Like Bruce Lee?s ?art of fighting without fighting
,? there's a similar art to selling without selling. For those who master it, sales can be driven, customers can be acquired, and actions can be influenced with little to no need for aggressive persuasion. This art, more commonly known as content marketing, makes prospects feel a sense of involvement with a brand - as opposed to being targeted for a transaction. Case in point: when Ann Handley
shared the MarketingProfs & CMI 2013 B2B Content Marketing Report
with me, I was already sold on repurposing and promoting the study before even reading the document. Why? Because, I know MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute
rule content from the content they produce, and to feel involved - even in a small way - with such well established brands seemed more like a privilege than an exchange. That's the power of content marketing in action, and now, after seeing the role of content marketing quantified in the report, it's clear that in B2B - and marketing in general, effective content flourishes when fostering involvement through value and interaction. Here's why:
Interactivity in Content is a Challenge:
In the words of SnapApp's CEO Seth Lieberman, ?Content offers the single most valuable way to engage, acquire and retain customers - period.?? Maybe that's why it should come as no surprise that the biggest challenge to marketers, according to the CMI / Profs Study, is producing enough content. As 88% of marketers are confidently invested in content marketing - 54% of which are even planning to increase their investment - the value of content marketing is really beyond question.?However, with ?producing the kind of content that engages? noted as the second biggest challenge to marketers, a broader challenge of quickly and effectively incorporating interactivity into content becomes apparent
But Marketers Want Interactive Content:
Whether marketers are actually aware of it or not, there is a clear preference for interactive content marketing tactics. As Lieberman goes on to say, ?What people are now seeing is that not all content is created equal. Interactive content is-- by all measures-- the most effective. ??The study reveals that the most common content marketing tactic employed by 87% of respondents is the use of social media (apart from blogs). What's more, the tactic believed to be most effective by those surveyed is also undeniably the most interactive: in-person events. This trend is also supported by the rise of gamification, mobile content, and branded content tools as other prominent tactics.
So Interactive Content Can Foster Involvement:
Little by little, content marketing is moving away from ego-centric performance indicators like likes, shares, comments, tweets, etc. toward more meaningful measures like customer retention rates, net promoter scores, referral traffic, profile completeness and value of - or return on ?relationship. With more than 80% of marketers on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and most programs averaging at least five social media channels in use overall, the online market for valuable information is already saturated, but that leaves the door wide open for differentiation though equally valuable and measurable interactions. Through interactive content like polls and surveys, marketers can directly gauge their audiences? needs, wants and behaviors. Through quizzes and personality tests, marketers can qualify potential leads or guide potential prospects to relevant products. The dynamic nature of interactive content makes the people who experience it feel tangibly involved in the content, but also, (as the data can be used for further business and marketing decisions) involved in the brand itself as well.
From the results of the content marketing study, and from overall marketing practices, it's clear that content is here to stay, but it's still a developing art. If we were to agree that content marketing 1.0 was what anointed content as king, then content 2.0 will be what establishes involvement as the power with which content rules?
Curious about how you can incorporate the power of involvement through interactive content into your marketing efforts? Contact us today!