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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.

  1. Why do you need this content asset?
  2. Who is the audience? Is it for a specific customer or a group of customers? Are there any special characteristics defining them?
  3. Who are your stakeholders within the customer organization?
  4. Are they decision makers or influencers?
  5. Which stage of the buyer journey are they at?
  6. What are the goals of the stakeholders and what challenges are they facing?

By probing the requestor, you will get a better hang of the situation – what are the challenges faced on the ground, what are the undercurrents flowing, who else is contending, and how important this customer is.

Finding answers to these questions will help you decide what kind of content is needed. It may not even be a brochure that should be used at this particular point but perhaps a webinar or a white paper or maybe even a customized event is more appropriate.

You will never know until you ask these questions. It surely is time well invested.

Here is a template for you to understand your buyer better.

Stakeholder 1 2 3
Decision maker/influencer
Stage of buyer journey
Pain points

The next step ideally should be to draw up an editorial calendar for each stakeholder at the beginning of the year itself.  I have added a column for Loyalty as customer retention also equally important.

Stakeholder Awareness Consideration Decision Loyalty
1 Topic, content format Topic, content format Topic, content format Topic, content format

Use this ready reckoner whenever you set out to develop a content asset.

With a better grasp of the customer and the priorities of the sales person combined with your understanding of your company’s business context and strengths, you are in a much stronger position to deliver compelling content. Further, you have also used your experience and expertise to recommend the best way to go about it again rather than execute requests, again presenting you in better light.

So clearly this approach is a win-win for all concerned. The requestor gets some effective content on his/her hands and stands a better chance of making an impact on the customer. You, the marketer, have played your role in providing a solution that works.

How will you measure the success of this change in approach? Stay closely tuned to the progress of the meeting/interactions with the customer and get to know their response/reactions. Keeping in touch with sales and other customer-facing people is important to truly make a difference. Your responsibility does not end with merely handing over a piece of content.

Would love to hear your feedback or experience on using such an approach.


(This blog first appeared on www.prayag.com)