Like many of you, I was off the past week. I spent the week with my wife’s family in Nisswa, Minnesota. There were 18 of us in 2 cabins for 1 week. This was the first time my 9 month old daughter made the 11 hour voyage from Indianapolis and back. We all survived it and can say it was damn good to unplug for a week.
This week is my return to content.
So what are we talking about?
I was in scramble mode before my departure. I was trying to get the last newsletter curated, podcast episode published, and article written (follow us) before I left. I felt like I was in good shape and then I looked at my priority list.
In big bold letters it said: LAUNCH INTENT SIGNALS
If you are a marketer who is reading this and has been involved in spearheading a product launch then you know that feeling at the beginning of the process. It’s a 50/50 mix of being completely overwhelmed and also tremendously excited to share your new thing with your audience. I’m feeling that battle of emotions as I write this article right now, but want to start our launch process by being completely direct with the work that will be coming from me in the next couple of weeks.
First and most importantly, we will be launching Intent Signals on July 28, 2022!
I am going to write some things that I hope elicits a reaction from you. The ideal scenario is that this reaction leads to curiosity for what we will be releasing with Intent Signals. I started to lay some groundwork for Intent Signals in this post and this one, too.
Don’t worry. I am not going to spend time in this article feature selling you to death.
I want to spend the rest of this opportunity exploring the output from the most important asset that we have as marketers that’s required in order for Intent Signals to be a thing…
It starts with your content.
The Erosion of Trust Between Marketing and Sales
I’ve invested a lot of my time, energy, and resources to put down the content factory approach to content marketing. The SparkNotes version is that we need to stop churning out commodity content built for machines and not people. Today, most of this content goes unseen and falls victim to internet purgatory. This type of 2012 marketing mindset sets your brand back a decade. It will feel like this is the right approach because you’ll check some boxes, however, you’ll be competing with a zillion other brands jockeying for position in the status quo of B2B content marketing.
The solution for many content marketers trying to break free from the 9-to-5 factory grind is to build internal partnerships with the demand generation team. This is a step in the right direction, but the degenerate demand gen marketer can quickly get intoxicated by quick wins as opposed to focusing on long term gains with a distribution plan. I’ve been put on trial by my peers and have been found guilty of this in the past. I’m taking this opportunity to talk about it in hopes of preventing you from forcing average content down the throats of an audience that’s not even a good fit for your product.
For demand gen marketers it’s easy to overinvest in content syndication because it gives us something that we can upload in our CRM to help us hit our KPIs. The question that we should be asking ourselves is if this something is going to actually help sales or waste their time?
I used to be fixated with a quantity based operating system because my mindset was short term. It was about hitting my goals so I could get my quarterly bonus. Quality was an afterthought. In fact, I wasn’t even in tune with the issues that my investment in content syndication was causing in other areas of the business…most notably sales.
From my point of view, the output from the investment in content syndication were sales leads that I could tie to a campaign in Salesforce. Pumping in thousands of dollars in budget into content syndication helped make sure I’d hit my goals.
The point of view from sales was that I was throwing a bunch of junk over the wall and following up on these “leads” was a massive waste of time. I will never forget the opening line in an email I received from a sales leader that said, “We need to pull the plug on this”.
This was a learning moment for me.
A decade later I couldn’t have forecasted that I’d be reviving this lowlight of my career in content that was a solution to the very problem that I was causing my team of internal stakeholders.
The Shift to Qualitative Content Insights
I promise I’ll be done beating the dead horse that is content syndication momentarily, but must share this nugget with you to really drive my point home.
Before I started at The Juice our CEO Jonathan Gandolf had 100 conversations with 100 marketers. I was actually on his list of marketers that he explored content topics with during this run. After the fact I remember being in a conversation with him and him sharing something interesting…
“There was only 1 marketer in that group of 100 that actually defended content syndication. Everyone else more or less said it was a waste of budget.”
I know content syndication sucks because I got that email from the sales leader telling me to stop.
Did this mean other marketing peers dealt with similar experiences, too?
That’s been enough validation for me to be open about battling content syndication on this journey because I know what we are building is better and a better fit for modern day marketers today.
I love reverse engineering my way to answers.
I’ve done this on several occasions with things that we are building at The Juice and most recently with Intent Signals. Here’s the question that I’ve asked myself over and over again:
What information could we get from our content that would actually enhance the sales process?
I can tell you that it’s not just quantitative data. A sales pro could care less about how many views, visits, and vanity metrics that can be shoved into an excel spreadsheet from your content.
I’m not here to tell you that quantitative data doesn’t hold a place in measuring content performance, but can tell you based on years of feedback that sales doesn’t care about it.
We should operate in a content culture where the sales team values the results that we are reporting from our work. Modern day marketers need to be the catalyst for change and begin to measure content performance from a qualitative perspective, too.
I started asking questions about what this might look like…
How about data that we can use to tie our work to their pipeline?
How about qualitative insights that lead to better collaboration opportunities between sales and marketing?
How about having the ability to show a snapshot of all of the dream accounts engagement with your content when asked, “What’s the ROI from our content program?” from execs?
There’s an entire audience of perfect fit customers that are consuming your blog posts, listening to your podcast, and watching your YouTube channel right now. You are providing inspiration, sharing new ideas, and helping the right people level up in their roles.
What if you had the ability to turn the lights on in your dark content funnel for an unlimited time?
I think you might have something interesting to talk with your sales team about.
Intent Signals....coming soon.
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