The holy grail of content marketing

I recently took a class on Content Marketing for students enrolled in a Master’s program in Communications and Media. The objective was to expose the students to the big picture and provide an industry practitioner’s view of content marketing in the B2B sphere. B2B content marketing is a constant revelation for even those in the industry and was even more so for these students.

What exactly is content marketing? The classical definition says that it is all about creating and distributing relevant and value-adding content to your target audience in such a way that it positively impacts your business. It has become essential for survival in today’s market conditions because the customer is savvier and more well-informed, has more options to choose from and is inundated with information. So the goal is to figure out a way for your company’s voice be heard amongst all the noise in the ecosystem.

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Before you rush to write that brochure

Many of us marketing folks have experienced a harried request for a brochure from a sales person and set about delivering despite an overflowing to-do list.  After all, this brochure is going to be the difference between winning and losing a customer, right? Wrong!

Marketers usually don’t hesitate to pull all stops to deliver a piece of content especially when the request originates from a sales person. Before jumping headlong into it, you should always take a step back and ask these questions to the requestor.

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Market Strategy is not an exercise only for the big boys

It’s that time of the year when many companies are in their planning mode preparing for the next fiscal year. This involves zeroing in on the markets to address, the offerings to take to market and from there arriving at a target to pursue. Once this target is finalized for the different business segments, it is broken down into segmental plans, which leads to marketing plans.

This is an involved and significant exercise in larger companies occupying strategy and marketing teams for a few weeks. Obviously, the targets are huge and a considered approach is needed before fixing them.

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Behold the power of analytics

Connect the dots

Do you get your kicks out of smart or intelligent products or services? I for one find them fascinating and get thrilled when Amazon.in or bigbasket.com recommends items that I’m likely to be interested in based on my previous purchases or when my Android phone keeps track of the flight I need to take. I find such information convenient whereas an Amazon ad featuring a book I searched for on their site, popping up on a news portal is downright annoying. The key is to be non-intrusive and give the user the impression that they are in control. An in—your-face approach will not work.

I came across two companies with very smart ideas and the outcomes are value-adding. The companies operate  in different spaces and have used analytics in entirely different ways to grow their business.
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The measurement conundrum

How do I determine the effectiveness of white papers or blog or any piece of content for that matter?  How do I demonstrate RoI of my content marketing efforts?

Sounds familiar? These are some of the questions that clients frequently keep asking us and rightly so. With the grudging acceptance of marketing’s contributions in running a business leading to improved budgets, marketing functions are under the radar more than ever and need to prove their efficacy. Gone are the days when brand recall, engagement and other such qualitative metrics suffice. Today management demands a clear correlation between marketing efforts and business results. And we go back to the root question – how do we meaningfully link marketing efforts to business outcomes? Let’s just consider content marketing for the purpose of this blog.

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Easy ways to generate content from what you already have

Generating content for regular communication with your stakeholders is the bane of every B2B marketer. One challenge is coming up with engaging and relevant themes that would excite your audience and the second is developing content assets.

Here’s where repurposing can help and play a huge role in reducing your stress levels and ensure that you actually produce useful content for your target audience.

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A startup nation – the new kid on the block

Ideas are buzzing and start-ups are abounding – India today has over 4200 startups. Consider this significant statistic – the year 2015 saw $9 billion infused into startups, which is the same as what was invested during the entire period between 2010-2014. Clearly, India is riding high on startup fever and the ball has been set rolling. We will see many dramas, bloodbaths, tragedies, flops and happy endings every year. If you think you have a great idea that you want to take to market, do consider these points before you take the plunge – it can save you some tense moments. As Guy Kawasaki, the Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist rightly said, “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.”

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Its never too late to ‘intern’​!

As I watched Robert De Niro spout insight after insight as an ‘intern’ to a stressed-out CEO (played by Anne Hathaway) on HBO recently, two thoughts struck me: one, do all young entrepreneurs go through the same state of mind? Two, it is astonishing what a readily deployable talent pool is available in the form of experienced older men and women!

The focus of this piece is on the vast pool of experienced men and women who have opted out of the employment system for various reasons. My point of view is that many of these would be willing to come back and share their experience with today’s professionals, given the right opportunity.

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Role of Business In Empowering Women

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“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women” – a powerful statement indeed from the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

While there is a lot of focus on gender and diversity in corporates, some organizations have actually walked the talk.

A recent visit to a premium clothing manufacturing corporate in Bangalore demonstrated how companies can actually create a highly productive and efficient work environment by designing a comprehensive employee strategy that included a sound hiring plan, employee engagement with focus on development and retention, and alignment of people with business objectives.

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The New Age Startup Checklist

Imagine the scene in the startup sector in a couple of years from now. With the launch of ‘Start up India Stand up India’ program by the Government of India, startups have become the buzzword in the country once again. India  has been generating entrepreneurs in this area for at least a decade now. But what was essentially a technology wave has evolved over the last few years with many young entrepreneurs testing out non-tech ideas such as health management, food and grocery aggregator platforms, home maintenance services, property services, and riding the new age e-commerce boom. And with high profile investors such as Ratan Tata and Narayana Murthy stoking up the excitement through their financial backing, startups are now firmly entrenched as the most happening sector in India.

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