Marketers are facing performance issues and their leaders are facing heat. The average CMO tenure in 2021 was 40 months, the lowest in more than a decade, according to Spencer Stuart, an executive search firm. A 2020 study by Korn Ferry, another executive search firm, found that the average CMO tenure was 3.5 years, the lowest of any C-suite title.
We live in a world of intense competition to win new business and retain our customers. Customers face product parity – most products are as good as anything on offer. Marketers can no longer acquire customers by advertising the features and benefits of their products.
Marketers need to start positive conversations with and about their brands to get leads, increase sales, and build enthusiastic fans. To achieve this, they need to inspire their customers with three Cs – Content, Capability and Campaign. Content marketers need to create, new capabilities they need to develop, and how they need to execute campaigns to effectively engage with their audience. Here’s also a look at how big brands are using this “3C” model to trigger a shift in attitude and buying behavior in their favour.
Brand recognition is no longer enough. Customers expect brands to differentiate themselves through relevant content. What type of content should you create? Don’t overwhelm your audience with the features and benefits of your solution.
Your content should inspire, entertain or educate your audience. “Genuine content” and “relevant content” are among the most effective types of content, according to the 2022 State of Inbound Marketing Trends report published by HubSpot,
Authentic and relevant content helped Red Bull generate approximately $6.9 billion in revenue in 2021. It also made Forbes’ 2021 list of Most Valuable Brands. Red Bull produces videos and even magazines. The content is aimed at its target audience: physically active people with high energy lifestyles. She promotes extreme sports and aims to inspire her clients to challenge the limits they may have set for themselves. Red Bull never talks about its energy drink.
According to the book, The Challenger Sale, successful B2B companies challenge their customers with business ideas. A business vision is a compelling perspective from a supplier that speaks directly to a customer’s business drivers and leads back to the supplier’s unique capabilities. A company will have one or more of these seven business drivers: increase revenue, reduce costs, utilize assets, mitigate risk, improve efficiency, develop employer brand, drive innovation. An insight that focuses on these business drivers becomes a compelling business insight.
Marketers should investigate their clients’ business drivers by collaborating with subject matter experts. They must create business prospects that respond to these drivers. McKinsey Quarterly, a newsletter, is a trusted resource for global leaders to help them manage their most critical business drivers.
Marketing teams need to act like media organizations. TED Talk videos have transformed the way people educate themselves. You need to create more informative videos. Customers like to learn from their peers. You need to enlist existing customers to share how they overcome their challenges.
Customers self-educate on a purchase using digital channels, before engaging with a supplier. According to marketing consultancy Sirius Decisions, 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even contacts a sales team.
Therefore, the best driver to increase sales is to teach the customer something new. This requires a whole new set of marketing skills. Skills related to writing content for flyers, creating brochures, and running roadshows are important skills, but they are no longer enough. Successful marketers adopt a newspaper mindset for their brand. They think like an editor and act like a journalist. They determine what would make the news and what type of content is likely to inspire their audience. They tell stories that respond to both needs and aspirations.
Marketers need to be agents of change. The secret to change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Marketers must create a “hot cause” that stirs emotion and forges a collective identity. They should also introduce “cool mobilization” techniques that inspire action and sustain engagement.
The hot cause for marketers now is to drive sales. For that to happen, you need to transform the way your organization shares content with the outside world. Interesting sources of engagement are content promotion tools such as GaggleAMP and Dynamic Signal. These tools make it very easy for every employee to amplify information about their organization through their personal social media feeds. Other great tools are cloud-based video creation apps like Wochit. They make it fun to produce high-quality videos quickly.
A campaign is a series of marketing activities designed around content assets and tools. It focuses on retaining or acquiring new customers. To run a campaign, you need to think about the questions you will ask and the ideas you will share. Content items used in a campaign include: research reports, opinion pieces, slides, blog posts, infographics, video clips, white papers, social media posts, and testimonials from clients. Campaign tools help amplify these content assets to engage with audiences. These include landing pages, webinars, events, email, direct mail, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, newsletters, time slots, and sponsorships.
You should also execute a pull-based strategy using web content. This should include the keywords used by your potential customers to search for solutions, so that they are attracted to your message. Use SEM to ensure your content is found online.
Don’t underestimate public relations. Help journalists write stories by providing them with information and data related to your industry. Use these stories to add a solid layer of credibility to your brand. A campaign turns your business into a series of critical moments. It is enabled by content writers, PR experts, designers, SEO experts, and CRM tools like Eloqua and Salesforce. And it’s backed by timely follow-up and tracking of leads.
The digital HR campaign of the professional services firm Aon is an example of a successful campaign. The company’s goal was to create awareness for creating a consumer-grade experience for employees and to acquire new customers for its transformation services.
Aon’s marketing team interviewed their subject matter experts, pulled market insights, wrote an opinion piece, and pitched it to trade journals. This resulted in numerous published articles. These ideas were shared at events. The team then extracted sound clips and converted them into blogs, video clips, infographics and a white paper. These were hosted on Aon.com and promoted via LinkedIn.
By redirecting information across multiple content assets, this campaign helped Aon engage with its customers in multiple ways and multiple times. This created highly qualified leads and new sales for Aon’s services. You’ll build a thriving marketing career if you focus on starting new conversations that increase revenue. The world is yours when you create new customers and enthusiastic fans with content, capabilities and campaigns.
The writer is marketing veteran and former Aon Marketing and Communications Manager, Maneesh Sah.