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Content Marketing Doesn't Work. Unless You Have Compelling Content (the Case for Video in Content Marketing)

One of the themes at last fall’s INBOUND16 conference was that content marketing is getting harder to do—you need amazing content to generate interest in an increasingly saturated online and social media landscape. And to a certain extent, I think that’s right.

For our clients, we need to write as if we’re the subject matter experts. Sometimes that’s pretty hard to do (a truly niche business has a language and context all its own). But more often than not, we end up doing a pretty good job writing in our clients’ voices. You usually can’t tell if we wrote the item or the client him- or herself did.

For some clients, traffic to the website or a particular page is more a matter of ego than analysis. By that I mean they’re measuring the wrong thing. For a business in a niche with few economic buyers but a large unit of sale, every single unique visit matters. There’s never going to be millions of hits to a single content item. Or even tens of thousands. Or possibly even thousands. But so what?

Measure the ROI, not the eyeballs.

The first Internet bubble was driven by nonsensical measures like eyeballs—how many people saw your stuff. I thought that most people learned their lessons when the stocks of Internet 1.0 companies crashed to earth: revenues and profits matter. We encourage our clients to look at measures that are directly related to revenue and profitability, including cost of customer acquisition, cost per (sales qualified) lead, in-year ROI and life-of-customer ROI. Other good measures are quality of customer (if you have good customer success systems, then you can see which lead sources yield the customers closest to your ideal revenue-to-utilization ratio), growth of customer value over time (upsell potential), etc.

Sometimes you can hit it big with content and generate millions of impressions.

Many of us in marketing are familiar with the Dollar Shave Club story of creating a company on the back of a viral video. It’s a great story, though I'm not sure that’s entirely the case (sounds like a risky business plan). You might not be familiar with the parkour video of a female athlete jumping and running along rooftops of Paris that’s been blowing up the Internet since late summer 2016. The video was created by My Little Paris to support its My Little Box brand. My Little Paris is a subscription seller of beauty products and publisher of email newsletters with shopping, restaurant and style tips. (I’d pitch it as ‘Daily Candy meets Birchbox’ to U.S. marketers.) . The video has more than 24 million views on Facebook. Interestingly, and showing the power of Facebook, the official Vimeo home of the video has “only” 219 thousand views.

Just for fun, watch the video below, 

L'acrobate des toits de Paris from mylittle on Vimeo.

What's in video marketing for SaaS brands and other B2B marketers?

While your B2B SaaS company won’t likely generate 25 million views of anything (at least not for a good reason), don’t limit your creativity.  About 10 years ago, TIBCO was pushing SOA (service oriented architecture) and wanted to break through the noise in the IT space. It created “Greg the Architect,” videos that—through  poking fun at the mumbo-jumbo coming from some vendors and consultants—became something of a cult classic among CIOs, tech marketers and even journalists who covered the space. The videos remain on Youtube and continue to drive traffic to TIBCO’s website (h/t to The Bateman Group, who created the series).

Whether you’re seeking to reach a thousand or a million potential customers, think about how video and other creative uses of media can get your message in front of people who can buy from you—and will be motivated to do so if you captivate their imaginations and tickle their funny bones.


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