Your content can be fictitious and be truer than your data sheet

hat you have to realize is that to your customers, your view of the truth is nowhere near as important as theirs is to them. That seems like such an obvious statement, and I bet you think you actually know what your customers consider to be true. But from what I hear from customers and from advertisers and from readers, very few companies and publications actually have a clue regarding what those audiences consider to be truth.

In my last post I talked about the importance of understanding truth from other perspectives, rather than focusing only on yours.  Today I want to give you a specific example. 


Dan Lyons over at Hubspot wrote a blog post last month about the use of content to build trust and relationship by demonstrating truth... even though it was complete fiction.


You can see the video content produced by Google India on the blog, but briefly it was about how two young people in Pakistan and Lahore transcended national bigotry, politics and xenophobia using technology.  But the story itself may or may not have been true because it was obviously staged.  You don’t actually have to have a true-life story to demonstrate truth.  It was true in that it demonstrated the power of a technology, but it’s essence was not to sell anything but to show that, properly used, technology can overcome bad human traits.  It put technology in an appropriate context for the audience and gives them a call to action other than just asking for a sales call.  It makes them WANT to USE the product... which they can’t do unless they ask for the call.=


Imagine.  Somebody actually wanting a sales call.


As I said last week, truth is relative to everyone.  What you have to realize is that to your customers, your view of the truth is nowhere near as important as theirs is to them.  That seems like such an obvious statement, and I bet you think you actually know what your customers consider to be true.  But from what I hear from customers and from advertisers and from readers, very few companies and publications actually have a clue regarding what those audiences consider to be truth.


In a report published last April, DemandGen Report published their 2013 B2B Content Preferences Survey stating that while 92 percent of respondents said they were willing to accept vendor generated content as trustworthy, they are less likely to accept white papers and e-books as trustworthy content.  Why? Because a white paper is supposed to be an objective approach to solving a problem and will have no sales messages, but when was the last time you saw something like that?


The survey say that 72 percent of the respondents said sales-heavy content was a problem for trustworthiness, and 64% wanted B2B vendors to stop producing text-heavy pages and small print.  The majority (57.8%) of respondents agreed that B2B vendors focus too much on product specifications and not enough on the ability to solve specific business problems. 


The first step for any marketer in our new world of context-based, trustworthy content is to realize that what you see as true, is not to your customers.