Earlier this month Content Marketing World took place in Cleveland, OH and continued its mission to educate the world on the evolution of marketing. CMI’s message is consistent and unwavering and centers on the belief that marketing is never stagnant. It evolves just like our businesses do and counts on astute professionals to not just react, but to direct its today, tomorrow and beyond. Brand publishing and content marketing are at the core of the “now” and look to be the “now” for many years to come, perhaps decades.
I spend most of my workday discussing the fine art of brand publishing (and content marketing) in relation to a B2B marketplace. Most of the companies I work with design and make engineered systems used in the water and wastewater market. Many companies in this space have been in business for over 30-40 years and have done plenty of conventional outbound marketing over those years. Print, direct mail, hundreds of trade shows, etc. all stand as historic monuments to the standard marketing practices of the day.
What is the effect of the baby boomer-to-millennial personnel changeover as it relates to technology, knowledge transfer, and the future of the water industry? Water Online surveyed technology providers who serve the utility and engineering community on their perceptions of and preparations for the transition.
What’s the time? Is it lunchtime yet? I don’t have the time to get all of this accomplished? I can find the time. Is it that time already?
What is your growth strategy? Are you focused on trying to expand market share in your current area of expertise? Maybe you’ve got a new product coming out of R&D efforts? Or you’re making a channel move down the value chain from selling product to providing services and a broader solution sale? Have you considered selling to new customers in adjacent industries? Or are you pursuing mergers or acquisitions to fuel growth?
What does it mean to become a “trusted partner” of a prospective customer, or even a current one? Is it really possible to separate your brand and company from all the competitors making their “sales pitch” to the target audience you share? The answer of course is a resounding “YES!” and it’s being done all around us. The formula isn’t a difficult one to work out. In fact it’s a lot easier than the old style methods of book it, push it, and hope-for-the-best type tactics that ruled the landscape for decades.
Unless the buyer is at the very end of his purchasing cycle and simply looking for a quote to compare vendors and award the sale to the most attractive bid (often the cheapest), sales-oriented marketing material is not going to help you win favor at the critical early stage of the buying cycle.
I was talking to a colleague of mine the other day about webinars. We were discussing what makes a webinar successful. And I realized that the same measures of success can be applied to most any type of marketing content.
It’s been 26 years since the World Wide Web became publicly accessible and the Information Age was born. Over that time, we’ve seen more and more information become instantly available to the point where many would argue, we now have too much of it. “Fake News” has become the leading political accusation of the day, suggesting that we might now be extending ourselves beyond information into the Disinformation Age.
At ACE 2017 last month in Philadelphia I had the opportunity to join many market leaders on air as part of Water Talk (formerly the world famous Water Online Radio). It was revealing to see how the water utility market has evolved when you compare the topics discussed at ACE 2013 with those discussed at ACE 2017. Four years ago, conversations centered on the virtues of specific product features, in an attempt to differentiate offerings from similar products. This year’s dialog had little to do with tangible products themselves. Instead, it was heavily focused on the concept of “Big Data”. Interviewees not only discussed what Big Data is but more importantly, how it can be interpreted and what it means for water utilities.