A new LinkedIn group I joined, “DemandGen Specialists,” featured an article by Jon Miller that appeared on Marketo talking about the value of using content to position a company as a thought leader. “Why Thought Leadership Is Your Most Valuable Asset” covers how providing content is the key to achieving thought leadership and provides excellent tips for how to make sure content delivers real value. Then a BtoB online post by Christopher Hosford reports that, when providing collateral, “White papers remain most influential for tech buyers.”
The conclusion from both of these posts is that getting the edge in B2B marketing today is all about content.
As a direct response marketer, I’m pleased to see that the rest of the world has finally discovered what the direct response marketing community has known for about 100 years. That is that giving someone something of value to their business in exchange for making contact with you is the most effective way to generate qualified leads — or, as it is now called, “generate demand.”
In direct response, what is now called “content” was once called an “offer.” Although the percentages will differ, depending on who is presenting them, here are the influencers that determine the potential success of any direct marketing program — and as you can see the quality of the offer is right up there:
The accuracy of reaching the target market can affect response by 200%.
The success of a direct marketing program can increase by as much as 200% by accurately targeting the email or mailing list chosen, the Web site on which the banner appears, the ad words used in SEM, the trade show attended, the print advertising placed and much more.
The strength of the offer (content) can affect response by 100%.
The offer, or the content, is the second most important element in successful lead generation, whether it is a free white paper, Webinar, checklist, case study, demo or all the other options that are so nicely outlined by Michele Linn of Savvy B2B Marketing in “Need Content? 20 Formats to Consider.”
The quality of the messaging can affect response by 50%.
My specialty is writing content offers and the messaging (regardless of channel) used to get prospects to request the content. However, I am constantly humbled to know that unless the market is well targeted and the offer has value, the marketing messaging will not have the impact it could have.
The design of the marketing communication can affect response by 50%.
Just like the marketing copy, effective, eye-catching design has no impact unless the channel targets the right market and the offer has value to that market.
So whether you call it content, or an offer or collateral material, after 100 years, it’s still the sweetest tool for successful demand generation marketing.