When WRADAR was formed we believed we’d created a revolutionary approach. There were new ways to generate leads that not only made our services more effective, but meant not having to dial the phone all day, which basically made the day job a whole lot more appealing. The world was moving forward and we could see how.
In response, we developed a multi-channel business model that put tools like social, email marketing and content at its heart. It was all very fresh and exciting.
Full disclosure: it ain’t so revolutionary any more…
A very wise events industry man recently told me that ‘sales’ was getting harder. Not because his staff couldn’t find leads, but actually the opposite: there were too many, mainly of poor quality. In a desperate land grab for all things digital, events businesses, he said, had created an industry that operated almost purely on an enquiry form basis, with countless suppliers receiving the same notifications for the same projects, many of which were mismatched and bought purely on price. Yes, volume was up, but conversion and value were down.
I’m pretty sure the events industry isn’t alone, which brings me on to content.
Most people agree that challenge-based targeting and associated content is a great way to find and reach new prospects. Marketers and agencies know it, buyers know it and so do end-users. Everyone’s at it. And here lies the problem. Just as the revolution always eats itself, it’s feeling like we’ve created a bit of a mini-monster.
Insight, life hacks, downloads and infographics. Chatter. Shouting into the void. The infinite 6am LinkedIn feed. It’s like a lot of this stuff got pretty meaningless and disconnected which, I think, is having a knock-on effect on business. Our business, our customers’ businesses, probably our competitor’s too. Can anyone really be bothered to listen?
So, what’s the answer?
One, recognise that there’s a difference between content and good content. I think that you have to proactively be part of the solution. Don’t just put out three pieces out a week because you think it keeps the profile up, just do it when you have something to say. If what you’re saying means something, your audience will listen. Here’s some examples of people I think do it right:
- Glen Carlson and the team at Dent Global deliver on an almost daily basis but keep it quick, easy to absorb and useful. It never gets boring, it always has a value.
- Leeds based branding agency Robot Food and Founder Simon Forster impress me; it’s largely show pieces of their work or commentary on other’s, but it’s underpinned by references to process as well as a tonality that’s always true to form. It’s brand building through clarity of purpose and attitude.
- Sir Martin Sorell practices the low volume, high value approach that captures big engagement at the highest possible level. It’s a polished and tight.
- I really like Tom Goodwin’s stuff because it’s unashamedly challenging. His future focused attitude and opinion and line up perfectly with his personal brand and what he’s employed to do.
- And Chris ‘Kubby’ Kubbernus absolutely nailed it here by having the nuts to challenge Simon Sinek’s ‘Why’ model. I don’t even know if I agree but I totally respect the approach.
Two, thinking more directly about sales, as effective as good content is, sometimes the answer to finding the best quality leads is a simple process of filtering.
Of the hundreds of thousands of potential prospects in your market, you should probably only be working with a few, especially if you’re selling a high-value service that puts people and their approach at the centre of things to succeed. Really, how many ‘partners’ can be right? And, if that’s the case, these people are as likely to notice if you reach out directly or at least create smart content that’s specifically relevant to them.
Why take the long route when you can go the short way round? This might be hard to swallow for the inbound crowd but not everything has to be so drawn out…Yes, content is a good thing, it’s required, but it’s no substitute for direct relationship building with the people that count. No matter how ‘multi-channel’ your approach is, you still need to invest in intelligent, highly skilled people who can help your business do just that. Expecting poorly planned, low value content to be a substitute is lazy and simply won’t work. Besides, it’s giving us all a headache.