Competitive athletes know that momentum can make all the difference in winning games. You develop momentum by either executing a well thought out strategy or making a spectacular play that shakes up the competition. When you have momentum you play your game and emphasize your strengths. When you lose momentum, you have to figure out how to get it back by making adjustments.
Marketing momentum in a competitive environment has many similarities. You can develop it through a well thought out strategy followed by focused execution. Depending upon spectacular big events to develop marketing momentum is risky and hard to do but not unheard of.
The big difference between sports and B2B marketing is timing. Games are over in minutes or hours. Marketing takes months to deliver outcomes.
Over the long haul building momentum allows a company to drive growth up as marketing spend as a percentage of revenue goes down. A startup, or a company that has lost market momentum, needs to invest to create momentum. Constraining marketing activities to point events, periodic campaigns, or to activities dictated by limited cash flow, will not generate momentum. Managing marketing expense is fundamentally different from investing to create momentum.
Experienced managers know that losing market momentum can be the beginning of a downward spiral that doesn’t end well. If cash strapped, they look for new sources of capital to allow investment in marketing. They also may look at cutting costs in other areas of the business that are not revenue related. Just as important, they focus on making the adjustments to their marketing strategy and execution that will get them back in the game.
Many B2B companies have lost market momentum by getting lost in the noise competing for customers’ attention. They talk about their products or services and not about customers’ problems. They send out emails to thousands of people hoping for a handful of leads. They produce lengthy whitepapers that are gated on a website, sitting unread. They think videos are too expensive and treat video and social media as a fad. In the end, they hope expensive sales people can pick up the slack by being the primary source of new leads. Really good sales people see this as a sign to move on.
Customers have changed. They are now in control of their buying process. Customers research their problems, potential solutions, and buying criteria online before they engage with sales people. Buyers connect with relevant and actionable content. They search for content on the Internet, in social media, on YouTube, and other platforms. They are browsing on personal computers, smartphones, and tablets.
Today, investing in market momentum requires a customer centric content strategy. Connecting with buyers requires an understanding of their problems, information needs, buying process, and their preferred sources of knowledge. Buyers also want content that reflects an understanding of their industry, geography, and language. A one size fits all mentality for content will not work.
Building marketing momentum through content can appear to be a daunting and expensive proposition if you think about content in the traditional way. Knowing that a continuous stream of relevant content is going to be required over the long haul requires a different approach. “Thinking like a publisher,” delivers on this requirement.
Publishers have to put out content in a steady, predictable manner. The operations process for producing publications is similar to a manufacturing process. A publication, or even a particular story, is not an end to end production by a single individual. Teams of specialists assemble component research, graphics, video, and storytelling into a finished content asset through a coordinated process. Much like a factory, tasks are optimized to support volume production, low cost, high quality, speed, and extensibility. Publishers make this work every day.
Startups and marketing organizations that have lost their way can afford to get back in the game. However, the game has changed. Investing in market momentum through content requires different thinking and a commitment to a content strategy. Using content that can be found by the people you sell to will reduce overall revenue generating expense while growing revenues. It is a strategy you can develop the momentum to win with.