No More B2B Content Pollution!
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Is your B2B content engine eco-friendly? Or is it just polluting an already oversaturated world of podcasts, blogs, white papers, and self-described thought leaders? In this episode of Renegade Marketers Unite, PROS CMO Katrina Klier joins Drew to talk about where B2B brands can do better when it comes to creating engaging, thought-provoking content to serve as a tentpole for the organization.
Tune in for a fascinating episode dedicated to B2B content marketing. With insights into finding your perfect content fit, drafting on industry analysts, and B2B market research design, there’s a lot to learn. Don’t miss it!
What you’ll learn:
- What thought-provoking content should look like for your brand
- How to design winning B2B market research
- How to use content as a tentpole for your overarching business strategy
- Renegade Marketers by Drew Neisser
- CMO Huddles
- Accenture Technology Vision 2022
- PROS Analyst Reports
- [01:08] An avalanche of B2B content
- [03:03] The worst job Katrina ever had
- [04:20] Thought leadership vs. thought-provoking content
- [06:40] Toss out your content calendar
- [07:55] Finding your content fit
- [10:24] Drafting on industry analysts
- [13:57] Building authority with evangelism marketing
- [16:02] CATS-level B2B market research design
- [22:36] Tentpole marketing at PROS
- [27:50] B2B brands need to be essential
- [29:30] Does your content add value for your customers?
- [33:06] How to measure B2B content
- [35:12] Content that solves lower funnel challenges
- [40:14] Katrina’s Content Marketing Dos and a Don’t
Highlighted Quotes”Thought-provoking content doesn't have to be completely brand new. It can be a different pivot on something you've already been talking about.” —@KatrinaKlier @PROS_Inc Click To Tweet “With content in particular, more isn't always better. Sometimes more is just more.” —@KatrinaKlier @PROS_Inc Click To Tweet “People who are really looking for bleeding edge thinking in whatever the space is that your company operates in—where do they go? Because, if you’re a solutions provider, newsflash, it may not be you.” —@KatrinaKlier @PROS_Inc Click To Tweet “You're never done selling to your existing customers because you need to sell the value of the relationship you have with them. Because at some point, you probably want them to renew.” —@KatrinaKlier @PROS_Inc Click To Tweet “Companies like to work with companies that are committed to ongoing success.” —@KatrinaKlier @PROS_Inc Click To Tweet ”Don’t be generic. Don't do research that says something that anybody could Google and find 10,000 results that say the same thing. You're not helping yourself. You're not helping anybody else. You'll be drowned out in the noise.” —@KatrinaKlier Click To Tweet
Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 296 on YouTubeFull Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Katrina Klier
Drew: Hello, Renegade Marketers! I read recently that as of May 2022, there are now over 2.4 million podcasts with over 65 million episodes for you to choose from. Now I share that number, not just to thank you for choosing this one, but also to make the point that there’s no shortage of content across any channel. I just mentioned podcasts, but I could have had the same kind of number for blogs or white papers or webinars, or you name it.
There is simply no shortage of content across any channel. Quite the contrary, there’s an avalanche of content out there that is simply bearing the stuff that you are creating. The odds that some branded content is actually being discovered, consumed, and acted upon by its intended target is kind of a miracle… kind of like surviving an avalanche.
So I thought it would be helpful if we spent a whole episode just on content using the CATS framework and breaking it down so that we could try to solve the problem: How do we cut through with our content? And to help us do that, we have Katrina Klier who is a longtime friend who has built up highly effective content programs at both PROS and Accenture.
She’s going to help us work through it. So hello, Katrina, how are you?
Katrina: Hi, Drew. I’m great. It’s so good to be with you today. How are you?
Drew: It’s great to be with you as well as always. So, we’re trying to get to know our guests a little bit more on this show. I’m wondering maybe you could sort of share one little factoid that maybe I don’t even know and I’m a longtime friend.
Katrina: Oh my gosh. You know, those questions always stumped me. What’s one thing people don’t know about you? I don’t know how to answer that question.
Drew: All right. Well, what was your, what was the worst job you ever had?
Katrina: The worst job I ever had? Um, okay. I’m going to go way back to the teenage years.
