Channel Marketer Report

Special Features

The Content Gap Is Your Marketing Gold – Take Advantage of It

By Derek Hibbard, CMO, The Fiction Tribe

Channel marketers spend millions of dollars to figure out what customers read and like — the products they look for, and their business priorities.  We know that there’s value to know you and your partners’ audience.  Yet there is a missing layer to understand your customer 100%: the disappointment factor.

Derek Hibbard, CMO, The Friction Tribe

When customers research something, they expect to find answers to their questions. If there’s an authority on a topic, they will get an immediate answer, and favor the company that gave it to them. But not every question has an answer, and we can now see data to determine when audiences are most disappointed with the answers they’re given, or not given at all.

Disappointment city is marketing gold — it shows the content gap: the areas where customers search for hard to find answers and do not find them. That is the area where you should swoop in with extra energy.

For example, one of our clients was interested in marketing certain networking solutions for midmarket businesses. Broad topics, like Wi-Fi or security, were full of content, and users could find answers to their questions. But there was a lot more confusion about how to set up proper employee access: how to safely let employees connect their personal devices to a network.

We took this information quest one step further with a look at the content type landscape: there were tons of white papers on a subject such as intrusion protection, yet few quick-access “How-to-guides” with step-by-step instructions. We exploited this gap and created the specific type of content our client’s prospects searched for.

How do you find this gold?  You’ll need an audience insights engine, either home-grown by your Marketing Ops/IT team, or purchased as a service. You might also be able to deduce some content gaps from SEO research tools, albeit we suspect this process might be tedious, with limited results.

First you will need to describe the areas, the campaign themes, and words you think work for your audience. A content insights engine will then tell you the most popular topics and words your audience uses, sometimes with surprising results.

Second, make this data most actionable as you look for the most popular areas where people in your audience do not find good answers. That’s a key focus area for your new content and words: you answer their questions better, and you will get the most attention from your targets.

Your marketing agency might be able to provide this data. We know of a few companies that buy the data – from third parties — massage it with an extra machine learning step, and make it easy for their clients to find their marketing gold.

With this gap information you can tailor your content even more as you identify another dimension of win. For example, you can build:

  • Content types that don’t exist, but that customers look for, e.g., roadmaps that show you where to start, how to get there, and when your digital disruption initiative is done.
  • Questions that are not being answered well, e.g., “How do I deploy an intrusion protection solution?”
  • Sales presentations that answer questions that cause confusion among your targets.

Find and fill this gap and connect better with your prospects and customers.  This information will also further differentiate your marketing story. When our clients use this information to inform their content strategy, they see a 2X to 5X  increase in their outcomes, e.g., CTR rates.

If you want to best understand your customer, you need to take the extra step to identify the content gap — it’s the gold that will help you create incredible outcomes.

Derek Hibbard is CMO at The Fiction Tribe, an agency that brings creative thinking, digital strategy and machine intelligence together to solve business problems for international B2B businesses.

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