There is a factoid coming out of some research that will be our topic today. I find it of interest because it’s a dilemma that I share to a certain extent with the folks surveyed. While the topic of the survey was the use of email, one of the key findings resonated with me:
The greatest percentage of marketers still felt challenged to create relevant and compelling content that will really draw in recipients. This ranked as the No. 1 challenge among B2B and B2C respondents to achieving their marketing objectives, but it was also considered the most effective tactic, cited by 71% of B2B marketers and 65% of B2C marketers. If marketers can create strong content, they believe it really does work at converting consumers.
This survey was conducted by the folks at Ascend2 and Research Underwriters. I can attest to the challenges of creating compelling content – you see the result of that struggle each day here on the screed. However, I wonder about the definition of relevant. After all, you don’t have to go further than your own daily conglomeration of inbound emails to recognize that what’s compelling to those sending the stuff isn’t always at the top of your interest list.
Let’s take it out of the realm of commercial email for a second. You probably get a few emails each day from friends or coworkers that are totally useless. By that I mean you can ignore them and be no worse off – no less informed or enlightened. They’re the “thanks” emails when you say you’ll follow up. They’re the mails sent to 25 people on a team about a meeting involving 5 of them. I’m all for communication but that gets to the “compelling and relevant” issue found in the survey.
Take that notion to mail you’d send on behalf of a commercial enterprise. If you’re and airline and you’re sending me information about special fares that don’t apply to the city in which I live, you fail. If you’re a vet sending me a special offer for the dog that died last year, you fail. You see, what I’ve found is that compelling and relevant also means reader-focused, segmented, and based on whatever user data I have such as best read posts, etc. It’s not just some formula that satisfies MY agenda.
Marketing is hard and getting harder. So’s blogging! Neither one succeeds without a laser-like focus on the user. Right?