Marketing is as much about engaging in productive conversations with your customer base as it is about targeting and messaging. How do you begin these conversations? Whether it is through social media or more traditional distribution channels like email or brochures, relationship marketing (and selling) starts with listening and then providing valuable content to your customers.
Good content is often seen by marketers as hard to come by. Here are four relatively easy tactics to create valuable content for your marketplace.
1. Facilitate a Peer-to-Peer Discussion. Identify a hot topic and then promote a discussion among individuals at different companies that represent your potential customers. The platform can vary. Your options include using a professional online community, partnering with an online discussion forum, producing a teleconference, or organizing a small face-to-face meeting. Facilitating peer-to-peer conversations among your potential customers can be tremendously valuable for those participating, and also enables you to build credibility and trust within your marketplace.
2. Survey and Summarize Feedback. Your prospects probably share similar business challenges but their perspectives on these challenges may vary. These differences can be interesting and enlightening. Create a basic 10-20 question survey around industry trends, asking your prospects and clients their perceptions on the most pressing external forces, internal factors and overall market tendencies. Summarize these findings in a one-page executive summary to distribute to your marketplace.
3. Interview a Customer. Use a webinar tool like MS Live Meeting or WebEx to conduct a five-minute telephone interview with a customer, discussing current challenges or perceptions on the overall market landscape. Write a brief one or two paragraph summary of the interview and then link to a recording of the interview either on your web site or on a third-party site such as YouTube, WordPress or Box.net.
4. Summarize Your High-Level Insights. Undoubtedly your team has a breadth of knowledge as a result of working with (and listening to) customers. Listing some of these insights in a short blog post or executive brief can be potentially valuable to your marketplace. See our recent post, Five Points to Consider before Introducing a New Technology, as an example.
As marketers, we must find creative ways to easily and inexpensively leverage the smart ideas within the “heads” of the individuals in our organization. These ideas ultimately define who we are as organizations and they are critical to our success in becoming trusted advisers in our marketplace. In closing, listed below are a few of the many blog posts that offer different and useful perspectives on creating or providing valuable content to your prospects and customers.