Are You Tapping the World of Content Marketing?
Have you noticed that your competitors are sending out more newsletters these days? Posting more white papers? Increasing their investment in blogs and social media? It's the rise in power and influence of content marketing.
According to a study from HiveFire, 82% of B2B marketers now use content marketing programs. This is more than those using search marketing (70%), event marketing (68%), and public relations (64%).
What exactly is content marketing? It is using content such as newsletters, white papers, video portals, and blogs to engage customers or prospects.
The idea is that timely, relevant information will engage the target audience, develop or reinforce brand awareness, and maintain client loyalty.
In a world of Web templates and stock imagery that, on the surface, creates an environment in which all brands can look the same, content marketing can capture mindshare and create real competitive differentiation.
How are marketers using content marketing? According to HiveFire, the primary motivators are to engage prospects and drive sales both directly and indirectly by educating the marketplace. They are also using it to increase Web traffic.
How Are You Using Content Marketing?
- Engage prospects 82%
- Drive sales 55%
- Educate the market 44%
- Increase Web traffic 43%
- Stay up to date on competitors 29%
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 19%
- Thought leadership 2%
Source: HiveFire's B2B Marketing Trends 2011 Report based on a survey of 365 B2B marketers
Content marketing is profitable. When one provider of security incident and events management (SIEM) wanted to improve its lead generation, for example, it used content marketing to build brand awareness during the early research stage of the buying cycle. It created a library of vendor-neutral information, then used that content as bait to attract potential prospects.
The company used the information gathered through content marketing to identify which recipients were interested in which content. Then it used a scoring methodology to determine when prospects were most likely to be ready to buy.
The result? The company improved its qualified lead generation process and boosted revenues by 38%.
Creative Suite Moves to The Cloud
One of the best ways to make yourself indispensable is to pass along information useful to those you do business with. Here is some big news that bears sharing, especially if you are a designer or know someone who is.
The Adobe Creative Suite is going into the cloud. You will no longer be able to purchase the suite or individual programs like Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator without a cloud-based subscription. For Adobe, the move builds a recurring revenue stream. For designers, it provides access to the most recent versions of these programs at all times.
Adobe is charging $50 per month for new customers to access the entire suite. For those who already own Adobe’s Creative Suite software, staying up to date will cost $30 per month. If you want to license only a single app, you can do that for $20 per month. If you want to license the software on a short-term basis to handle a single project, you can do that too.
The benefit? Always having access to the most recent version. The drawback? A monthly charge whether you choose to take advantage of the upgrades or not. For many, the transition is no big deal. They simply build it into their cost model and billing for clients. Others prefer to avoid the monthly charge by continuing to use their existing software as long as they possibly can.
If you are still evaluating the switch, here are some common misconceptions to keep in mind.
1. Creative Cloud subscriptions require Internet access in order for the software to work.
Not true. Adobe software will reside on your hard drive as it always has. Occasional connections are required to download (optional) updates and verify that your subscription is up to date.
2. If you cancel your subscription, you cannot access your files.
Not true. If you cancel, the files remain yours, although your access to the software will be restricted.
3. You will have to upgrade whether you want to or not.
Not true. You only upgrade when you want to. Plus, if you need to access an older version, Adobe will retain an archive that you can access at any time.
Knowing the facts about the transition can help you make important decisions that impact your business.