Marketing automation…more like marketing irritation
Content marketing is taking off. More than a trend, a campaign, or a tactic, it’s now a way of life. It’s what marketers do to gain buyer attention and prep them for sales. And it has gained traction quickly. As Hubspot recently cited in their 2013 State of Inbound Marketing report, 58% of marketers are now doing it.
At its core, content marketing in the business-to-business (B2B) world is great. It educates buyers and can tailor well to their needs at different points. It forces us marketers to think differently about the world around us. No longer can we scream out our message and wait for a response, as buyers will just continue to tune us out. Rather, we must be there with the right content when they are doing their research to determine a solution to a problem or finding a way to exploit an opportunity.
But like any marketing and lead generation channel, some marketers abuse content marketing. It is a content marketing best practice to generate leads using content-based offers like eBooks, webinars, white papers, tweets, and yes, even blog posts like this one. This is awesome stuff, and in fact, it’s happening so often that every two days we are now creating as much content as we did up until 2003.
All good stuff! But then, after a lead fills out a form to download your eBook, the marketing automation kicks in. According to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Report, the use of marketing automation is on the rise. 61% of marketers are now using marketing automation platforms, up from 43% in 2012. And this is where a lot of marketers can go wrong. It leads to marketing irritation. You’re familiar with this “email 2.0″ part of marketing automation: responding to an eBook offer would place you in our marketing irritation system, which leads to our team trying its best to nurture you with more content offers so that we can say we’re moving you down the funnel.
Not only do we not want to do that to you, but also we firmly believe this approach is flawed. Practicing marketing irritation cuts out people who know clients and prospects best – account managers and sales people. Instead of going around them and offering you content based on general information you have about a client or prospect, we empower these team members to build relationships by sharing content in a personalized way. Our account managers and sales people are the individuals connecting with you most, so they have a better sense than any marketing automation system of what your needs/wants are, where you’re at in the buying process, what else might influence you, etc.
So let’s calm down with the email 2.0 approach to content marketing, and let’s better use our teams to create a personal experience based on education and discussion. Not only does this help your company become more customer oriented, but it also helps your content get into the hands of – and have influence on – those who need it most.