I might make this topic a continuing series. Sort of a public service announcement, every six months or so. The corporate marketing equivalent of reminding you to change batteries on your smoke detectors twice each year. Here goes:
Conduct a thorough audit of your communications touch points, asking as you do this important question:
Where in our marketing, sales and customer service continuum do our most important audiences encounter a content desert?
Last time I issued this warning, I described it this way:
Think about the process of providing relevant, useful or entertaining content as cultivating an “engagement oasis” for the audiences you wish to attract and serve. A welcoming place where they can derive value and feel nurtured by your business and brand.
Now think of doing the exact opposite, either purposefully or unwittingly. Allowing a place on that continuum where your organization makes little or no effort to provide information, interactions or experiences of value. Or, perhaps worse yet, where you bombard y0ur audience with purely promotional, “let us tell you more about us” messages.
In retrospect, I might have been wrong about the “worse yet.” At least pummeling your audiences with promotional messaging suggests you’re awake and interested in making some sort of connection. But when your brand and value are completely absent. When your audiences encounter the engagement equivalent of tumble weeds rolling across a parched, dusty landscape. Those might be bleakest, most arid content deserts of them all.
As Buzzards Circled Overhead…
Here’s my latest example.
Last Friday I called the headquarters of a large business. A global enterprise with nearly $7 billion in sales and more than 20,000 employees worldwide. I called to connect with a corporate marketing employee. But I could just as easily have been a customer or prospective customer, calling to reach a sales rep or customer service.
My attempts to pronounce the employee’s name so that it would be recognized and routed by the voice recognition software failed. Multiple times. So I pressed “0” in hopes of reaching a live operator. Fifteen minute later (yes, I get stubborn sometimes), I remained on hold. Throughout, the only communication was a recorded voice explaining “all representatives are currently busy, please stay on hold.” The only experience: Extremely lame, looping hold music.
Finally, I assumed there must be a technical problem. Or perhaps, because it was Friday afternoon, the phone operator(s) had closed early. So I called again on Monday. Same inability to sweet talk the voice recognition robot. Same hold message and music. After five minutes, I hung up. I can be stubborn, but I’m not stupid.
I know a content desert when I’m stuck in one.
Lead Your Thirsty Audience to Content
A quick check of this company’s website shows they offer a substantial portfolio of B2B services and solutions for a wide range of vertical industries. You’ll see some interesting videos over here. A webinar over there. Some how-to guides. Customer testimonials.
By no means are they pursuing the most robust content marketing strategy ever devised. But there is something of interest and value there. Something they might want to share and tell people about.
You just wouldn’t know it by actually calling the company. Approach via the wrong touch point — in this case, by phone — and it’s tumbleweed time.
Marketing a global enterprise is by no means easy. But in certain ways, it’s not always so difficult, either.
Audit those touch points.
Keep an eye peeled and an ear cocked for the sights and sounds of content deserts.
Then take steps to cultivate a more engaging experience, wherever your audiences find only dust and tumbleweeds.
With all the channels and touch points now available to us and our audiences, the telephone might not be quite as important as it once was. But still, doesn’t a brand that wants to be relevant and attractive need to offer more than hold music? Any favorite examples of a content desert where you’ve felt stranded? Comments welcome.
This post, originally published on Hanley Wood Marketing’s Content Is Marketing blog, is cross-posted here for subscribers to Touch Point City. For more marketing ideas and insights from my colleagues at HWM, subscribe to Content Is Marketing.
Photo credit: www.freenaturephotos.com