Content marketing is being used in all types of formats. There's the big bang eBook launch, the white paper promotion, the 3 touch plus sales offer approach, the quarterly webinar and other "standalone" configurations based on a short-term time frame. Unfortunately, none of these is actually lead nurturing for a complex sale. These are campaigns.
A campaign is generally a short term focus with a defined goal like - Generate 100 new leads or add $X to the pipeline forecast. Your buyers could care less because the very structure of a campaign is all about what your company wants to achieve, not what your buyers need.
A solid lead nurturing program extends at a minimum across your average buying cycle and even beyond. Lead nurturing is about providing useful content your buyers find valuable because it helps them think about, evaluate and solve their problems to create desirable business outcomes.
I know what you're thinking. "Heck, I'll just stream all my campaigns together and it'll be a lead nurturing program."
Nope. That's not it.
Because it's highly unlikely that you'll end up with a consistent and useful storyline that builds engagement with your buyers. This is because campaigns tend to hop around. Campaigns are the equivalent of ADD for marketing. They lack commitment so it's easy to flip your focus to some other trendy topic and head off down another path with each new campaign you create.
What's the result for your buyers?
- Disappointment that content they were interested in has reached a conclusion without providing them all the insight they needed to make an informed decision.
- Confusion about the actual value your company provides.
- Diminishing relevance that results in their attention moving elsewhere to get what they need.
Put yourself in your buyers' shoes and imagine you're trying to solve a specific problem.
- You find an article that speaks to that problem and follow the link to the website.
- You register for and download a related white paper while you're there.
- Over the course of several months you receive related information that helps you learn more about what you need to know - but you still have questions and have to convince the other members of the buying committee that this company can help.
- Next month you get an email promoting the value of a different product.
Yep. One campaign ended and another one began.
From the buyers' perspective, how interested are you now?
If your sales cycle is averaging 9 months, how effective is a strategy that dictates the launch of a new campaign focus every quarter? (Product A in Q1, Product B in Q2, Product C in Q3, etc.)
Instead, consider creating a nurturing program that educates your buyers step-by-step across the entirety of their buying cycle.
To do this you must know your buyers very well. You need to think in terms of problem-to-solution scenarios, not product lines when you create your content strategy and editorial calendar. Roll that eBook, white paper and video into your nurturing storyline. When you have an editorial calendar that extends across the buying process you can weave in your various content formats to both generate new leads and increase the engagement you're building with your leads over time.
The gist is that short-term campaigns are created for your benefit and nurturing programs are created to benefit buyers.
Which is going to get you farther in the long run?
Link to original post