One of the ‘cold’ marketing searches I occasionally do is to find up-and-coming companies in my niche who could benefit from the tactical implementation of a content marketing strategy. (BlueMile Inc Marketing folks; if you’re reading here, please see the section all about your website near the end of this post…)
These are IT (networking) companies with solid products and services where technology-savvy customers are looking for (aka ‘demanding) ‘feature-rich’ solutions.
But the old rules of marketing, nay human psychology, still apply. Namely, that people will buy on emotions and justify with logic. This means even knowledgeable and level-headed b2b prospects will be partly swayed by emotional responses to the problem confronting them and to a vendor’s suggested solution.
Any marketing approach that ignores the prospect’s logical or emotional responses will dilute its sales effectiveness i.e. you won’t sell Jack!
For technology buyers and marketers it’s usually a given that the feature sets stand out strongly. I came from a computer networking geek background and long admired the bells and whistles that vendors built into their offerings. Even implementation manuals sometimes held a special place in my digital heart!
However, go two or three levels up the tech management org chart and any such attachment is mostly reduced to hacking away at the cells in a capex spreadsheet! For sure, the peer level managers on the business side will have little to no interest in technical features. They’re not even sure they ‘need’ IT these days…
Enter The Content Marketing Strategy
This is where things get real interesting because a content marketing strategy can help educate prospects on the proven solutions to the biggest problems they face in their business.
How is this done?
There are many tactical ways to reach/attract and educate your ideal prospects online e.g. regular blogging, audio podcasts, video, webinars, white papers and customer case studies are some of the popular tools being used.
Over time, the educational nature of the content marketing path can help nurture those prospects who begin to trust what you’re saying and proposing. This is ethical marketing and good for business.
Which brings me to one of the IT networking companies I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
BlueMile’s Web Site Has Plenty of Features…
Take a look at the BlueMile Inc Web Site. (Dec 2016 post update: Blue Mile were acquired by WOW! in 2013.)
They’re a Columbus, Ohio-based service provider with a range of technical solutions for local, national and international customers.
It’s all quite impressive and they’re doing a good job (remember they’re less than 50 people, if I recall correctly) at showing their technology options. Exactly the sort of thing I’d be checking out if I was interested in matching their capabilities against my requirements. In fact, my logical, network engineering mind would be hunting around for specs, data sheets, data center operational statistics etc.
From the perspective of a technology marketing writer the next steps are to add the business benefits into the case their website is making for doing business with them. (Of course, business is not won or lost solely on web site content. But it has a significant impact on prospects, especially those who are not yet looking for your solution. Just give it a year or two, however…)
Here are a number of ways to start doing this:
1- Turn the
CEO’s whiteboard video sessions (Oct 2011 Update: the url link is broken) into a series of white papers, blog posts and even podcasts. The raw material is there ready to be re-purposed (my favorite content marketing buzz phrase at the moment!)
2- Start a blog or multiple blogs and use some of the staff featured in that fine home page staff photo to help come up with the content. Any good marketing writer will have an interviewing skill set they can draw on to extract the nuggets of wisdom and experience that form the core of useful posts.
3- Pick the key market you want more business from and create several customer case studies that show the business benefits and problems resolved or averted by choosing to partner with BlueMile Inc. (You’ll notice that BlueMile have started down the case study road by featuring some case studies from their partners. It’s only a matter of time, in my opinion, before they have a whole web page of their own.)
You might be wondering what sort of interest I have in this company. Well, go back and read the first paragraph of this post again. People do like to read constructive and positive things about themselves and their businesses. I know I certainly do.
And from checking freely available sources on the Internet, I suspect they are looking seriously at increasing their content marketing efforts. Carpes diem.
Anyway, regardless of where my horse comes in that particular ‘race’, there are probably marketing managers of other IT companies out there who will come across this very post. Yes, this blog does serve as one of my very own content marketing outposts 😉
Feel free to contact me about all things white papers, case studies and a ton of other technology copywriting projects.
– Mark ‘freelance technology marketing writer‘ McClure