With content marketing, defense contractors can increase awareness and demand for their products and services in a way their prospective buyers actually like.
According to Wikipedia, "'silver bullet' refers to any straightforward solution perceived to have extreme effectiveness."
Most of the time, when the term "silver bullet" is used, it is prefaced by the words "there is no" [silver bullet]. But if a defense contractor were to deploy only one marketing tactic that would have the most impact, it would be content marketing.
In the last ten years, the way people buy has changed dramatically. And that change has led to a revolution in marketing.
Previously when a buyer was researching a purchase, their information sources were somewhat limited. Early in their purchase research, a buyer had to contact the seller to get most of the information about the product. Once that contact was made, the seller could exert some influence and control over the buyer.
Now, however, buyers can do extensive purchase research on the Internet before having any contact with the seller. In fact, SiriusDesision research has found that "over two-thirds of the buying process occurs before sales is even contacted."
The buyer is now less dependent on the seller for product information. And, because of technology, buyers can more easily filter out marketing messages they don't want.
With the buyer now more firmly in control than ever before, companies are beginning to realize the only way they can influence the sale is to be helpful to the buyer. And the way they are doing that is with content marketing. From the seller's perspective, content marketing helps pull a prospect down the sales funnel rather than push them.
Content marketing tactics include eBooks, buyer guides, webinars, whitepapers, blogs, videos and more.
For an effective content marketing effort, the seller identifies their buyer personas and maps out the types of content needed at different steps of the purchase process.
In a helpful eBook from Kapost, the emergence of content marketing is outlined, along with helpful tips and several practical worksheets to get you started on a building an effective content marketing campaign.
Additionally, the eBook includes a side-by-side comparison (in cartoon form) of how to do content marketing right vs. how to fail miserably at it. The cartoon series reminds me of the U.S. Army's popular comic book, PS, The Preventive Maintenance Monthly.
The eBook covers seven critical content marketing best practices that are worth repeating:
- Add Muscle to Your Team - Establish a content marketing team. Assign internal and external roles responsible for planning and executing the strategy.
- Join Forces to Generate Ideas - One of the most important steps is to do some research in order to learn and confirm your buyers key pain points. Business development, sales and customer service people are some of the best places to get this information. Interview your customers, too.
- Capture Their Attention - You can't bore your prospects into buying from you. Remember that they don't care about you and your products as much as do you. Your content needs to be newsworthy, educational or entertaining.
- Organize Your Plan of Attack - When starting a content marketing effort, don't treat anything as a one-off effort. As much as possible, all content activity needs to be a repeatable, scalable process.
- Distribute Your Message - There are a variety of ways to distribute your content. This is where social media can shine. As social media expert Jay Baer says, "Content is fire, social media is gasoline."
- Pull Them Through The Funnel - Once you have your buyers in your marketing automation system, map out the types of content they need and when they need it with lead nurturing. That way, like with fire support, you can ensure the content is "on time, on target."
- Learn From Successes and Failures - There will be both. Content marketing is an iterative process where, based on the marketing metrics that you monitor, you'll want to make adjustments and do more of what's working, and less of what's not working.
Click here to read or download the eBook, "Content: The Force That Moves the Buyer Down the Funnel."
Question: What content marketing challenges are you facing? Please post your comments below. And if you know someone who will find this article helpful, please share it with them (you can use the social media sharing buttons below).