Katrina: Way back, long ago and far away. I got roped into this summer babysitting gig because a friend of mine canceled on it and I was like, “Okay, fine.” You know, easy way to make some money over the summer. I was all about that. That was great. Oh, my gosh, it was a holy terror situation. Like kids, like it was something straight out of a Hollywood movie.
Like literally locked me in the bathroom. Like we’re messing up everything all over the house. I was like, you’d be amazed I actually had children after this, but they found a way to make peace. Like we, you know, we found some common ground and then we actually ended up having a really fun summer. But those first couple of days I got to tell you, until we had a, “Let’s all sit down and come up with a better game plan here” chat with me and the kids, then we got to figure it out, and then we get a lot of fun.
Drew: Yeah. You know, it makes a marketing job sound easy.
Katrina: Well, that was a bit of a marketing and sales job.
Drew: Ultimately it was. Well, okay, so we’re going straight from babysitting to the world of content. And as I mentioned at the top, we’re going to use the CATS framework as a place to start. Let’s talk about what does courageous strategy mean in this world of content? And maybe we move from thought leadership and I think you used the word thought-provoking content.
Let’s talk about that.
Katrina: Yeah. So content, like you said, there’s no shortage of it out there. With content, in particular, more isn’t always better. Sometimes more is just more. So the trick is finding more that is actually better for you, for the company and their objectives and the things that you’re trying to work on.
And so you can do thought leadership content, which can at times be a bit of an overused phrase too. But what really is thought leadership? Thought leadership is something that isn’t widely known. It isn’t something that you can Google and find, you know, 10,000 pages of results that say the same thing.
It’s not in the common vernacular and it’s not in everyday language yet because it is leading points of view and research and data on things. So when you think about thought leadership, it really is that. It is something new and different. That’s increasingly harder to do as the world moves so incredibly fast these days, but you still can do it.
And you can do that by partnering with other research groups. If you’re a brand, maybe it’s a think tank, a different publication that writes a lot about your space or that’s known for thought leaders. Think tanks, universities are great for this kind of stuff too. I mean, call up your alma mater and set up some research and those kinds of things.
But then you can also do thought-provoking content. And I think about that a little bit differently. Thought-provoking content doesn’t have to be completely brand new. It can be a different pivot on something people have already been talking about and heard a bit about. It can be an update to some of the statistics and research of something that you’ve already done, or it could just be planting that little seed of there are more questions here that maybe we should go ask about this and maybe we don’t know what they are yet, but let’s keep having the conversation to think about some interesting questions here.
So thought-provoking and then thought leadership in my mind are, they’re related, but they’re a little bit different because you would use them in different kinds of…
Drew: I want to, so lots of interesting thoughts there. And first I want to go back to the point of more isn’t more, more isn’t better. I mean, I honestly think everybody should burn up their content calendars because they become slaves to those. I really think they are the devil, but that’s just me. I haven’t ever heard anybody else say, “Throw those away.” That may be thought-provoking. Right?
That’s me being thought-provoking, but the reason I say that is, if you have a content calendar, you say, “Well, we need three blog posts a week and we got to get those blog posts out there.” And the truth is you don’t need three blog posts a week. If you could do it, you need three great pieces of content that actually add value to the universe.
And maybe you’ve defined two buckets of thought leadership or thought-provoking. And so anyway, I wanted to make a point on that one point, which is just more is not more. I think that’s definitely true. And this has come up in huddles a lot is more and more CMOs are saying that, you know, they’re putting more energy into less pieces to try to get more value out of it.
I think the difference between thought leadership and thought-provoking is an interesting segmentation. Is that where we start from a strategic standpoint or do we need to step back even further and think about, okay, what are we trying to accomplish here?
Katrina: I think you got to start with what are you trying to accomplish and what kind of things are really going to work for your brand?
So you mentioned a few places that I’ve worked in the past. There’s been a few others too. So if you take my current company, PROS is an example, primary research is helpful for us in certain aspects, but it’s really more about that thought-provoking content. It’s more about the use cases. It’s more about how people get value out of the technology and solutions that the company provides. That’s really more thought-provoking.
