SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Maria C. Horton

Blog Feed Post

Digital Relevance: The Introduction

I really appreciate the great reception my new book, Digital Relevance, has achieved in the first few days of its launch. For those of you who would like to know a bit more about the book, I thought I’d publish a few excerpts to give you a “look inside.”

This first excerpt is the Introduction:

Digital Relevance“A few years ago, I spent a lot of time convincing marketers about the value of investing in content marketing. Today, I get calls from marketers saying, “We bought into the idea of content marketing. Weve created great content. People read it. But its not moving the needle.”

When I go online to take a look to offer feedback and advice, I usually see decent content. What I don’t see is any strategic plan for orchestrating engagement with prospects and customers. I don’t see any attempt at relationship building. Mostly, I see areas for improvement in relevance, context, and connection. This is because companies tend to talk about what they know best—their products. Even when marketers think they’re developing content for buyers, they’re not—not really. The problem remains that they don’t know their buyers well enough to provide the level of valuable information mixed with an emotional connection that buyers are searching for. Quite often, they also don’t know their customers very well. But compounding the issue is a one-off mind-set that inhibits storytelling over the length of the buying process. Rectifying these issues gets to the heart of context and relevance.

I wrote Digital Relevance for the marketers, corporate communications professionals, consultants, and entrepreneurs faced with the need to build relationships with elusive buyers whose context can change in a nanosecond. Technology was billed as the answer. But it’s only confused the issue because the strategy is lacking. Marketing has changed—and changed fast—leaving marketers adrift without the foundation, mind-set, and skills they need to master the dynamics of digital engagement when faced with shrinking attention spans and the increasing noise and velocity of content publishing. Meanwhile, the pressure for accountability builds every day with marketers unsure how to prove what they do matters. Yet matter it does.

Marketers, to be successful, must implement highly personalized and integrated programs today in channels and manners they haven’t ever used before. The breadth of skills required to succeed in marketing has increased dramatically. For marketers used to coordinating the activities of external agencies and focusing on one stand-alone campaign at a time, a large gap in competency has been exposed.

Filling this gap will require that marketers develop customer-oriented communications, identify the distinct value that differentiates their company, make the shift from one-off communications to a continuum approach, and ensure that data and metrics are used to relate their programs to the achievement of business objectives.

More than $40 billion is spent globally each year producing and using custom content in marketing programs. But how much of that money is bringing quantifiable return on investment? How long will companies continue to spend on marketing programs that don’t help achieve business objectives?

Publishing content without a strategy isn’t moving the needle. Time, effort, and money are flushed away without a quantifiable impact on business performance. This is a serious problem for marketers. Their companies expect results. Their jobs are on the line. If not now, then soon.

Many of the marketers with whom I speak are concerned that their marketing isn’t as effective as it could be. They know that buyers and customers prefer digital information and communications, but they’re not confident in how to go about creating relevant content successfully. And, they’re deeply concerned that they won’t be able to reach their customers as the competition for attention online increases. Much of the marketing content I see lacks the personalization and targeting that is needed to do more than engage prospects or customers briefly, in the immediate moment.

This just won’t do. Buyers have changed. They’re demanding, exacting, and averse to risk. They want confident vendors that bring more to the table than their products. Buyers need strategic partners that bring expertise they don’t have to solve problems that are becoming ever more complex. Marketers have the knowledge to do so. They just need to match it with the skills required to create strategies and approaches that will result in successful execution tied to business objectives.

Creating content your audiences find useful has been the rallying cry for content marketing for at least the last five years. Quality content can be found in every medium and channel. It’s no longer enough. Business-to-business (B2B) buyers crave meaning and connection—not just utility or value. That’s a distinction that raises the bar for relevance and what marketers must achieve to create sustainable growth for their companies in the future.

