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DIAGNOSIS: A Serious But Curable Disease: Content Dis-Associative Disorder

Does this story sound familiar? Your marketing team creates a lead generation campaign that includes an interactive game that tests their prospects’ aptitude for brilliance.  It’s fun, snazzy and colorful.

Next, is a brand awareness program focused on the 30 years of history, patents and engineering feats the company has accomplished in its work on brilliance. It’s serious, academic and dignified.

For the launch of a new solution, collateral is created that highlights its feeds and speeds along with the company’s awards for innovation in program design. You’d need a physics degree to get the point.

And, your new blog has informative posts presented in a conversational style, but your primary blogger has a fondness for sports metaphors.

What overall story is this content sharing with prospective buyers? If you encountered all four of these initiatives, would you intuitively know that the same company was behind each of them? If you did, what impression would that make?

This is an example of Dissociative Content Disorder. Its symptoms include:

 •         Multiple personalities – each content asset presents the company differently

 •         Consistency avoidance – lack of  coordination on messaging

 •         Strategic mania – approaches that don’t  integrate to create a unified buyer experience

 If your content marketing is displaying any of these symptoms, there’s no time to be lost in curing this disorder. Delay will only result in more lost prospect interest and missed sales opportunities.

In case you don’t think this disorder is a critical condition, these seven prospect reactions should convince you to seek intervention immediately:

1  Loss of appetite.

Buyers crave consistent, helpful content. Taking the next steps toward change is hard enough. In fact, 95 percent of leaders say that resistance to change is their top challenge. With so much knowledge needed to build the confidence to make a decision, your buyers will lose their appetite for your content if it doesn’t consistently help them learn what they need to know to solve an urgent problem.

2   Evaporation.

It takes five to 12 repetitions of a new idea for it to stick. If the focus and style of your content changes continuously, your best ideas won’t gain the traction they need to position your company as the expert your prospects need to help them solve their problems.

3  Opt outs and avoidance.

Patience is as short as attention spans. If your content disappoints your prospects more than once or twice, they will ignore it and your company’s efforts to engage them will fall on deaf ears—or not reach them at all.

4  Conversational incompetence.

The objective of marketing content is to create qualified buyers interested in speaking with your salespeople. If your content doesn’t engage them, they won’t see any value in transitioning from an online dialogue with your content to a human conversation with your sales reps. Content sets expectations for conversational value.

5  Twitchy momentum.

One of the responsibilities of marketing programs is to present the right information at the right time to help prospects continue to make progress toward purchase. When your content is all over the board—engaging one time, disappointing the next—that momentum stops and starts. It has no consistency. Re-starting movement is much more difficult than increasing the momentum of a prospect already in motion.

6  Conversion refusal.

After several questionable impressions, prospects will refuse to do what you ask. When confronted with gated content, you’re prospects may not be convinced that the trade-off for their information will be worthwhile. Their concern that they don’t know what to expect from you will outweigh their curiosity to access your content.

7  Competitor defection.

Prospects don’t like to waste their time. They’ll move on to a competitor that better answers their needs. Enough said.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The B2B Content Marketing: 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends survey found that nine of 10 organizations are using content marketing. On average, they use at least eight different tactics in marketing programs and at least half of those are not considered effective in execution by the marketers who use them. Curing dissociative content disorder will close the gaps in effectiveness that keep content marketing programs from fulfilling on their promise to turn more prospects into buyers.

Read on for Ardath’s Three Treatments For Dissociative Content Disorder

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