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Content comes before communication 14 October, 2008

Posted by Steve in internet, marketing.
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One of the big themes of our upcoming Summit is going to be the importance of content when it comes to generating leads. My favourite quote on the topic comes from the people over at the advertising giant JWT, who proclaimed when relaunching the agency that we needed to “stop interrupting what people are interested in, and be what people are interested in.” Two years on and it still rings true as a clarion call to our industry. But the fact remains that the bulk of demand generation spending still gets piled in to intrusive, interruptive marketing.

I believe that’s because so many of the principles and thinking driving marketing communications are still derived from the old advertising world. The more attention spans have shortened, the more time we’ve spent agonising over the single ‘killer’ concept that’s going to stick in people’s heads, the arresting visual that’s going to grab their attention, the call to action that’s going to make them click or pick up the phone.

By comparison, most agencies tend to spend very little time thinking about what they’re actually driving people to. Typically, a landing page with a visual and headline that perhaps match the DM piece. A collection of all our analyst white papers and product datasheets. And forms asking customers to tell us everything from their budget to their waist size.

What if we were to channel more of our energy and creativity into developing the content that actually helps people decide whether our product or service is right for them? Better still, help them to get stuff that matters to them done. We are looking at re-writing our creative briefs so that we force ourselves to think about the content before we dive into the communication. The simple logic says if we first make the destination more attractive, then designing the signposts that get people there becomes so much easier.

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