When it comes to leads generation, my discussions with marketers mostly reveal that they use traditional methods like trade shows, email marketing, seminars, cold calls, advertising and telemarketing as their primary marketing approaches. These methods are called “outbound marketing” and involve the transmission of a marketing message in the hope that it would travel far and wide and reverberate with the needs of the target market. Well, my opinion is that outbound marketing approaches are losing efficacy for causes discussed below.
The power of word of mouth referrals from existing customers is widely understood, especially with the increasing use of social media and rising value of social shares, but many companies overlook the value of their own employees as both satisfied users and people with knowledge about the products and services that they help create, support, and sell. Fairly or not, other people are going to expect your employees not just to be familiar with the range of products and services you offer, but to have some level of experience and insight as a user and not just as an employee. After all, if your own employees aren’t using your offerings, why should someone else?
If one of our primary goals in content marketing is to increase engagement and interaction between our companies and our customers, crowdsourcing is an appealing and relatively easy to implement option. Sometimes it's very effective, like with Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" campaign, which asked consumers to submit ideas for a new flavor of potato chips and then let them vote for which flavor Lay's should continue to produce. But sometimes, oh sometimes, it goes very very bad, like when the internet en masse decided to vote for Justin Bieber to add a North Korean stop to his My World tour.
Paperwork is one of those dirty words that tends to be said with a wrinkled nose and a six year old’s idea of the taste of broccoli in people’s mouths. At best, people will say it’s a necessary evil and go to it with a kind of resigned sigh usually reserved for 1950s and 60s sitcom fathers. Now don’t get me wrong, if we’re talking about scanning a week’s worth of receipts for an expense report, I make those faces too, but documentation in general has too often been unfairly painted with the same brush.
The problem with content is that it requires people to create it, edit it, manage it, promote it, and generally make it exist and do its job. For those of us who make our money that way, it may be more of a feature than a bug, but I also understand that it presents a challenge for companies. Marketers (either in-house or from an agency) concoct a beautiful, in-depth strategy and then the challenge of “who do we get to make all this happen?” rears its ugly but all too common head.
Frequently, one of the biggest objections from a business to trying something new or creative is “we don’t have the staff for that.” And really, of course you don’t! If you’re considering trying something that the business hasn’t done before, why would you expect to already have all the necessary skills amongst your existing staff? Expanding your content marketing strategy doesn’t have to mean adding the equivalent of an entire agency to your in-house team, but it very likely will mean hiring freelancers from time to time.