Are You Crushing Your Customers with Content?

by Heather Foeh on Friday, August 5, 2011 in Content Marketing

If you’re like me, you’re lucky to work in a company full of proactive people. It’s a good feeling. But proactive businesses especially need to make sure their teams are in synch.

That’s because proactive companies are constantly developing customer content that addresses customer challenges. As Valeria Maltoni explains, customer loyalty is the byproduct of continued conversation. But if your teams aren’t in constant communication, you can end up crushing your customers with redundant content.

In content marketing there are signs you’re doing too little or too much. The same is true with customer content.

You could see a rise in unsubscribes from your customer newsletter, indicating they may be seeing too much overlapping information. You might see a decline in activity on your customer community. Maybe you’ve even received angry replies as a result of poor segmentation of your customer email lists.

Anyone of these can indicate trouble in your proactive paradise. Here at Eloqua we recently participated in a nifty process to identify gaps and overlaps in our customer content called a Brown Paper Exercise.

customer-marketing-content

It’s a fairly simple process. We bring together all the teams that interact with our customers. We ask each team to bring printed versions of all the materials they’ve sent out to customers over a certain period of time – it could be a quarter or six months. We wrap the walls of the room in brown paper, dedicating different sections to the various teams and stages, and tape all of the customer content to the paper.

This visualization allows you to almost immediately discover where your customers might be underserved or overloaded with content, as well as see what distribution channels might be getting overfed. Just by walking around the room, you can take a walk through your customers’ journey.

One of the gaps we uncovered in our exercise is that we’re hoarding too much great content on our computers. We send it to the customer as part of a real-time conversation on that topic. But do we serve customers who visit our online community, Topliners, seeking those answers? As anyone in content marketing knows, it’s not just about creating great content, but reimagining it.

Armed with this knowledge, your company can continue to be proactive and customer focused. But now you can work collaboratively, ensuring your customers are getting what they need, rather than what you think they need.

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