“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
~ John Wanamaker
Content marketers should be so lucky. Experts say that as much as 60 – 70% of marketing content goes unused. Last year, the American Marketing Association published the results of a study that claimed that 52% went unused simply because salespeople didn’t know where to find it.
The acceptance of electronic content has made content marketing less expensive than it once was, but it is still a relatively large budget item for many organizations. In their 2017 study, the Content Marketing Institute put the average spend on content marketing at 29% of the overall marketing budget. If 60-70% of that goes unused, that means 17-20% of the average budget is thrown away on useless content.
OUCH! That’s a lot of wasted effort.
Part of the problem is the sheer amount of content being produced. Here are a few staggering statistics.
300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
6,000 tweets are posted every two seconds.
2 million new blog posts are created every day.
Actually, those numbers are probably already out of date. Experts say the amount of marketing content posted to the internet is doubling every two years. That may be a bit understated. Think about the amount of content you’ve created per year for the last several years. How many times has an individual salesperson said to you, “If you create this piece of content, this way, I can close so many deals?” I know our trend line is a bit steeper. So is that of many of the other CMOs and Marketing VPs I talk to.
So, what happens when we bury buyers in a deluge of content? They shut down. Not completely, of course. After all, they still have a buying decision to make. But they look for less cluttered sources of information that they can trust to guide them. They turn to their peers.
This leads us to a logical question that many of you are probably asking:
“If buyers are turning to their peers for information and guidance, how do we influence the sales teams?”
Peer-to-Peer Selling Puts the Power in Your Hands
Many popular marketing trends touch on using the influence of peers to create demand and drive sales: Customer Experience (CX) Marketing, Customer Advocacy, Referral Selling, etc. These are all a good start because they focus on the existing customer and seek to involve them in the sales cycle. Peer-to-Peer Selling puts these building blocks into a formal process-driven approach that enables the sales team to make important connections between buyers and customer advocates.
Here are a few key elements of Peer-to-Peer Selling:
- A formal reference program.
- A defined customer story launch process.
- Integration between customer advocacy and sales systems.
- Content that leverages or focuses on customer stories.
- Platforms (events, peer review sites, social media) that foster connections.
I could go into each of these in much more depth and probably will in future posts. For now, I’ve linked some of the topics above to existing resources that will provide you with additional information.
As you’re thinking through your content marketing strategy and budget, I need to leave you with a closing thought. I am not saying content is unimportant. As I mentioned above, content that leverages the voice of the customer is an essential element of Peer-to-Peer Selling. However, it’s not about having a ton of content housed throughout your organization. It’s having the right content, at the right time, that can truly make a REAL difference.
I’d also like to invite you to view an on-demand webinar to hear Ian Levine, our CSO, talk about the importance of Peer-to-Peer Selling. This session also features one of our Reference Management Elites, Cynthia Kortuem Langston, from Act-On Software, who will share a few best-practices she’s discovered while evolving the formal customer marketing program at Act-On.
Peer-to-Peer Selling: Overcoming Buyer Mistrust in the (Mis)Information Age
Better Together: How Peer-to-Peer Selling Strengthens Your Current Sales Methodologies and Initiatives