Content Marketing World 2013’s B2B Greatest Hits

I wanted to pull together a post about the themes I noted at this year’s Content Marketing World, the content marketing super-event in Cleveland, OH September 9-11. All in all, another great year — it just goes to show that when the show-runners are an organization focused on recognizing and creating quality content they are likely to have access to some of the most interesting and creative speakers on the circuit. This is the show I look forward to every year.

I pulled from my Twitter stream, as I was not shy about sharing the ideas and thoughts that made an impression on me, so here are my self-selected “greatest hits” from #CMW13:

Know Your Audience

This came up quite a bit, in presentations from Robert Rose, Ardath Albee, our own Carlos Hidalgo, and others. If your metrics for success are based on volume (clicks, downloads, views, likes, etc.) then you might not be serving your pipeline and revenue goals. It doesn’t matter how many people see your content if they are not part of the core audience you are trying to reach – i.e. those individuals and companies that have the problems you are trying to solve. Here are the tweets:

Don’t worry that there are only 10 downloads, worry that the right 10 people downloaded it. #CMWorld

Likes and followers don’t build a brand. Good content does. Don Schultz #cmworld

It’s OK to do a webinar for 10 people. As long as they are the right 10 people. Don’t worry about pleasing everybody. #CMWorld

You Have Created Some Great Content. Now What?

Totally agree, distribution can be just as big a problem as creation @jchernov #CMWorld

Sat in on Joe Chernov’s session sharing the advanced technologies and tools we use to share our content – slides are actually posted here. Similar to a content project I worked on with the Content Marketing Institute last year (slideshare here), but much more detailed in its descriptions and recommendations. Bottom line is that content strategy, content marketing, inbound marketing have been around for a while. There are a lot of B2Bs that are doing a really great job of creating the right kind of quality content. What happens next? How do you get it out there? Could/should be a track of its own next year.

The Black Hole In The Middle of the Funnel

How top-heavy is your content arsenal? Is the focus disproportionately geared towards lead gen and not nurture or customer retention?…

If you are doing your job right, you are going to capture leads. Eventually your content marketing strategy is going to yield some fruit, and your database will grow. How are you going to support the needs of this segment of your audience? The things that appeal to people who are just beginning the buying process are not the same as the things that the more engaged and advanced prospects want to engage with. What is your strategy to help move them along? If it is more of the same stuff that caught their eye in the beginning, they are going to move on to your competitors that seem more in tune with their needs.

There is a fine line between stalking and nurturing … @cahidalgo #CMWorld

Do you re-introduce yourself to your prospects with every email? Don’t they know you yet?  @cahidalgo #CMWorld

Technology Is Not A Solution

People, Process, Content and Technology. There is a reason technology comes last. @cahidalgo #CMWorld

So many companies use the implementation process of their marketing tools to dictate how they operate, who they market to, how they communicate with their audience. Technology is a tool, not a solution. As marketers we need to do a better job of shaping the technologies we use to fit our strategy. It shouldn’t be the other way around.

You Have Already Sold To Your Most Important Audience

Ardath Albee’s session on customer marketing was a highlight of the show. Don’t ever underestimate the value of a happy customer. Your content (and marketing) strategies absolutely, positively need to focus on keeping your customers happy and supporting their needs. How much did you spend to land them as customers? How much will you lose if they leave? How many people will they tell if you serve them as partners? How many will they tell if they are unhappy?

Customers become advocates, advocates create referrals, referrals generate leads @ardath421 #cmworld

Customer retention is about helping your customers find more value than they originally expected @ardath421 #cmworld 

Tactics vs. Strategy

Deciding which tactics you are going to use next quarter is NOT a strategy @cahidalgo #CMWorld

Carlos Hidalgo spoke to the mistake so many B2B companies make, confusing tactical decisions with strategic ones. Deciding which pieces you will create is not a strategy – understanding why you need to create them and who they will serve needs to drive content (and demand generation, lead management, lead nurturing) decisions.

Account-Based Marketing

Closely tied to the “knowing your audience” ideas mentioned earlier, this relates more closely to B2B. Shouldn’t your content strategy be designed to serve your customers, or the companies that are most likely to become customers? You don’t need to compromise or be all things to all people…you just need to focus on the companies that fit your target profiles.

Your new customers will look a lot like your existing customers @ardath421 #cmworld

Account-based marketing focuses resources on the companies most likely to become revenue @ardath421 #CMWorld

Some One-Off Thoughts and Practical Tips To Round Out the Week

You can’t be afraid of the “big fat fail” if you want to create something special. @Mildenhall #CMWorld

86% of the benefits that you think are “unique” to your product or service are not perceived that way by your prospects @cahidalgo #CMWorld

Don’t make it hard to access and consume your content. It defeats the purpose of creating it in the first place. @cahidalgo #CMWorld

Author: Jason Stewart @jstewart_1 is VP Demand Generation, ANNUITAS

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