Given the ease of publishing, marketers have gotten themselves into a bit of a pickle with buyers. They’ve published so much content without a strategy or the ability to speak to what matters to target markets that prospective buyers continue not to trust content produced by vendors. Buyers think vendor content is biased and lacking substantiation for the assertions it makes. Therefore they trust it less, just when we need for them to trust it more.

There is a silver lining. Buyers want to buy. They want to do so faster than they do now. They’re also solving problems they’ve never had to solve before. Your buyers know they need help finding and deploying the right solutions. But they’re stymied by the information they find online that doesn’t address what they need. They’re expending so much effort to make the right decision that it’s taking longer, involving more stakeholders, and introducing risk that keeps them from making a choice. And the inconsistency they experience across channels isn’t helping.

Marketers know relevance is critical, but they need to understand what it truly means in action and how to accomplish it. Digital Relevance will arm marketers with a comprehensive approach to learn the skills they need to correct these issues and iterate their way to being so damn relevant that their audiences can’t help but engage with them for the expertise needed to solve their problems. With this competency, they’ll help their companies reverse the credibility gap and help their buyers get on the fast track to problem resolution by creating better connections with depth of meaning. They’ll be equipped to master the contributions that content marketing can make in any digital situation, with any stakeholders, be they customers, buyers, sales teams, industries, or the executive board.

As buyers and customers become more self-sufficient at researching solutions to their problems, marketers are shouldering more of the responsibility to make sure their companies build awareness, are viewed as credible, and display enough expertise to get invited into the purchasing conversation. Digital Relevance is your guide to ensuring that this happens.”

Buy the Book on Amazon

*Note: This is an excerpt from the book Digital Relevance, Copyright 2015, Marketing Interactions, Inc. If reproduced, it must be used as-is, without edits or revisions of any kind.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

Latest Stories
Blockchain has shifted from hype to reality across many industries including Financial Services, Supply Chain, Retail, Healthcare and Government. While traditional tech and crypto organizations are generally male dominated, women have embraced blockchain technology from its inception. This is no more evident than at companies where women occupy many of the blockchain roles and leadership positions. Join this panel to hear three women in blockchain share their experience and their POV on the futu...
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Docker and Kubernetes are key elements of modern cloud native deployment automations. After building your microservices, common practice is to create docker images and create YAML files to automate the deployment with Docker and Kubernetes. Writing these YAMLs, Dockerfile descriptors are really painful and error prone.Ballerina is a new cloud-native programing language which understands the architecture around it - the compiler is environment aware of microservices directly deployable into infra...
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
In an age of borderless networks, security for the cloud and security for the corporate network can no longer be separated. Security teams are now presented with the challenge of monitoring and controlling access to these cloud environments, at the same time that developers quickly spin up new cloud instances and executives push forwards new initiatives. The vulnerabilities created by migration to the cloud, such as misconfigurations and compromised credentials, require that security teams t...
Serverless Architecture is the new paradigm shift in cloud application development. It has potential to take the fundamental benefit of cloud platform leverage to another level. "Focus on your application code, not the infrastructure" All the leading cloud platform provide services to implement Serverless architecture : AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, IBM Openwhisk, Oracle Fn Project.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
AI and machine learning disruption for Enterprises started happening in the areas such as IT operations management (ITOPs) and Cloud management and SaaS apps. In 2019 CIOs will see disruptive solutions for Cloud & Devops, AI/ML driven IT Ops and Cloud Ops. Customers want AI-driven multi-cloud operations for monitoring, detection, prevention of disruptions. Disruptions cause revenue loss, unhappy users, impacts brand reputation etc.
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
Serverless Computing or Functions as a Service (FaaS) is gaining momentum. Amazon is fueling the innovation by expanding Lambda to edge devices and content distribution network. IBM, Microsoft, and Google have their own FaaS offerings in the public cloud. There are over half-a-dozen open source serverless projects that are getting the attention of developers.
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential. DevOpsSUMMIT at CloudEXPO expands the DevOps community, enable a wide sharing of knowledge, and educate delegates and technology providers alike.