When Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks and Digital Media Director Tom Brodbeck hosted special guest Erin Acheson, President and COO of DemandSphere, in-studio during Episode 305 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast, the central topic was all about what needs to happen in order to bridge the all-too-common gap between content creation and marketing strategy.
Erin Acheson: Her Background and Experience
Erin brings over 15 years of technology marketing, strategy and business intelligence experience with large enterprises, agencies and startups alike. Her background includes behavioral studies, applied analytics, and communication theory, which she applies to the product strategy and approach of DemandSphere. Erin has lived and worked internationally and enjoys the distributed team style of DemandSphere, allowing ideas and inspiration from a variety of sources to influence the platform. Erin has spoken at a variety of conferences and events including PubCon, Content Marketing World, AdTech, FOUND Conf, and more. She also has published contributed articles and been quoted on nationally recognized news sites including Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Search Engine Journal and others.
Erin has been with DemandSphere (formerly Ginzametrics for seven years). It is a search content and competitor analytics platform with offices in San Francisco, Colombus OH, Tokyo and eight other places around the world. How she ended up there was by being a digital marketer herself and lamenting how there were so many different SaaS tools available, but not one with the exact combination of functionalities she wanted. She tweeted about it and the CEO of GinzaMetrics wanted to hear more about her thoughts and she ended up joining the company. So, it pays to not just complain about things, but to clearly articulate what’s needed and why and then help make it happen!
The Gap Between Content Creation and Marketing Strategy
Marketing and Sales should always be working hand-in-hand, but that’s not always the case. A big part of why the gap exists has to do with an array of systemic corporate problems that are fascinating from a cultural anthropology standpoint, but don’t really mean much to most people. What’s more important is how to bridge the gap. It’s not about a lack of data, it’s more about a lack of understanding why you should care about someone else’s data and what you would want to do with it if you had it and whose hands you’d want to get it into.
A good example is search data in terms of people understanding how people are searching and how that’s changing, what people’s queries look like, and the way that people are interacting with search. Are they doing more product-based searches? Are they doing more informational-based searches? Then that’s what you should be addressing in your content. Or why are you not mining for your social media hashtags from your search keywords?
There’s all this connective tissue that are essentially just being ignored across most organizations, and there are just so few places that are tying all that stuff together and updating it as it constantly shifts. Intent shifts. Products shift. If you’re creating content based on data that is years old, that’s a big problem. You have to keep up with how your audience is searching when they have a problem or need and use that to create your content. This is how you tailor your content and personalize it to people. That should be a big focus for digital marketers. Why would you not mirror your advertising campaign and your email strategy and your influencer strategy to match how people are natively describing what they’re already doing?
Instead of having to spend all this time creating editorial calendars and content calendars, what if you let people’s own native wants and needs and search queries and social media conversations and reviews that they post on stuff help you dictate what it is that you’re going to be talking about and mirror back to them how they’re describing it. This takes work off of your plate and creates a more cohesive experience across everything.
Why Sales People Should be All Over this Concept
The way people ask their questions, whether it’s on Quora or a search engine query or verbally asking their smart speaker, it just makes sense to pay attention to how people ask their questions and then mirror that back to them. This is part of why salespeople should be all over this concept, because question-based sales is a hot concept right now. Solution-based sales is on the outs because the seller is saying, “I have a solution and here’s why you need it.” The better way is to identify the customer’s need and then help them address it, even if that means sending them to a different company that can meet their need if your company can’t (and the reason you should be willing to do that is so you don’t end up with crappy customers who aren’t a good fit with your solution and they just end up being unhappy and complain-y. Better to send them where they can get their need met than have them dragging you down). Now if there were a data set available that helps your salespeople identify those needs and pain points they can address, shouldn’t they want that? Of course!
And it’s a two-way street, too. Content strategists should be mining their salespeople’s communications for keywords, because it all changes and shifts over time. Mine product reviews for keywords, see how people are talking about what worked and didn’t work. Mine your customer service interactions for keywords. In other words LISTEN to all the rich sources to hear how your audience is already talking about and describing topics directly related to your brand and let it inform your content creation. Erin’s article on DemandSphere: Bridging the Gap.
Connect with Erin Acheson and DemandSphere
Twitter: @TexasGirlErin (https://twitter.com/texasgirlerin)
DemandSphere (formerly GinzaMetrics): https://www.demandsphere.com
DemandSphere Facebook: @DemandSphere (https://www.facebook.com/DemandSphere)
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