Recently read a post over at Hubspot (that I can't find right now) about how companies are lowering their investment in communication tactics because they are disappointed at the results. The author blamed the decline not on the efficacy of the tactics, but on how poorly they are implemented by the companies.
I can't say I disagree with him entirely. Most of the marketing communications plans I see are more checklists than plans (press release, check; trade show booth, check...) While there is tremendous investment made in the marketing infrastructure, I see almost no investment in content and content is the gas that makes the marketing machine go.
Few companies I talk to believe they have great content, and when we review what they have we tend to agree. It’s the same press releases, the same marketing brochures, the same white papers, and the same contributed articles that everyone else produces... and they read almost identically to every other companies content creating absolutely no differentiation. The excuse is they lack the budget and resources to create any content, much less effective content, and when they try to bring in resources to do just that, it is the smallest investment possible. I've even had several potential clients ask for us to create it for free because it would be good "exposure" for us.
For content to be effective it must be intentional. You have to know not only where you are going, but how to get there. If you believe a sales pitch is the best way about reaching your goal, you have ignored the path and all you are doing is wandering in the wilderness. The beginning of the path is establishing trust. I have not yet found anyone who disagrees with that statement, but I've found very few marketers who have the time to work on that first step, much less an understanding how to start.
For the next few weeks, we will be exploring the path of truth in marketing communications and why any deviation from the path will spell doom for your efforts.