One of the most common questions when I'm selling inbound marketing services to startups is this:
"How will you write about X when are are not an expert in X like we are?"
Good question. After all, I do spend a lot of time selling into companies that serve a niche market (often offering a breakthrough product or service which only exists thanks to said founders). I do encounter this question quite often.
My response comes in the form of another question:
"Are you selling to folks that posess the same level of technical knowledge and expertise as you?"
Pause. Deep breath.
Enter aha moment: it's all about the buyers.
By definition, content marketing exists in order to create a relationship based on value with the buyer.
In order to provide value, your content must meet the following criteria:
- Contain useful information that helps or solves an issue that the buyer is facing.
- Speak directly to the buyer's needs.
- Provide a message which is communicated in a format that the buyer understands.
When you consider this, it seems basic, right? Of course our content needs to align with the customers (JARGON ALERT: buyer personas) that we are targeting. However, you'd be surprised how often a lack of alignment exists between messaging, content and buyer needs. When this happens, at least one of the following three reasons is typically to blame:
- There is lack of definition or understanding of the buyer. How can you communicate with the buyer when you don't know who she is? You can't! But many times we think that we understand the buyer more than we actually do. It's important to spell it out through a formerly developed buyer persona.
- The startup is so excited over their breakthrough that they've developred or what they have to say that they forget that their message won't resonate with everyone (what's important to you, isn't necessarily important to your buyer). Often, this presents in the form of "getting too technical."
- The startup founders or leaders have an ego problem. When this happens, the attitude is "what we are saying is important to our CEO and/or founder, so it doesn't matter what the buyer thinks or needs."
Regardless of the reason, when the marketing strategy (and resulting content and messaging) is not aligned with the buyer, marketing and sales results suffer and the buyer never gets the message.
If nothing else, in this fast-paced world of marketing that we live in, remember this: the buyer is everything. The ability to communicate with the buyer in a way that ignites action in the pipeline is the goal. Without the buyer, your breakthrough technology means nothing.
Of course, this unrelenting focus on and understanding of the buyer is one of the reasons why just anyone can't do marketing. ;)