Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week - instead of the usual rant - Ian Truscott feels the love and explains why we decided to set our content free.
I have had a marketing epiphany. I am about to remove all the registrations gates from our content and set it free! I figure that if you want to us to contact you, you will let us know.
OK, so this epiphany was not an overnight thing, I have to give some credit to the conversation it was inspired by with one of our agencies, tested with our data (which will seem ironic as this post unfolds) and swam upstream to modern digital marketing methodology. However, my rational is that:
If you don’t want us to contact you, but you’re a bit interested in us and begrudgingly fill in a form, we will annoy you
If you’re already in contact with us and you are doing some research and we make you fill in a form, we will annoy you
If you’re disinterested in us, but like the content, you might share it with someone who is interested in us, but we will annoy you, making you ignore us or unsubscribe
If we’re fortunate enough, you shared the content either to a colleague or on social and we just start annoying more people
And if you think we will annoy your network by asking for their data in exchange for some content you like, then you likely won’t share our content anyway
If you want us to be in touch, if you want to subscribe to our emails, if want to see our product, there will still be plenty of opportunities to do that on your terms, without us annoying you
It’s about love and trust. For this to work, I need to love our audience enough not to annoy them and trust that people that are interested in us will ask us to contact them, request a demo, subscribe to our newsletters, or respond positively across the plethora of channels which we have today.
Ours is not a subscription business, I should not be valuing contacts or subscribers. Our business is not funded by advertising, so I don’t need to worry about web hits. But our business is about finding people who have a problem which we can solve, showing them that we can do that, and then meeting them.
(To my point about minimal viable audience a couple of weeks ago).
Now of course, some of those people with a problem we can solve have become clients because they registered for a whitepaper, our data supports that, but I am going to have to trust that those folks, frankly a minority, would have contacted us anyway.
Way more folks become clients, partners and friends after they contacted us or asked for a demo.
Marketing has moved on over the last 20 years. The old adage of “I know half of my advertising spend is performing, I just don’t know which half” is a cliché - we are data driven and now you are more likely to hear “if you can’t measure it, it didn’t happen”. So we measure our performance through the funnel to the nth degree – but do we have to?
And can we anymore?
GDPR changed that a bit. Many people choose not to accept cookies, we have lost some data, when they enter our websites, the highest-level funnel metric is now screwed, if they didn’t accept your analytics cookie you have an audience which you have no idea is even there. And if folks aren’t accepting cookies, the whole form thing becomes even more annoying.
And it’s not just GDPR, email clients now filter not just spam, but the non-urgent stuff, like your marketing email, so consumers are increasingly curating the content they consume -the balance of this consumer/marketer relationship has shifted.
So perhaps it’s time to embrace that 50% of your audience is unknown, to feel comfortable with that, and accept that the power lies with them to get in touch with you.
Perhaps it’s time to create content which is focused on informing and helping, and not just on harvesting data.
And perhaps it’s time not to be so precious about measuring a return on content marketing investment through vanity metrics, but to really lean into those people who have a mutual interest in solving their problem.
I hope it’s time for love and trust, so I’m doing it!!