Like, can you see yourself in this content? Can you see how this might work for where you are? Can you think of other questions you’d really like to know as you’ve seen some of this? So in contrast, and I’m not saying thought leadership isn’t important for a company like PROS, but it probably isn’t the leading type of content that you would do versus if you look at a company like Accenture, when I was there, very much about selling new ideas. Creating opportunities and solving problems for some of the most compelling companies in the world is what Accenture does, right? And through all kinds of change. And so for them, thought leadership content, which really is that kind of original, more leading edge kind of thing, really fits with the brand.
You know, that’s the company you call when you really need help.
Drew: Right. Yeah. And I think that’s an important thing is where do you fit in? I mean, obviously any company that does any kind of consulting in anywhere better have some thought leadership content or they’re really basically executors.
If you want to, if you want to defend a strategic high ground, you’ve got to put your content out there. So that’s interesting. But I’m trying to understand, so if we don’t need thought leadership to establish our unique point of view, do we step to the thought-provoking bucket to sort of get folks to just engage with you?
Again, I’m sort of trying to strategically think, “Okay, well, this isn’t part of our DNA because it’s not the part of the promise,” but you know, I don’t know. It’s hard to separate that. I mean, most brands are looking for a way to present their product or service in a fresh way that really solves another company’s problems. Right?
Katrina: Yeah, totally. You know, sometimes though I feel like companies need to take a little pause and say: People who are really looking for bleeding edge thinking in whatever the space is that your company operates, where are they going? Because if you’re a solution provider, newsflash, it may not be you.
I know I’ve just crushed people, but where do they go? You know, a lot of times they go to places like the industry analysts that, you know, their job is to really write about the leading edge trends and the key themes in the space, not just that are going to hit today, but they’re going to hit over a few years.
And so they put loads of money and time and people and effort and commission all kinds of studies and work with some of those big think tanks and universities as well to come up with this kind of really thought leadership about any number of different spaces that companies operate in.
So that’s oftentimes where a lot of people in the market go to start. They go look at those kinds of things. And so you can draft off of their thought leadership content. You don’t have to necessarily do your own entirely. You can reference key themes out of their thought leadership. You can connect other content that you have into what they’ve said in those analyst reports, so that you kind of draft off of the goodness of the brand name of those research houses and analyst houses, but you add your spin to it so that you create some seeds of that thought provoking kind of bent to things.
So if you liked this, you’d also like that. You know, “We found the people, we’ve seen these trends and you’ve seen these reports. You know what? Our product roadmap already embraces those key themes that fill-in-the-blank analyst house—the Gartners, the Forresters, the IDCs—have said are going to be important three years from now. Guess what? We’ve already got that built in today in a way that our competitors don’t.”
So you can pull it in to really benefit you personally for the brand that you’re representing, but you don’t necessarily always have to go out and do big, enormous thought leadership content because you know, sometimes, if that’s not really what your company does for a living, then people are always a little skeptical.
Drew: Yeah. Well, and it’s hard to build up that expertise. I mean, what’s interesting is that everybody can be a publisher, but not everybody is really good at it, and what you’re really leaning into when this thing is the authority that—by drafting on an analyst content, that people pay for and that has an, in theory, a higher level of value—that you as an individual company are going to have a tough time in a short period of time building that kind of authority. And I don’t think there’s any debate there. It can be done. It just takes a lot longer than anybody is willing to, a lot of brands are willing to invest.
But nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped anybody out there, any single brand, from being a publisher. I mean, I mean, how many brands launch podcasts in 2021? Oh, a lot. How many brands have just like cranking out things? A lot. And you know, they’re not stopping. And so this is one of these moments where if I were building a marketing department from scratch, I would really say, “How quickly can I build authority or do I need to borrow it?” Can I really be an effective publisher in a short period of time?
Katrina: Well, and maybe you need to borrow it while you build it, right? Depending on what you’re trying to do, you know, there’s the short-term, long-term thing. You know, oftentimes what companies will do to bridge some of those gaps is put together kind of an evangelism marketing plan, right? And hire kind of the celebrity influencer, if you will, to work at the company, but go be that voice out there in the marketplace.
