Happy Fall Readers!
I took some time in August to regroup, refuel and rethink our content strategy. We are officially back online and exhausted.
Why you ask? Exhausted by summer vacation? In a nutshell; yes. It's scary out there folks. The digital world is moving so fast it's hard to keep up. But I used the summer reprieve to rethink a lot of things, especially content marketing.
There are three things I learned in the last few months that are both disheartening and enlightening at the same time. Here it is...
- More and more of the sales function is moving to marketing and the online function. Buyer expectations when they research a company and a website are unrealistically high and it’s a struggle for any business to keep up.
- The rate of change in the digital world is exponential and alarming and what worked yesterday (like SEO or SEM) may not work today. It takes a team, not a person to create traction.
- Competition is intense and it's hard to break through the clutter.
So what does all of this mean?
Many companies are struggling (including myself) to shift dollars from salespeople to the marketing function because it's scary to make this switch, people aren't sure what to do or if it will pay off. It's hard to consider that the things you spend money on could fail.
No one in the digital space really has an answer. Only continual testing is what leads to success so stop with the digital marketing equivalence of fad diets, and commit to long term testing.
Competition and noise are always going to be an issue so it's best to keep up, not bow out.
Business owners I have spoken with over the summer all expressed the same points about their marketing program. They question if the quality of the content they are putting out is any good and if it's really doing anything. They question if their marketing efforts really have the ability to drive leads. They feel blogging and email marketing are time consuming and you have to continuously feed the beast.
I'm going to share my recent discovery about my own business. Let me first say, I am in a competitive, grueling and oftentimes unforgiving service business. The commoditization of marketing tactics (SEO people in India who charge $10/hour and web developers who charge $20/hour) means it's a race to the bottom. Anecdotally, a strategy consultant shared with me that less than 10% of marketing agencies are profitable. This was based on the many agencies he has talked to in the last 12 months. That's a sobering thought.
Here is what still matters and what we are even more committed to doing...
- Strategy and having a plan are still important. Cycling around doing nothing means you fall further and further behind.
- There are some new and innovative ways to produce really good content, full of expert information, that won't kill you from a cost, production or quality perspective. And as a huge bonus, it allows you to connect with prospects in a really interesting way. (Intrigued about this? Listen to my podcasts.)
- Social media has really come of age for B2B companies. Anyone ignoring LinkedIn from a sales and marketing perspective is invisible. Buyer won't trust you if they can't see you.
So I am throwing this out to anyone that wants to take me up on this offer. Call me if you want to learn about "how I spent my summer vacation," and I'll share three important findings that might just help you make some important marketing decisions for 2020.