Welcome!

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
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...