And you see some of these pop up from time to time, but that person that you bring in as the evangelist comes with—you’re essentially drafting off that individual’s brand as much as you are building your own thought leadership, but if it’s attached truly to your company, you can get some really good benefit out of it.
That evangelism space can kind of fill some gaps I think sometimes for people. And evangelism is more than just influencer marketing because influencer marketing is usually done over a program, a fairly short period of time. It’s pay to play. Without a doubt.
Evangelism is sometimes a mix of pay to play. They often times work for the company directly, and a lot of times they’ll come on board because the company agrees to co-sponsor some research that they’re doing. The company might not be the only sponsor of the research, but they’re kind of like putting together a sponsorship package for an event.
You know, they might be one of the sponsors of it and that’s how you bring that evangelist on board to be an advocate for you.
Drew: I want to, I’m going to put another punctuation point on it. The reason why an evangelist program works as if this person is a credible authority and you’re, again, you’re bringing them in-house, but the people—this is a really important part of content. Authorship matters. And so there are plenty of CEOs in Silicon Valley who have a really strong following, you know, and people care about what they write.
So if you’re going to go about this kind of thought leadership content program and you can identify one or two voices who really can build authority, it may be easier to do that than try to build authority for quote “generic content: from your company.
Okay. Now I do want to talk about—because you use the word courage to do primary research. I just thought that was interesting because I feel that it does take some courage in the sense that you have to spend some money.
But man, we’ve done it so many times and it works so well. I don’t know. I feel like we’ve taken the risk out of it.
Katrina: Well, I think there’s courage to really think about how to structure it so that it is actually thought leadership content, right? And not just another scoop of vanilla slightly differently formed than what is umpteenth other research that’s already been done. Or research that just confirms other research that’s been done, unless that’s your goal. You know, “We put a bow around all this other stuff because we agree.” Maybe that is our goal. But to really have the courage to not just do the vanilla version of, of how you set up your research, like leaning into what are the specific pivots, you know, you kind of have to do your homework before you do your research, right?
Drew: Yeah. No, it’s true. It’s true. You really have to think about it because what you’re trying to do a lot of times with this research is get your target to think about a problem in a new way. And so you have to sort of imagine, “Well, what is the problem that they’re not thinking about?” And you have to, “h, they missed this or this.”
And then, you know, then to design the research and then accept the fact that sometimes the research shows something else, and then you have to be able to go with that.
Katrina: To go with that too, I’ve worked in tech my whole career, right, and oftentimes who the buyer is if your technology changes over time or who the main influencers are change over time.
And so sometimes that primary research could be adding some points of view, some perspectives, some interesting lenses on these new buyers for you, right? One, because then if you have, you know, “Here’s the top 10 things people would fill-in-the-blank job should know about XYZ,” they may at least glance at the list because it applies to them and it’s interesting.
And then they go, “Oh, I’ve not heard of this company before. This is interesting. Maybe I should find out some more.”
So it kind of depends on what your goal is there. If it’s to get inside the head of some new buyers and get their attention, then you’re going to—again, but that’s the doing the homework bit ahead of time.
Drew: Right. And so as you think about it, I’m just trying to… Where in your mind, cause we’ve basically talked about thought leadership and now we’ve sort of evolved into market research… Where does that fit into—I’m thinking top of the funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of the funnel—I suppose it just depends, right?
Katrina: I think it depends, but you know, research is expensive and time-consuming to do. Some of it’s not as expensive to do as it used to be, but it’s still a decent chunk of one’s budget both in terms of people and dollars and time. And so you got to think about how you’re going to create an arc out of that content, right?
In terms of being thoughtful about how you’re really going to use it. How long can you get, you know, legs out of this thing?
I’ll give you one example from Accenture when I was there—and they do this report, it’s come out not too long ago as well. Every year, they do a Technology Vision, which goes deep on some really key leading edge trends of technology that anyone that’s an executive and business should know. You should understand them. They can be really interesting for you, and they do an amazing amount of research and due diligence and unpack these different trends in ways that you don’t have to be a technologist to understand, which is one of the things I loved about it.
