In an essay written in 1996, Bill Gates coined the term “Content is King” to describe the future of the Internet as a marketplace for content. In our recent Pandemic Punditry conversation with Graham Hawkins, he correctly affirmed that not only is content king but it is the entire royal family! Christopher Lockhead co-author of best-selling book Play Bigger recently posted on his LinkedIn that “you can’t be legendary at marketing unless you’re great at sales. Too many marketing people are viewed as a joke by salespeople (harsh, but true). Because too many marketing people suck in-front of customers.”  In his opinion, If you can’t sell one-on-one, then you cannot market. Sales skills are foundational for every marketer. We would add, marketing skills are foundational for every salesperson! The distinctions between these two business functions have never been more murkier and interdependent than they are now.

Why do great salespeople and legendary marketers place so much emphasis on content marketing? Let’s look at a textbook definition of content marketing:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Source –

According to the Demand Gen 2020 Content Preferences Study, 77% of respondents looked at 3 or more pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson. Depending on where they are in their buying process, the types of content that they engage with varies. Interestingly the top content formats for B2B buyers are Videos (65%)  followed by Whitepapers (60%), Blogs (56%), Webinars (54%), Case Studies (54%), Research and Survey Reports (54%), and eBooks (48%). 

Source –

If you were to do an audit of your marketing content would your offerings mirror these findings? Given how important infographics and listicles are early in the buying process, it is imperative that marketers know how to sell. If marketers cannot succinctly distill value propositions and address specific concerns and challenges faced by buyers when creating effective infographics and listicles then there is a very high likelihood that buyers will discount your offerings very early in the sales process. Clearly, the onus is on the marketer to ensure that the buying process progresses to a point where the buyer feels compelled to contact the salesperson. The days of marketing blaming sales for non-performance is over. The data is clear – content drives buying decisions! Is your CMO and marketing teams up to the challenge?

Having established that content drives buying behavior, how can CMOs and marketing teams ensure that content experiences are consistent across owned and third-party channels? What does that mean in practical and tactical terms? Owned channels refer to any medium where you have full editorial control on the content that is being posted therein. Third-party channels are those that you don’t have any or little control over the content, these may include content authored by third party publications or analysts, peer reviews or user-generated feedback and ratings, and content published by industry influencers. In order to influence a more positive experience on third party channels, it is imperative that your product and services meet with market expectations and deliver on the promises made to the buyer, and match (or exceed) the marketing hype on your owned channels. If you’re flogging a product or a service it behooves you to ensure that its benefits are consistent with the expectation your marketing and sales teams have set. In other words, the buying experience and ownership experience need to at minimum, match expectations.

Source – Pandemic Punditry 2020

Creating compelling content-driven buyer experiences involves the active participation of all stakeholders within the company. This is not something that should be outsourced to the sales and marketing teams to figure out. In fact, we would advise against this outsourcing of content experience execution to digital marketing agencies, third party content writers, advertising agencies, and the like. Content without context and content without conversion is not content marketing! 

This pandemic presents a unique opportunity to strategically revisit the experiences you are sharing with your buyers. Are they compelling enough to initially grab a prospect’s attention? Does your content facilitate the buying process by helping potential customers make-sense of all the competing, confusing, and contradictory content that is out there? Is your content architected and curated to support your buyer’s journey? If the answer to any of these questions is negative then you are not treating your growth engine with the deference and respect royalty deserves!

Pandemic Punditry

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *