Content Marketing – Do you REALLY know your clients and prospects?

As I meet with clients across the country and we discuss marketing and sales growth strategies, I find that many truly don’t understand “who” their clients and prospects are. Don’t get me wrong, they absolutely understand what their target industries and who their key influencers are, but they really don’t “know” them. They don’t understand how they source and buy their products, what struggles they face in getting their job done everyday. Most importantly the really don’t understand why their clients or prospects choose them.  What their true value to their clients is, beyond the actual product or service.

Content Marketing – Many in the B2B / Manufacturing arena are beginning to embrace the power of the internet and how they can best engage the right types of prospects.  They are starting to use terms like “Content Marketing” or “Inbound Marketing”.  But there is presumption they just need to create content around their products and services and now they have a content strategy.  Unfortunately this won’t create an effective long term strategy for growing your business.

An effective content marketing strategy is designed to speak to your key influencers around helping them to be more effective in their job when it comes to their need for a product or service.  Okay, what does that mean??  Instead of selling your product or service, think further back to what are the problems or issues that your target influencers have that lead them to your product or service.

Maybe you sell resurfacing coatings for industrial floors.  An operations manager may be having a problem with the flooring in the mafuacturing area breaking down.  But he isn’t sure why it’s breaking down or how to fix it.  Instead of creating a flyer on how amazing your products are, instead you create a white paper on “5 Main Reasons for Industrial Flooring to Fail”.  Then you might create a follow up white paper on “Replace or Resurface- How to Cost Effectively Repair Your Industrial Floor”.  Neither of these papers is on the feature or benefits of your coatings but provides guidance and answers to your target decision maker that leads him to your product as a solution and positions you as a trusted advisor.

It is when you truly understand your key influencers and the problems they face that lead them to your product that you can begin and effective content strategy.  Engage with your target prospects and decision makers early in the buying process and gain the advantage over your competition as a trusted advisor and thought leader.

Not sure how to figure this out?  Talk to your clients, really talk with them and understand why they buy your products/services.  What advantage to you offer, how do you make their job easier.  Talk to your team that creates the quotes – what are the consitent issues with the quote requests they receive, what are the common questions they get?

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