But they do this every year to the point that people are chomping at the bit and anticipating when this report is going to come out. It’s like a must-read for people now because they’ve done it so well for so many years.
And then they take that report and they do work underneath it. Then they add some industry pivots that turn into speaking engagements and blog posts and white papers and different things underneath it. They add some geographic pivots to it. So they slice the data underneath and some other ways and do that for some demand gen and different kinds of things in different markets.
So taking that research—and that’s part of that, do your homework first in terms of being thoughtful and scientific… I’m getting all the CATS in there, Drew… on how you set it up so that you can really componentize it and get some life out of this thing for some period of time. Because it is an investment up front and you don’t want it to be gone in a couple of new cycles, so to speak. You need it to really perform for you over time.
So how do you carve it up in some different ways that you can continue to get use out of it?
Drew: And this is the thing that I want to sort of, I want to summarize and we’re going to keep moving and take a break in fact. But before we do that, a couple of things.
This Accenture study is a great example of tent pole marketing, where you do one big thing and then you carve it up. And what I love about that example is you do it year after year after year, and the value increases. Because you’re doing this study, you also have, you know, in theory, data that you can compare from year to year. And you get known for that. Particularly in Accenture’s case, obviously they want to be associated with TechVision.
But it’s just a way of thinking about your content. This is why don’t think small with content. Think big and think about how—because that is the only way you’re going to cut through the clutter right now. Okay. We’re going to take a break. And when we come back, we’ll talk a little bit more about artfulness, a little bit more about measurement. We’ll be right back
Show Break: Have you thought about doing some market research, but didn’t have the manpower or expertise on your team to make sure your research was methodologically valid, insight-rich, and newsworthy? Research that can be a tentpole for an entire quarter’s worth of marketing activities. Research that your SDRs can use to help move a lead into a genuine opportunity.
It’s a lot to ask for market research, which is why B2B marketers are coming to Renegade for help in this area. Renegade will help you craft the questionnaire, field the research, analyze the results, and even write up and design the report.
If your in-house team is too busy, if you’re a B2B CMO even thinking about market research, do yourself a favor, visit renegade.com and set up a time for us to chat.
Drew: Okay. We’re back. And let’s see. So let’s talk about this sort of artfulness and mixing things up. How do we make sure that you invest enough, but then you get value out of it?
Katrina: And you gave an example with Accenture, but I’m wondering if you have an example from PROS. I do. Maybe I can bring in the customer value research there.
Drew: Great. Let’s talk about that.
Katrina: I’m thinking about that research angle though too, Drew. You know, even if you’re not a company like Accenture has already established this cadence of research that you do every single year and the people wait for it like the Oscar nominations, like what’s going to be in the trends this year, you can still get started.
And at PROS, we’ve done that as well. We started doing some customer value research. We have an amazing science team at PROS that, you know, you want to talk about a scientifically sound study on this. I was like, okay. Wow. I was frankly really blown away. I’m like, I have friends in market research that you should talk to because this methodology is about as rock solid as it could get.
But that’s what happens when you turn data scientists loose on these kinds of things. But they went back through and mined and analyzed and did interviews with and looked at platform data and all kinds of other data. Anonymized so that we could get trends overall for the value that PROS Solutions had delivered to customers over a handful of years.
And it was amazing what came out of that, right? That’s not research the company had done historically. It’s something that we aspire to do more frequently going forward because the technology investment is great when it returns value initially, but then it needs to keep returning value. It’s a little bit like compound interest. You expect it to accrue over time and have more ROI as you go forward.
And so, you know, we did all this research on customer value. We got some interesting, really phenomenal statistics out of it in terms of some good stories that we could lean into and connect with our case study work that we’ve been doing, and some really good proof points. We really can prove it, like the data is really, really there. And so to be able to carry that forward with some of our brand messaging around outperforming…
We had a key theme and our signature event last Fall around creating certainty in an uncertain world, so what’s better to create certainty than ROI and data points, right? That gives you peace of mind and certainty without a doubt. And so we launched a halo campaign from a brand standpoint, and then this is getting followed up with more case studies and other landing pages and more tutorials and different kinds of things behind the scenes.
