Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, introduced this simple premise in 1965: transistor and computer-processing power would double every year. You have to admit, what we can do today with an Apple iPad versus computing power in the 1960’s is amazing.
Something similar is going on in the world of content marketing. You need to know about it. The knowledge power of buyers is growing every year. Here is what I believe I have been witnessing in buyer interviews of late:
The ability to consume, discern, assimilate, and make use of content on the part of buyers is doubling every year. You can call it Zambito’s Law of Content or something else. My prediction is that content consumption abilities on the part of buyers will double every year.
Think about this for a few seconds. If buyer’s abilities to master content are doubling every year, is your ability to inform growing at the same rate? This is profound. Buyers exposed to static content for two years straight are bound to lose interest. Fast.
Listen to this quote from a buyer interview: “I had to remind vendors that I already was educated on their type of product. I needed to know what differentiated them against the competition. Why do I want to purchase from you over the others. Had one vendor that I had to absolutely spell it out for…he did not make the short list!” – Senior Director, US Marketing
Do you think the vendor referenced has kept paced with this buyer’s knowledge level? This Senior Director’s quote says it all to me. “If content your organization produces is not keeping pace with buyers than your organization will not make the short list.”
The Big Shift
A big shift has happened in the last two to three years. The focus initially was on consuming content. After the introduction of such technology as the Apple iPad as well as social platforms, buyers began evolving their abilities in three additional areas:
- Discern: buyers today are doubling their ability each year to determine if a piece of content will be useful or not – sometimes in a matter of seconds.
- Assimilate: once buyers make the discernment that content is useful, they begin to assimilate it into their environment and become content curators.
- Make use of: here is the big shift from my perspective. Buyers are now using content to create new works to get their initiatives on the short list of funding.
Let me expand on this last point. In the 1990’s, I was introduced to the concept of derivative works by Ernst & Young. At this time, E & Y was implementing a Business Information & Knowledge Center. A key function was sending alerts to consultants on relevant journal articles. (Yes, there were alerts before Google!) Consultants would use these published journal articles to create new briefs for their clients – which we called derivative works. What is happening today is that buyers are now doing the same.
Buyers make use of content they have acquired, assimilated, and curated to create new works, which further their efforts.
Here is how one interviewee put it to me: “What I do is collect and review a lot of information. I spend time making sense of it and taking out the pieces, I need. Then I prepare a report, using the information I gathered, with recommendations to give to the team on how we may want to proceed.” – Vice President, Strategic IT Planning
Are you getting this? This Vice President is not only looking for content, which informs but also to create briefs that support a position or point of view!
How Do We Keep Pace?
In my previous article entitled Content Marketing: Stuck at 36%, I touched upon how only 36% of businesses from a CMI survey believed their content is effective.
One major reason why content is ineffective is due to not keeping pace with the knowledge level of buyers. This brings us to the question of – how do we keep pace?
There are four key elements to consider:
- Understanding of your buyers: insight into the knowledge level of your buyers is best obtained from third party buyer research. My point of view: do not skimp here.
- Develop a strategy: in my previous article entitled Content Marketing: Are You Part of the 38%?, I touched upon only 38% of surveyed businesses having a content strategy. My point of view: take time to formulate a content strategy based on buyer research – do not make it up.
- Put structure in place: be purposeful by creating an Internal Content Marketing Agency. My point of view : do not make content marketing an orphan child.
- Acquire talent: get the right content creation talent with the right skills. Do the proper talent assessment. My point of view: adding a line to an existing job description role and calling someone a content marketer will not work.
The future of content marketing hinges upon keeping pace with the evolving knowledge of buyers. These suggested four steps help you to do so.
In my previous article, I extended an invitation to participate in the Future of Content Marketing Survey. These are interesting times bound to reveal interesting results. Participate in the discussion by taking the survey. It is anonymous and privacy assured. What matters more is your input. I will be keeping the survey open for two more weeks and my commitment is to publish an article on the results.
Please take the survey here: The Future of Content Marketing Survey
In human terms, we are fast learners and adaptive. As in other areas of technology today, Gordon Moore was onto something when it came to humans doubling computer-processing power every year. This same phenomenon is happening in the world of content marketing. Are you ready to keep pace?