SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

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
Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. It even comes with Prometheus to store the metrics for you and pre-built Grafana dashboards to show exactly what is important for your services - success rate, latency, and throughput. In this session, we'll explain what Linkerd provides for you, demo the installation of Linkerd on Kubernetes and debug a real world problem. We will also dig into what functionality you can build on ...
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get tailored market studies; and more.
Most organizations are awash today in data and IT systems, yet they're still struggling mightily to use these invaluable assets to meet the rising demand for new digital solutions and customer experiences that drive innovation and growth. What's lacking are potent and effective ways to rapidly combine together on-premises IT and the numerous commercial clouds that the average organization has in place today into effective new business solutions. New research shows that delivering on multicloud e...
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
Take advantage of autoscaling, and high availability for Kubernetes with no worry about infrastructure. Be the Rockstar and avoid all the hurdles of deploying Kubernetes. So Why not take Heat and automate the setup of your Kubernetes cluster? Why not give project owners a Heat Stack to deploy Kubernetes whenever they want to? Hoping to share how anyone can use Heat to deploy Kubernetes on OpenStack and customize to their liking. This is a tried and true method that I've used on my OpenSta...
DevOps is a world surrounded by information, starting from a single commit and ending in roll out to production. In this talk, I'll introduce you to the world of Taboola DevOps data collection, to better understand what goes on under the hood. The system we've developed in-house helps us collect and analyse the entire DevOps process from the very first commit all the way to production. It provides us a full clear view with a drill-down toolset that helps keep us away from the dark side. ...
We at Capgemini have developed a cloud-native PaaS Solution called "Apollo". Apollo is built on top of following open source components. - Apache Mesos for cluster management, scheduling & resource isolation - Marathon or Kubernetes for Container orchestration - Docker for application container runtime, - Consul for service discovery via DNS - Weave for networking of Docker Containers - Traefik for application container load balancing
After years of investments and acquisitions, CloudBlue was created with the goal of building the world's only hyperscale digital platform with an increasingly infinite ecosystem and proven go-to-market services. The result? An unmatched platform that helps customers streamline cloud operations, save time and money, and revolutionize their businesses overnight. Today, the platform operates in more than 45 countries and powers more than 200 of the world's largest cloud marketplaces, managing mo...
With digital video content creation going viral and assuming the bulk of Internet traffic, how can the deluge of video content be analyzed effectively to derive insights and ROI? After all, video is not only huge in size, but it is complex given various visual, audio and temporal elements. Video summarization (a mechanism for generating a short video summary via key frame analysis or video skimming) has become a popular research topic industry-wide and across academia. Video thumbnail generation...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
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.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio a...
Containerized software is riding a wave of growth, according to latest RightScale survey. At Sematext we see this growth trend via our Docker monitoring adoption and via Sematext Docker Agent popularity on Docker Hub, where it crossed 1M+ pulls line. This rapid rise of containers now makes Docker the top DevOps tool among those included in RightScale survey. Overall Docker adoption surged to 35 percent, while Kubernetes adoption doubled, going from 7% in 2016 to 14% percent.
Technology has changed tremendously in the last 20 years. From onion architectures to APIs to microservices to cloud and containers, the technology artifacts shipped by teams has changed. And that's not all - roles have changed too. Functional silos have been replaced by cross-functional teams, the skill sets people need to have has been redefined and the tools and approaches for how software is developed and delivered has transformed. When we move from highly defined rigid roles and systems to ...
Even if your IT and support staff are well versed in agility and cloud technologies, it can be an uphill battle to establish a DevOps style culture - one where continuous improvement of both products and service delivery is expected and respected and all departments work together throughout a client or service engagement. As a service-oriented provider of cloud and data center technology, Green House Data sought to create more of a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, from our helpd...