But the initial brand campaign is called Certain to Outperform and it pulls forward some of these data points that we found like an 8% revenue lift was realized on average by everyone. That ROI was realized in 90 days. Which for a platform solution is very fast, right? That on average, a customer saw a 5% merging improvement.
And so these are real tangible numbers that can spark a lot of conversation. Again, thought-provoking content there. And then we drafted it off some of the thought leadership content from some of the big analyst houses that had done research like configure price quote solutions—which is one of the things that PROS sells. You know, returns an average of $6.22 for every dollar you spend on the platform. And they’ve had key themes and trends around what makes that true.
So then we can pull that in—that thought leadership from analysts—into our thought-provoking from our customer research, and you mix it all together and you get some really good, interesting things that you can put in the market.
And again, things that have a little bit of staying power to them. They don’t disappear in a news cycle. And so you can bring these stats and these trends back up to reinforce case studies that you do. You can drop them into different keynote messages that you have. It can filter through a lot of your sales content at different points in the pipeline.
Like you said, there’s this top-of-the-funnel, middle, where the answer is, yes. But if you do it thoughtfully, it can be a good teaser set of content for your SDRs to get leads in the door. So you can use it in a lot of different places. I think the point is taking a moment to really think about how it can really work for you and what is that content story that you need to put together to get the most out of it?
Drew: Well, there’s a lot there that I want to just quickly sort of highlight and unpack perhaps, but first of all, we’re looking ahead to late 2022, early 2023. And there are a lot of dark clouds on the horizon as the feds try to tamper down inflation. One of the things that a lot of brands, SaaS brands and others, they’re going to be looking at—or buyers are going to be looking at—is one, speed to value. And you answered that question, 90 days, which is incredible. That’s really fast.
Well, how much, you know, what is the ROI of your product or service? You would be amazed how few brands actually have that data. So I’m imagining that was a huge lift to get to that information and then to have a third party validate that data is also pretty amazing.
One of the things that we talk a lot about in CMO Huddles is sort of how do you get to being essential. And to be essential is to increase ROI and increase ROI pretty fast. That’s amazing by the way, I just want to sort of—that research and getting that information, that must have been a heavy lift.
Katrina: Yeah, it was, and kudos to the science team at PROS because quite honestly, these people are brilliant at getting into numbers and data and really making sure that the trends that come out of the research are sound. They’re not grounding kind of things. They’re really sound trends.
I think there’s the essential piece, but there’s another component to being essential. Like people know that certain solutions they need, there are lots of different ways you can solve that problem though. And so what makes the way your company solves it essential?
You know, you get the value. That’s there. Great. But maybe they can get that value other ways. With your solution, they get it faster and they get it easier. It’s more flexible over time. Maybe as their business changes, it’s not static. It adjusts and learns and moves and flows as their business does.
So I feel like you got have a little more to the story than just, here’s a number that sounds really great, because that number might sound great but if that is a Herculean effort on steroids to get to that, maybe I’m not so interested. Maybe I can get close enough another way.
Drew: Right, right, right. Yeah. No, it’s a fair point that ease of execution and that is important in all of this. But one of the things I also heard that was happening is you got a lot of great case studies out of this. You got a lot of customer information.
I think if you are stuck right now with your content strategy, go back and figure out—this is my opinion, but I’ve seen it work over and over again is: Think about content as a value add for your customer.
So, what does that mean? Does that mean you’re celebrating them with case studies and doing and videos that make them look really good and really smart? Does it mean that you’re giving them content that will help them in their careers or help the company in ways beyond what your product or service does?
You’ll never go wrong when you start your content program saying how does it benefit the customer? And I would say that 90% of content is created, “Oh, well, we can use this to get Google to come to our website.” That’s not about current customers. Or we can use this for salespeople to put in front of them.
I think if the balance is off, because if you can put it in front of an existing customer and it gives them value, then there’s a pretty good chance that it will be valuable to your prospects. How do you think about that framework?
Katrina: I agree. I mean, I think you’re never done selling to your existing customers, right?
