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June 3, 2012

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How to maximize the effect of your marketing materials?

by Tom De Baere

B2B marketing organizations create many marketing materials, or execute different types of outbound marketing activities.

As explained in some of my previous posts on the increasing ineffectiveness of marketing materials, for example press releases or advertisements, today’s marketers need to adapt their marketing strategy to fit the needs of today’s buyers who are on-line and make use of search engines and social media networks.

What can you do to make your marketing materials effective?

  1. Make them relevant: without a listening process, you have no clue what your customers want. Of course your marketing materials need to look good, but the materials and the content of the materials need to be what your customers want.
  2. Make them authentic: today’s buyers can smell unauthentic materials from miles away. The golden rule is: don’t write anything down unless you immediately can proof it. Don’t inflate numbers, not even when your competition is doing this, because your customers will trust you more because you promise realistic gains.
  3. Set your content free: too often we are afraid that the competition might steal our ideas of get access to our marketing materials. But at the same time your customers AND Google have no access to it. Set it free, on several platforms, and promote it on all social networks your customers are using.

A few examples of how NOT to create content.

If your customer testimonials are polished like hell, end-users will know almost immediately it is not authentic. Before they even start reading, they know it will be the perfect story: a whole team of Marcom people have been working to make it a 100% positive story, and as such end-users are naturally inclined to “not-trust” this material.

In short: go for relevant and authentic. 

 

If your e-mails are about your products, and less about the issues and challenges of our customers, and wonder why they are unsuccessful, think again: what would you prefer to read? Information that will help your business, or a commercial message that does not help you?

In short: don’t talk about you, but about your customers

 

You are spending a great deal of effort in getting speaking slots at events, and creating materials for these speaking slots.

You are not publishing this on your website because you are afraid your competitors might get access to it. But at the same time this material, which reflects your vision and thought leadership about a certain topic are not made public, and as such is not visible to your buyers or Google.

Why not publish the event, the topic, the speakers bio, the abstracts, a link to the organizers website etc… on your website? This would certainly add to the overall credibility of your company and it’s know-how.

In short: publish your content freely so your customers have access to it.

 

Are you developing webinar content for the sake of organizing a webinar? Are you publishing the webinar recording on your website?

Publishing that valuable content will make it stick to the Internet and does not disappear once you finished the webinar. Or why not publish the Powerpoint presentation that was used during the webinar on Slideshare?

 

Editorials for trade magazines: Creating content for magazines can quite labor intensive, but the rewards can be high. Usually these texts end-up in magazines, occasionally on the web, but increasingly in e-zine format, which is difficult to read or find. Are you publishing these stories on your website?

In short: publish them not only in magazines, but everywhere you can.

 

Turning your creation process upside-down

If you have read this far, thank you. I think you get the message.

The whole process of creating marketing materials must be turned upside-down:

  • Cluster audiences into people that buy,
  • Startup a listening process to understand what buyers find interesting,
  • Communicate to them with messages that help to solve their personal professional problems.
That’s it. Go ahead and turn your creation process upside-down.
Warm regards,
Tom De Baere

 

  • Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had wrteitn and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for rookie blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    • Tom De Baere

      Hi Andrey. Sorry for the delay, and sorry my blog ate your first comment. I’ve been on holiday.

      I consider myself also a rookie blogger, but if you start connecting with leading bloggers on Twitter, you’ll get some great tweets pointing you to some great online resources explaining important things about blogging. I would recommend first to listen and monitor how they do it, read lot’s of post on how to start blogging, write articles, how to set-up a post, what to do and what not etc…