Are You Nurturing or Nagging?

CMO: Numbers that Count

“Content is king” may be one of the most overused phrases in online marketing. However, the importance of relevant content in a marketing strategy cannot be overstressed, and content marketing is not going away anytime soon. IDG Enterprise’s recent Customer Engagement research not only reinforces the crucial role of content during the IT purchase process, but also reveals that quality, quantity, timing and follow-up are all key components to be considered when developing a lead nurturing campaign.

IT decision-makers (ITDMs) thirst for unbiased, relevant content as they investigate new products and solutions for their organization, opening the door for tech solution providers to share their thought leadership and build relationships. However, ongoing communication with a prospect after they have engaged with a vendor’s asset/content (lead nurturing) does not happen overnight and must be carefully designed to be effective.

Although IT decision-makers do consume a significant amount of content, it is pertinent to understand quantity and timing preferences for optimal information delivery and how it connects to the sales process. Just 3% of respondents report that they are receptive to being contacted by a sales person after consuming one piece of content related to a purchase. Does that mean they are not a serious lead? No, this just emphasizes the importance of lead nurturing.

Registering to access a piece of content does increase familiarity and openness to receiving additional related content. Two-thirds of respondents are receptive to being sent content related to the assets they have registered to receive. However, delivery of related content must also be timely. After an initial asset is downloaded, Enterprise ITDMs appreciate receiving an additional 2 pieces of related content within 4 weeks. Typically, ITDMs consume 5 pieces of content prior to being ready to speak with a sales representative and they typically consume 8 pieces of content, created by, or on behalf of the solution provider/partner they eventually select. The best time for solution providers to contact ITDMs is within 6 days of them downloading and consuming their desired amount of content.

Marketers must carefully examine existing content and lead nurturing strategies to ensure that they are meeting the expectations of tech buyers and getting the most out of their content marketing dollars. However, even the most carefully planned content marketing strategy will not be successful without sufficient follow-through. This research captures a significant gap in the communications that ITDMs expect to have with solution providers throughout the purchase process and what those providers deliver. Marketing and sales need to collaborate more effectively throughout the lead scoring process and to the point of ‘sales readiness’ to ensure leads are contacted within an average of just 6 days after the appropriate level of content has been consumed. Only through this partnership will leads effectively convert to sales.

How involved is your sales team in your content marketing efforts?

Do you feel that your content strategy meets the expectations of tech buyers?

Source: Customer Engagement: The Role of Content in the IT Purchase Process, IDG Enterprise, 2012

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