The Mac and Cheese-Marketing Connection
Picture this: Two nine-year-old boys are locked in a soccer battle on the Xbox. It’s getting heated. The virtual crowd is cheering frantically, and my son’s friend Jack is playfully taunting him with little verbal jabs. My son is completely ignoring him. After several attempts, Jack finally turns and yells, “You want mac and cheese? Huh? WELL, I’LL GIVE YOU MAC AND CHEESE!”
This did the trick. My son burst out laughing, turned to Jack, and asked what we were both thinking, “What the heck does that mean?”
Jack’s reply? “I’m not sure…it just sounded good!” (I had to give him that.)
Two Critical Questions
Based on this little exchange, here’s the critical two-part question that all of us as marketers need to think about. First, what can we say that finally gets our target audience’s attention? And second, once we have it, what do we tell them next to keep them interested?
The answers to these questions, my friends, are at the heart of your content marketing strategy. Particularly for B2B businesses, you know that it’s unbelievably hard to break through the clutter out there to reach your target audience. Your competitors lurk in every marketing outlet you try. There are email and PR campaigns swirling around and more money than you want to think about going into PPC and SEO optimization to win coveted eyeballs. And those eyeballs are tired. The fact is that your audience is drowning in information, and sifting through it takes time and vigilance a lot of people may not want to spare.
Once you’ve managed to do it—to say the words that FINALLY turn attention your way, you have a very small, precious window of time during which your potential customer will be interested in what you have to say. So now that you’ve reeled them with some snazzy ‘mac and cheese talk’ (in whatever form that takes in your industry), you’ve got to tell them what you have to offer in an engaging, understandable way. And that’s where individual pieces of content come into play.
Map Out the Content Path
It’s critical to put thought into the learning journey you’re going to take your prospects on once you have their attention. If they’ve landed on your website, is it easy to navigate, with thought-provoking resources or interactive options to keep them from wandering off before they contact you? If you’ve launched an email campaign, is there a clear call to action that can be tracked and measured? If someone contacts your inside sales team with an impromptu online chat or (amazingly) a phone call, what can that team say or what tools can they send to continue the conversation in a way that will ultimately lead to a marketing-qualified lead—and ultimately a sale? It’s time to map out the different types of collateral and materials your audience is being served from the moment they start engaging with your company until they become a customer—and then hopefully come back for repeat purchases.
Why is it important to map this out? Because you don’t want someone who’s just heard of you to be knee-deep in a technical document two minutes after landing on your website. They need to understand your organization at a high level first. It’s up to you to tell them earnestly what you’re about and how well you understand their challenges and their business. They need to see that you understand what keeps them up at night. Especially in B2B realms, these prospects need to trust you, and that takes time. Examples of helpful materials at this early stage include blog posts, case studies, webinars, and short videos. Web content that involves products can be effective as well if it’s positioned at a high level and features benefits and proof points. As this potential buyer moves through the sales funnel, additional information such as product brochures, customer references, presentations, or support materials may become more relevant. Just remember that old analogy about drinking through a fire hose. That’s not fun for anyone. Learning takes time and a carefully curated content plan.
Let’s figure out what your audience will respond to and how we can develop that content journey in a memorable way that supports your sales and marketing efforts. Nothing beats a good content strategy chock full of interesting, clearly written materials that speak to the audience in a meaningful way—especially if there’s a little mac and cheese on the side. Contact me if you’d like to chat!