By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

One of my goals for 2021 is to help people understand the full scope of content marketing and what it can do for an organization. Content marketing tends to get pigeonholed as “thought leadership” or “lead generation,” or “search engine optimization.”  While it is those things, it’s much more than that. 

Content marketing should sustain and nurture all the steps along your customer’s journey. And this doesn’t always mean it’s necessary to create a larger content marketing budget (although it probably should) but it does mean that content marketing should be thought of more holistically. 

There are basically six points along the journey that you should have covered. Everyone has different words for this journey, but I like:

1 | Need—When you don’t know what you don’t know, you seek out answers. If you are anticipating the problems and the priorities of your customers, and you have the expertise to help, you might consider research-based content or high-level thought leadership content, delivered in a format like an e-book, to help. 

2 | Research—Once a customer has the foundation to move from knowledge to identifying solutions, they need help making a choice. You can help them to do so by continuing to focus on what’s important to them. Explainer videos, case studies and e-books are all useful at communicating the value of solutions. 

3 | Buy—Breaking down the wall between marketing and sales means sales enablement materials should be content marketing, too. Webinars, presentation decks, event media, and content at the point of sale should continue to serve customers, not just be about you.

4 | Welcome—Many companies do a great job of acquiring customers, but have a real fall-off in the quality of the content they use to onboard and retain customers. Welcome kits, training modules and recurring emails are all great ways to welcome a customer.

5 | Master—Some companies have the challenge of a customer failing to use their products, or failing to use all the capabilities of a product. Reminding customers of how to excel with your solution might mean how-to videos, case studies and magazines. Retention marketing is some of the most cost-effective marketing that companies fail to employ.  

6 | Belong—We all want our customers to become evangelists for us. The best retention marketing is creating communities of your customers for them to learn from one another. User events, managed communities and content as a product are all fantastic ways to solidify your customer relationships. 

If you have the points along the journey addressed, then you are to be congratulated. Where are you not providing the benefit of your help and expertise at each of these six steps along your customer’s journey, and how can you address that? As a creative agency and strategic partner, we work with clients to create recurring marketing content that sustains and nurtures the customer journey.

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