Because you need to sell the value of the relationship you have with them. You need to sell and reinforce the value you deliver to them. Because at some point you probably want them to renew and that renewal process, it starts as soon as the digital ink is dry on the first contract.
Everybody talks about land and expand and all those things, so what’s your expand play and how are you going to set up that conversation? And so, you know, I think existing customers are a great litmus test for content that you might put out there, particularly things that are solution guides and case studies and that kind of thing. Because if anything seems a little fluffy or off to them, then they’ll tell you.
Drew: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. You can’t, you just can’t bullsh*t them. They’ll call you out on it and they’ll make it stronger. Or that you’ll discover as you were writing this case history or you’re filming this thing, you’ll discover some aspect of it that has you completely rethinking the problem that you’re solving.
Katrina: Right. And isn’t it better to have an existing customer tell you that so you can shape the story better? Then they feel also invested in your success. You can give them back some more things of value, and it’s always better for an existing customer to give you a heads up on what can make it better than a prospective customer to go: “I don’t know. Seems a little fluffy.” Because they’re not going to tell you.
Drew: Yeah. And so, again, you’re starting with the best of intentions to help your existing customers. So we’re going to take a quick break and when we come back, we’re going to wrap up with how do you measure these programs? So stay with us.
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Drew: Okay. We’re back. All right. So we’re creating really thought**-**provoking smart content that’s been cleared and vetted by your customers, maybe in fact supports them. How do we measure this?
Katrina: Oh, my gosh. I feel like that is the never-ending question. Isn’t it, Drew?
And I don’t think there’s necessarily a single answer. I mean, some of it comes back to what your company strategy is. What are you trying to do? What’s your reason for being as a company and how is this content helping support that? Right. And it isn’t necessarily a single metric. You know, some of this content, particularly the thought leadership thought-provoking kind can serve multiple purposes, right?
I’m always hesitant to lean into a single metric around it, but engagement coverage of your target audience is the one I kind of like, but there are many more things because it can help you at a brand level. I mean, just pure unaided impressions at a brand level—it doesn’t mean they’re converting or anything, but it gives you a sense of traction at a truly brand level. So you can do that there.
Engagement rates, again, in general, helpful. Engagement of the people you really, really want to read it even better. And I think that’s important.
And then the, you know, who took you up on the call to action? And how many of the follow-throughs after that actually occurred? So I kind of look at it as a, you know, a funnel into itself, if you will, from a content perspective, because it can serve purposes at different points along the way.
Drew: Yeah, I love all those.
And I think it is important, one, that you have them. It’s unlikely to be any single metric, although you can get overwhelmed with metrics. And what I like about this sort of engaged coverage one. Then we’re looking at it on a macro level that this is, in some ways it’s about reach, right?
And that’s part one is, you know, having some kind of reach metric and where content fits into that number. I also love the notion of “who” and the action that they took because one of the things that I wanted to get to now is… a lot of CMOs—and this is happening in huddles a lot—are talking about lower funnel challenges.
And we’re back to this point of: We got the lead, we qualified, the SDRs called them, they’ve they’ve seen the demo. I mean, we’re really far down along the lead opportunity process, but it’s not closing. And it’s because, you know, they don’t always know why, but it’s like the CFO hasn’t blessed the ROI model yet, or hasn’t seen an ROI model. Or the security person doesn’t really trust this particular architecture and they just haven’t told you so that your CISO can call their CISO. Right. So what I keep thinking about it as the role that content could play there. And there, we’re not looking for mass numbers were only looking at that, that CISO read this security report on why it’s safe to use this tool internationally.
And so that’s where I think about the micro metrics of the right content for your key, you know, the folks on the buying committee.
Katrina: Yeah. You know, and I think some of that is, you know, sales is a really in-depth conversation with some visual aids and stories that they can pull out of their pocket often provided by marketing.
So it’s that combination of things, so some of it is having those referenceable case studies that are either within an industry, but it doesn’t have to be in that industry if it solves the same problem. But how do you package that and position it to those couple of people, again, that account, you know, to don’t just say, “Here’s a case study.”
