traditional sense, most of what marketers do has start and end dates and each effort is graded on its own merit (I'm using the word "merit" loosely).

How's our SEO strategy doing?

How many "leads" did that last campaign produce?

Did our webinar attendees increase for this topic?

How many followers did our Twitter account attract last month?

Is our web traffic growing?

Don't get me wrong, we need to measure and evaluate, but we need to quit using our metrics as boundaries that separate one initiative from another. To do this, we need to look at transitions and experiences across buying and the customer lifecycle.

An experience is a set of dynamic transitions that flow together. Until you step out of it or it ends.

When marketers focus on campaigns, they are instituting a construct that boxes in and ends the experience. Three email touches and a sales call, move on. This construct is for us, not related to anything our prospects or customers need, want or value. It was created so that we could manage and measure our efforts based on some ridiculous notion that a short-term campaign can definitively drive sales for a long-term buying process.

But I digress. The point I want to make is about the need to integrate transitions.

Channels are proliferating and marketers need to pay attention to the transitions between them. If your social media team isn't cognizant of your nurturing program, for example, how fluid will the experience be for a prospect or customer taking part in both?

If a buyer watches a video on your YouTube! channel and finds it fun and informative, then visits your website only to see a bunch of dry, product-focused content they find neither fun, nor informative, how will you overcome that disconnect? Or can you?

Often overlooked is the critical transition from marketing to sales. Marketers often plan their content strategy without ever sharing it with sales or - highly recommended - involving sales in its development. If the entire be all and end all of marketing is to help produce and grow customers, why the heck is this transition so overlooked?

It's time for marketing to stop producing more wallflowers and start creating the Belles of the Ball! You may laugh but the Belles of the Ball are sought out, followed and considered highly engaging. This will never happen if we don't integrate all of our marketing initiatives into our strategy and consider how to gain the benefits of dynamic experiences based on transitions.

I know this is difficult. If it was easy it wouldn't be near as much fun!

Take the first step by evaluating everything you're doing and discovering how to create better transitions that tell a story your audience finds engaging. Start connecting the dots. Just don't leave your content strategy sitting on the sidelines as just another project.


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More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

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