Content Marketing for Demand Generation
Well, here we are about to cross over into the eleventh month of 2021, and I think we can all agree that this past year was strange, disruptive, and has thrust us all into uncharted ground in terms of demand creation tactics. If we thought content marketing was evolving quickly since 2020, as we go into 2022, we’ll be saying, “Hold my beer.”
Recently, there’s been more pressure to develop trustworthy content while increasing demand for our products and services. For many agencies, the push to be more digital, create more direct interactions with customers, and do it all from the comfort of working from home has skyrocketed.
There's Been a Pivot in the Evolution
Before 2020, the goals were to generate material that could be found via search and to meet the information demands of potential customers. But that is no longer sufficient. We must spark new inquiries and desires going into 2022 and provide the next greatest experience to satisfy them.
User experiences that are both personal and individualized (yes, those are two different things) are increasingly essential. In many ways, our content now has to act as a stand-in for the in-person experiences we provided to potential customers in the past. Much of the professional world has shifted from in-person conferences, retail shopping, and meetings to many of our daily activities being done via internet.
Content from influencers, executives, marketing, sales, customer service managers, and even other customers is now used to govern and feed today’s digital experiences more often than in-person ones.
As a result, when selling products or services, the plethora of digital content developed to supply the demand is inextricably linked to the success of a business and will reflect (positively or negatively) on your company’s ability to develop it.
Simply put, is it still possible to get original quality content? It’s possible and absolutely crucial.
Demand Generation Through Connected Experiences is a New Focus
Internal siloes were mentioned in CMI’s 2019 Content Marketing for Demand Generation Survey study. Steven Sinofsky, the former president of Microsoft’s Windows division, warned us not to “ship the org chart.” The concept is still valid. You’re doomed to communicate in the manner in which your firm is structured.
The takeaway is that you should de-silo and structure your firm so that you can create consistent and useful communications with your audiences. While progress has been achieved, many demand generation initiatives are still struggling due to the walled nature of their organizations.
This problem hasn’t gone away in 2021, and it’s been compounded by the pandemic-related “lockdowns” that every organization has had to deal with. Add to that the growing pressure on demand generation marketers to connect digital experiences more deeply in order to obtain a deeper understanding of their prospective customers’ needs and desires.
The third annual Content Marketing for Demand Generation Survey, sponsored by Vidyard, was conducted by the CMI research team in August 2020. A total of 229 replies were qualified for examination (representing 24 nations).
Many of the findings were similar to what we discovered in 2019. Demand generation marketers, on the other hand, are far more concerned with figuring out how to negotiate the hurdles of 2020 (and now 2021) than with modifying their approach to using content in demand generation campaigns. Simply put, the emphasis is on content – what to develop and where to publish it – rather than how to run content-related demand generation within the company.
E-books, for example, were the only content type that showed a significant difference from the previous year in terms of effectiveness based on the purchase stages at various points of the buying journey. They were found to be more effective in the middle stage (50%) than in the early stage (20%). The converse was true the year before when e-books were assessed as being more effective in the early stages (56 percent) than in the intermediate stages (44 percent). This data implies that demand generation marketers are employing e-books to deliver meatier material to customers during the nurturing stage of the customer journey.
Year in the Upside Down
2020 was a “year in the upside-down” (to use a phrase from Netflix’s Stranger Things series). Virtual events, such as webinars and conferences, have risen in importance, for example. In the previous 12 months, slightly more than half (56 percent) had sponsored virtual events for demand generating goals. And 71% of those polled felt virtual events were “somewhat” or “much” more essential than pre-pandemic in-person gatherings.
Businesses that succeeded in 2021 focused on creating and connecting content-driven experiences that are centered on what prospective customers care about based on interests, questions, requirements, and wants. They’re putting want at the heart of everything they do.
More significantly, they’re utilizing technology to connect those digital experiences in order to gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ journeys, and as a result, they’re fuelling a comprehensive, de-siloed organizational capability to produce better, more interesting content.
This new study might assist you in planning your company’s race. If you want content marketing to be a valuable – and growing – part of your demand generation plan, you’ll need to invest in it like any other important business strategy. This research could help support that investment rationale.
This is something we are aware of.
So, what’s the catch?
It’s possible that your competition has already made their argument. It’s possible that the C-suite will no longer need to be persuaded that this content marketing shift is a smart idea. It’s time for you to get started.
Perhaps 2021 will be remembered as the year when the smoke and excitement surrounding content marketing for demand generation dissipated, and we saw it in action. All we have to do now is evolve.
That is not a simple task. But this is the right time. The race has begun.
Thank you for stopping by today!
If you’d like some help with creating a demand generation campaign, we’d love to connect with you!
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If you enjoyed this article, you might also like: What Is Demand Generation?
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