Blogs, books, and by-lined articles seem to suggest that every company should execute Content Marketing the same way. But how you go about it and what results you can expect are tied to the adoption lifecycle for your type of solution.
Here’s an infographic that illustrates how both the volume of content viewers as well as content produced by the initial market leader (blue line) and all other competitors (red) vary by adoption lifecycle stage (a variation on Geoffrey Moore’s Technology Adoption Life Cycle).
|Brand New||At this stage, prospects have latent pain (they don’t know or believe a viable solution exists to their pain) The first entrant (defacto leader at this stage) could post a library of content but few prospects, if any, are looking for it – though prospective competitors may be trolling for information. The leader’s content focus is on sales materials used to convince early adopters. Most early adopters are found the old-fashioned way – networking and cold-calling. Getting content into the hands of early prospects is typically through “hand-delivery.”|
|Initial Buyers||The leader mines initial sales to early adopters for success stories to convince other prospects that buying this solution is a good move. The leader now engages in social marketing and appears at events in discussions about the limitation of the “old” approach. Slowly, the leader builds up social media followers. But competitors are hot on the leader’s heels. The Content Marketing arms race is on to see who can claim first place in thought leadership.|
|Tornado||The leader can’t win on content volume – multiple competitors come out with “me-too” version of each effective piece. The size and quality of your distribution network will be key now, along with creative approaches to content generation: easier to understand, more intuitive, more graphic, or more authoritative (coming from recognized experts)|
|Main Street||Now many prospects have settled on a vendor. The volume of sales slows so there are fewer viewers to intercept. But the pressure to produce fresh content continues. Only now the cost of Content Marketing divided by the number of new customers inflates the cost of acquisition. Savvy marketers look for ways to renew and reuse old content to keep costs down.|
|Mature||With luck, competitors drop out or get acquired, because there are many fewer accounts to win. Competitors start to “verticalize” Content Marketing for their target market segments.|
The key take-aways are:
- Publishing content during the Brand New stage may educate more competitors than prospects. Until prospects begin to actively search, “hand-delivering” content helps you fly under the radar.
- In the Initial Buyers stage, mine testimonials, success stories, and insights to build your readership and reputation
- By the Tornado stage, you should be prepared for a content arms race. Step on the gas and don’t let up.
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