Recently I was invited to speak to a pragmatic but creative group of subject matter experts during their staff meeting to explain what we were up to in the marketing department. Going in, I expected a little skepticism but hoped that I’d be able to co-opt them into supporting our marketing initiatives. I figured I had about 1 minute to steer the conversation in a way that would enable us to have a productive meeting.
“Marketing”, I stated while standing at the whiteboard, “thrives on three things: content, engagement and measurement”. I drew a circle with arrows connecting the words together to show an iterative process. “Great content creates engagement with prospective buyers. The degree of engagement is measured then used to guide improvements to the content and the way it is communicated.”
“It’s like the marketing ‘wheel of goodness’!” someone joked.
I had their attention so I elaborated on each category in the “wheel”:
Content includes blog posts, editorial, whitepapers, webinars, press releases, infographics, presentations, etc. Basically it is the brainpower of the company. It is also the lifeblood of any marketing department and the basis for permission marketing. The marketer offers valued content in exchange for the right to interact with the audience.
Engagement is the audience interaction that is prompted by the content. It could be in the form of comments on a blog, retweets, web or telephone inquiries, questions during a webinar, visits to a web page, referrals of content to others, a request for a sales presentation, etc. The objective is to stay engaged with the members of the audience so that when a need arises, your company is top of mind. Engagement is the first step towards creating a sales lead.
Measurement is the way you learn whether your content is creating the right level of engagement with the right type of audience. Website analytics, social media stats, marketing automation systems, etc. are all ways to assess the impact of content marketing and track the progress of the relationship with the audience. A marketing automation system can also be used to tailor the content to appeal to specific personas to further improve the level of engagement.
Then I made my pitch. I asked the subject matter experts for their help in generating content and participating in interactions with prospects. By demonstrating that we had a structured marketing process, and the tools to measure our marketing success, I received enthusiastic responses to my request for blog posts, whitepapers, comments on industry blogs and participation in sales calls. I wasn’t really surprised since they are passionate about their business. But now that the marketing wheels of goodness were turning, I was very glad to have them on board!