The “New Normal” in Marketing

There’s a “new normal” in B-to-B marketing today that centers around the value of content and thought leadership. In her keynote presentation at the Industrial Marketing Digital Summit, IHS Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Stephanie Buscemi discussed the complex risks and challenges facing marketers today, and how to overcome them by embracing the new normal.

Goals haven’t changed, how to achieve them has
Marketing has always been about building awareness, generating demand, and most of all winning the hearts and minds of customers and prospects. But the way to achieve these goals has changed dramatically in the digital age. Today, disruptive technologies such as mobile, social and new online channels require a fresh set of marketing skills and an up-to-date marketing mix. Add in globalization and emerging markets and you’re facing competition from new places. Then there’s Big Data and the challenge of taking advantage and making strategic sense of the increasing volumes, variety and velocity of data we have available on our customers.

Content is the new currency
Clearly we need new ways to connect with customers and prospects, but how do we overcome the disruptive nature of today’s business environment? The target audience we need to reach is already overwhelmed by information: searching for it, organizing it, analyzing it. The answer is content, which may seem counterintuitive because that means even more information coming their way. But the answer is not content that simply increases the noise level. Instead, you must create content that is relevant, brings value, and is delivered to the right person at the right time in the right place—this is the new currency of marketing.

Differentiated and valuable content is produced from a position of understanding and solving those key customer issues that only your company has the expertise in. Your company’s unique expertise is what matters here, along with your ability to deliver value and insight in the form of highly relevant content that engages your customers and prospects.

Thought leadership thrives on content
Every company can be a thought leader because every company has expertise. Translating that expertise into unique value that you deliver to your customers is the key.

Content allows you to leverage thought leadership, elevating your credibility and cache. The keys to thought leadership are identifying areas of interest that affect existing and potential clients, and then educating them on issues and best practices in those areas of interest. This will make you a valued source of knowledge and help earn the right to speak to your target audience with established credibility.

One of the difficult aspects of using content to create thought leadership is that you have to set priorities. You have to produce the content that is compelling and relevant and addresses those customer issues where you have expertise — and not try to chase every opportunity. You must stay true to your position and brand. Sometimes that means making decisions about what you won’t do. If content doesn’t fit within the overlap area that is created by the intersection of customer issues or opportunities and your expertise, then you shouldn’t be going there. By remaining consistent in your content marketing, you can become a trusted, respected and reliable partner to your customers and prospects.

Content drives value in your organization
Your content strategy should be developed based on an “outside in” viewpoint based on positioning unique value to your customers and prospects. If you thoroughly understand your target audience and their business challenges and goals, you can architect a content strategy that effectively influences their buying decisions and the marketing funnel. Customer and audience analysis can then feed your product management process to help determine what products to manufacture that will provide customer value and company profit. Buscemi calls this value management, and it all starts with content—the new normal in marketing.

You can now view Buscemi’s Industrial Marketing Digital Summit presentation on demand.

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Have you adjusted to the new normal in marketing? How is content driving value for your organization? What is your marketing three legged stool? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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