- More frugal, reeling from two economic downturns in the past decade, and forced to “do more with less”. Less time is available than ever to research issues and find the right solution;
- Engaging sales later and later in the buying cycle, and using the Internet, peer networks and other self-service resources to do their own research and make their own decisions;
- Overloaded with more marketing information than ever, making buyers more skeptical than ever, and harder to reach and engage.
At Gartner, we always opined that “you can’t manage what you haven’t measured,” so I suggest that the first content marketing step should be an inventory of what content already exists. This will include an understanding of what white papers, opinion posts, product data sheets and case studies already exist and could be leveraged, and most importantly, will highlight what is missing.
To promote understanding of what you have covered and where there are gaps, content should be categorized. Some pivot points could include:
- Persona (the particular targeted buyer segment the content aims to address)
- Type of content (opportunity, technical, business case, competitive comparison, testimonial / reference, etc.)
- Stage in buying cycle (discovery, awareness, consideration, preference, decision, post-purchase)
- Marketing channel (website, download, tool, blog, e-mail, etc.).