You have to frame it, right? “Here’s a case study. I know it’s a different industry, but let me give you a little background and context on what we were trying to solve for this customer and how we did it because I think there’s a lot in there that I’ve heard you say as well and I think you’d find it beneficial, particularly for reasons, A, B and C.”
You know, so it’s how it gets positioned to them that I think is really, really important. And then also., again, if you’ve got this like drumbeat or some ongoing research that you do, that helps build your credibility overall with the things that you say because you don’t just do the, you know, you don’t blow the wad on the 15-second SuperBowl ad and that’s it.
You know, you actually put some thought behind this and you have a commitment to it. Especially in the B2B space. You know, companies like to work with companies that are committed to what they do for ongoing success. And so you can do yourself some favors by having content and research that you do regularly.
But again, making sure your sales folks can really position this content the right way so that you don’t make it so hard for the person reading it to really go: “Now, I see how this really makes sense.” Give them little soundbites that then they can go explain it to the other people inside their company that they need to get on board.
Why should the CFO fund this and not the 10,000 other things that came across their desk in the last quarter? Or why your CISO who should be confident in the numbers that are here because here’s the different certifications and here’s the last time they were renewed and so on and so forth and here’s a couple of case studies saying that other CISOs thought this was fine.
So it really comes down to the harvesting and tailoring the personal message around it, I think, when you get further down the funnel. Because you really need it. People really expect it, I feel like, today. They don’t want generic.
Drew: Well, yeah, no, no doubt about that. And they expect more. I’m just going through my head this world of, you know, where nobody wants to talk to a salesperson anymore. We’re all trained as buyers. Everything’s been disintermediated, and we know there’s never been the, “Gee, can I talk to a salesperson?” call ever from an enterprise.
So what they really want to do is talk to either an integration specialist, a product specialist, an advisor who knows the category really, really well, who can bring expertise, which may or may not be a salesperson. And so what I’m imagining is a world where almost everything is product-led, and therefore everything around that product-led… In a product-led model, the customer buys with very little intervention.
Right? Well, how are they doing that? Well, because there’s an explainer video, because there’s a demo video, because there are all sorts of things and they’ve gotten so far all down the line that all they need is okay, how long is it going to take to integrate? And, you know, what’s the customer service?
Their list gets shorter and shorter, and content gets more and more important. So anyway, to me, this is important conversation because in the future, we may be closer to what I just described, where you know, more and more and more brands, no matter what it is, if they’re selling they figured out how to do this without necessarily lots and lots of sales presentations. Just sayin.
Katrina: It could happen.
Drew: It could happen Okay. Well, speaking of things that could happen, I would love it—you’ve been doing this content for a long time. You’ve done it effectively for a long time. What would you say? We’re talking to a bunch of CMOs now. Two dos and a don’t for getting your content marketing right?
Katrina: Two dos. I would say the the first do is, start with your company strategy when you’re making your content strategy. Start there.
Another do is really pay attention and put the time into how you construct that research, and all the way through. Not just how you construct the research, but how you’re really gonna use it. Cause it’s really hard to go back and close the gap if you didn’t think about it ahead of time. So really think about how you’re going to use it so that you set the research and the content up that it fits your game plan.
And in terms of a don’t… Don’t be generic. Don’t do research that says something that anybody could Google and find 10,000 results that say the same thing. You’re not helping yourself. You’re not helping anybody else. You’ll be drowned out in the noise. So don’t be generic.
Drew: Yeah. Don’t add to the pollution that is already out there. Let’s go green with our content people and no more pollution. Make sure it’s not generic. Love that. Katrina Klier, thank you so much for your thoughts today on content. Just an amazing conversation.
Katrina: Thank you, Drew. You know, I can talk about this all day long, so let’s do this again at some point. This was fun. Thank you.
Drew: You know, we will. Okay. And to the listeners, if you got value out of this show, do me a favor, go to your favorite podcast channel, and give us a five-star review. Those are always appreciated.
Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me. Audio production is by Sam back. Show notes are written by Melissa Caffrey. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceover is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about my new book and the savvy is B2B marketing boutique in New York City.
Visit renegade.com. I’m your host Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.