How Do You Like My Tie?

There is an old joke about an egocentric sales guy rambling on and on about his life and success.  He sees the recipient of his boastful rant glazing over and says “But enough about me.  How do you like my tie?”  I was reminded of this as I read about a study conducted by the Online Marketing Institute, who teamed up with Forrester Research and the Business Marketing Association to understand how well B2B marketers gauge their content development skills and maturity.  The headlines aren’t so wonderful:

While 51% of B2B marketing leaders rate their content marketing practices as very mature, an overwhelming 85% fail to connect content activity to business value — and, as a result, fail to retain customers or win their long-term loyalty. In fact, when asked to look back at the past 12 months and rate the effectiveness of content marketing efforts, only 14% of those surveyed gave their content practices high marks for delivering value back to the business.

One wonders sometimes who exactly is in charge at these companies.  If 86% of the executives surveyed think they’re sucking at content marketing, what are they doing about it? 71% of surveyed marketers say their content features case studies or customer stories, but only 3% admit this is a primary focus of their efforts.  Hello?  How is this any different from the sales guy in the joke?

All marketing is about adding value and solving problems.  Hopefully everything you produce does both but it must do one or the other.  Obviously, as the study concludes, B2B marketers have more work to do when it comes to using content to consistently deliver a valuable exchange of information with prospective buyers.  That starts with a mindset to do just that and part of the process is evaluating what you’re producing in that context.  This last bit is the clearest indicator of that.  The study talks about how the content these businesses are producing:

Focuses on closing the deal, not on building relationships. While more than three-quarters of respondents say they frequently communicate to their customer base, only 5% make this a priority, proving that marketers are too focused on acquisition rather than long-term loyalty.

That’s the issue.  What are they (and you!) going to do about it?

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