Today, competition is fierce. It comes from existing rivals and new market participants — often in a very disruptive fashion and at a pace never seen before. To achieve your goals, it is critical for your customer experience to drive the narrative in the markets you serve to maximize customer value.
Communications impact on a business’s success in today’s information-driven digital business environment is far greater than ever before. Strategy, proactiveness, and discipline are necessary to establish ownership for how you defined and positioned in the marketplace — by your customers and your competitors.
Consider the “Rocket Metaphor” to gain a fresh perspective on the importance of good communications to achieving your goals. A rocket is made up of two major systems: the Payload, and the Delivery Vehicle. So too, is your business. Your business payload is the technology, products, and services you deliver to customers every day. And you are probably damn good at it.
Your Delivery Vehicle is the overall presentation of your business to the various stakeholders you serve. Since Publi.io is a Content Hub company, I’ll focus on the thing that propels your company — content. This includes the Business Plan, Marketing Plan, Content, Sales Materials, Website, Social Media, Ads, videos, PR, Collateral, etc. Today, the delivery vehicle also encompasses the marketing automation and CRM systems used to deliver and manage content engagement as part of your overall customer experience.
Like it or not, your customer offerings, the Payload, is largely differentiated by the delivery vehicle.
While companies like yours often have distinguishing elements — core technologies, patented products, software, problem-solving abilities, consulting services, training — and achieve extraordinary results for their customers, from the ‘early-adopter’ stage on to wide market acceptance, sales is less affected by the offering (payload) than by your overall presentation (delivery vehicle).
As important as content is, many businesses suffer from a delivery vehicle problem. You can often quickly see the correlation when you compare a poorly maintained or out-of-date website with other problems a company is experiencing. Often, companies with an overall poor presentation of the business, its products and services will suffer from:
- Low visibility
- Low perceived quality
- Low memorability
- Low sales leads
- Low on resources
As a result, you will hear in discussions with executives they are experiencing:
- Diminished market awareness vs. competition
- A fragmented perception among customers
- Positioning and branding with customers are too strongly influenced by competition
- Early adopters of their innovations are hard to secure
- Competition is based on price in later stage sales
- Sales have plateaued
- There is a lack of working capital
- Equity funding to fuel growth is difficult to secure
And then there are the search engines. When you compete in a world where perception is the reality, you discover that reality is heavily influenced by your online presence — or lack thereof. Customers, now more than ever, control the buying process, because of their research about potential solutions is conducted online. This new (new-ish) world means that successful brands embrace the “media company” strategies that enable you to meet the customers where they are even before you know who they are.
When your content strategy engages both internally and externally, you are in a better position to build an experience beyond the web by extending your strategy to your front line employees and the customers they serve. Imagine using content to fuel thought-leading conversations among your company departments, which then integrate newly learned messaging, engagement techniques and marketing technology into their workflows and customer encounters.
A mentor once told me, “Perception is reality. Manage it.” Similarly, content doesn’t just happen. You have to make an investment of resources and cultivate a content culture if you want your rocket to liftoff to great heights.
Put the rocket metaphor to work for your company with Publio’s framework called the Publisher’s M.O.™ to manage your customers’ perception of your business. Maybe even consider hiring someone to be your Chief Content Marketing Officer – accountable for the contribution content makes to your sales and achieving other key objectives.
Keyword Tags: Content; Sales; Marketing; Branding; Positioning
Photo credit: Bill Jelen w/ post edits by Keith Reynolds