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What Demand Gen Needs to Know About Content Marketing

December 13, 2018 - Content Marketing, Practitioner Marketing - , , ,
By: Chris Riley

Numbers are king. Especially if you are in a demand generation or digital marketing role. Visits, clicks, and registrations are the metrics your job lives and dies by. But you can’t do that without having the right ad copy and destinations for your campaigns. That is where product marketing and content get involved. While at times it seems like content is just the substrate you operate on, the quality and nature of the content matters, and will impact your ability to drive numbers.

Content is not just a destination for a digital marketing campaign. It is what determines the value of the calls-to-action and the leads that come from them. When marketing to technical audiences, what happens after the click is extremely important, and it will impact your ability to drive more traffic in the future. Here is what you need to know about content marketing:

  1. Your relationship with the market impacts your KPIs long-term: Getting quick-hit metrics from campaigns is not terribly difficult. But if the quality of those metrics is low, the long-term impact of reaching out to the wrong people or negative experiences in the buyer journey will result in prospects with a negative impression of future campaigns, and you nick at your results over time. Techies remember bad experiences all too well, and when your ad pops up in the future, if they had a bad experience, they will ignore you straightaway. It’s critical to meet their expectations.
  2. Good content campaign alignment will improve your relationship with Sales: Sales is your friend. You might not like the team personally, but their ability to succeed directly impacts your ability to do the things you want to do. It’s cliché for demand gen and sales teams to not get along well. The reason is because low-quality leads come in, sales blames marketing for not being able to close them, and marketing responds with numbers. Think of content marketing as a natural filter of quality. Higher-quality content provides more value to the target audience. By providing more value, the quality of the leads that come in from campaigns is better — which means happier salespeople, less time wasted on silly arguments and PowerPoint slides, and more money!
  3. Ads backfire when not tied to something of value: A campaign might drive good traffic, but it might also drive unwanted public feedback. Techies will tell you when your assets or blog content are weak. They will do it very publicly. So unless negative sentiment is also a KPI, make sure your content destinations are strong.
  4. Afterthought content is more work for you: Instead of chasing down content for a campaign, lead with it. Let product marketing tell you what stellar content already exists. (If they don’t have a runway, tell them to contact us, of course.) Make sure there is a runway of assets to support future campaigns, because when you waste time chasing down content, it’s more work for you. And if you have the content in hand in advance, your campaign copy will be better aligned, and so will the overall performance.
  5. Provide value, get registrations: Techies will give their email and name, and probably not much more, for content they see as valuable. Both Evans Data and Slash Data prove this over and over again in their research. By having better content alignment with your campaign, you will have a better chance of providing something they perceive as valuable; thus, you’ll see more registrations.

Okay — a content-first approach to demand generation and digital marketing might sacrifice quantity of activity a little bit. But it’s a small price to pay when the end result is better leads, more conversations, and better brand perception for future campaigns.

Content is the demand generation professional’s best friend, and working closely with your product marketing team to make sure you have a library of assets, blog content, and technical market tutorials is going to benefit not just you, but the entire organization.


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Chris Riley (@HoardingInfo) is a technologist who has spent 12 years helping organizations transition from traditional development practices to a modern set of culture, processes and tooling. In addition to being a research analyst, he is an O’Reilly author, regular speaker, and subject matter expert in the areas of DevOps strategy and culture. Chris believes the biggest challenges faced in the tech market are not tools, but rather people and planning.

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