How Do You Compare to the Best Content Marketers?

How Do You Compare to the Best Content Marketers?
Stephanie Tilton - Wed Aug 19, 2009 @ 07:52AM
Comments: 15

Recently Michele Linn posted about the importance of mapping content to the buying blue ribboncycle. Right after that, I came across an interesting report released by the Aberdeen Group, which explains how industry leaders approach lead management and demand generation. B2B marketers can glean lots of great insights from this $399 report (being offered for free until October 2, 2009). Here are the ones that caught my eye (and relate to Michele's post):

  • Best-in-class companies* are 5X more likely to maintain a library of collateral, copy, and messages that map to prospects' buying stages. If you're questioning the value of this, read this article by Ardath Albee that brilliantly illustrates the true pace at which a prospect interacts with your content and company.
  • Of the top barriers to adopting a lead lifecycle management process, "resources to develop lead-nurturing content" tops the list across all company types. While 85% of best-in-class companies can develop and maintain content that maps to each stage of the buying cycle, only 22% of all other companies are able to do so. This is no surprise. Joe Pulizzi of Junta 42 lays out the reasons so many marketers don't do content marketing. If you're wondering how to create this content, another post from Junta42 provides a jumping-off point.
  • Best-in-class companies are better able to map content buying cycle stages based on prospect behavior. Read the Aberdeen report to find out how WorkForce Software was able to capture prospects' behavioral information and nurture leads throughout the cycle. If you want to understand the different approaches to nurturing prospects, read thist post by Marketo. And if you're interested in some forward-thinking ideas around capturing information about prospects, check out this post by Blake Hinckley and this one by Chris Koch.

*Aberdeen defines best-in-class companies as those whose practices are the "best currently being employed and are significantly superior to Industry Average." 20% of enterprises fall into this category, while 50% are in the Industry Average range, and 30% are laggards.

Where does your company fall when it comes to creating and mapping content to the buying cycle?

Related posts:

Read more Savvy B2B posts from Stephanie.

Comments: 15


1. Ardath Albee  |  my website   |   Wed Aug 19, 2009 @ 10:37AM

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for including a reference to one of my blog posts in support of developing a content library!

As for mapping content to buying processes, it's one of the things I do often with clients. It's becoming even more important when buying cycles are lengthening against campaigns oriented to quarterly calendars based on budgets and company agendas. Time to flip that focus to what our leads need if we're going to engage them across the buying cycle.

Coincidentally, I gave a webinar for today on the subject. Good questions and turnout, so I think marketers are becoming more aware of what it takes.


2. Jon Nugent  |  my website   |   Wed Aug 19, 2009 @ 12:54PM

Most marketing blogs engage in same banter with little substance. You quote each other and link to each others blogs as if you're the defintive voice. With very few exceptions do I come across anything that's original. It's liket you're talking to each other and no one else.

You've lost sight of your audience, you're enamord with the sound of your own voices.

Were is the voice of the sales organization in all of this mindless banter -oh, they've left the building. Marketing is like psychology and economics- an applied theory, left to testing and quessing with little to show or results that are meaningful to sales.

Spend time with the customer and you won't have to guess what they want. Learn what the company does and the drivel you call collatoral won't be so meaningless to everybody. Go out into the field with the sales force!

Show me the leads! Or at least get out of my way so I can do my job.

3. John Tenore  |  my website   |   Wed Aug 19, 2009 @ 04:35PM


Whether you have a point to make or not, your posting (and its tone), is completely unwarranted. Professional marketers would cringe to see such outright bullying taking place under the name of their own organization. Such a posting gives your company a bad reputation and indirectly hurts the people you count as your colleagues. Please think about them before you post.

I find it interesting and worth investigating that companies such as Akamai and SAP have valued Stephanie's work for years and are utterly loyal clients. Would you say that your company outpaces those companies in terms of sales and marketing effectiveness?

Moreover, It seems naive to belittle marketers and marketing in this manner and appears as merely bitter vitriole. It also makes me wonder why you read so many marketing blogs when you find them so useless.

Marketing has many dimensions. Yes, lead generation is critical. But these bloggers work on behalf of many constituencies that have multi-faceted marketing campaigns that go far beyond lead generation. The stakeholders are broad and have diverse needs for collateral. So please respect the fact that not all bloggers are writing to your specific myopic view of the world.

One final marketing commment. Most readers will not read your full posting when it is littered with poor spelling and grammar, so you may want to leverage Word's grammar and spell-checker next time you post.

Best regards,

John Tenore

4. Jonathan Kranz  |  my website   |   Fri Aug 21, 2009 @ 03:51AM

I think part of the reason otherwise smart companies fail to create content mapped to the buying cycle is that they're pouring new wine into old wine skins: that is, they're approaching new content strategies with an old direct marketing mindset.

Back in the day, marketing would over-invest on the front end, spending tons of $ to develop lead-gen campaigns. Once the responses were harvested and sent to sales, marketers wiped their hands on their aprons and moved on to the next campaign. Nurturing prospects? Moving them along the pipeline? Too often, sales was left stranded.

Developing content requires a different kind of thinking -- a kind you suggest in your post: match to profiles, map to stages in the cycle.

5. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Mon Aug 24, 2009 @ 02:29AM

@Ardath - As you said, the sales cycle is lengthening for most B2B companies, and as a result, marketers must keep them engaged for a longer period of time.

@Jon - Many prospects don't interact with a sales rep (and don't want to) until late in the buying cycle, once they've conducted the majority of research online first. A lead will be worthless unless marketing first nurtures to ensure it is sales-ready.

@John - Thanks for stopping by!

@Jonathan - Great point you make about how funding needs to shift to support content creation that lasts throughout the buying cycle!

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