How is Content Marketing Changing Buyer Behaviour?

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How is content marketing changing buyer behaviour?  In fact, content marketing is not changing buyer behaviour.

A brief history of Content Marketing

The truth is, content marketing has been around for a long time. It all began back in the late 1800s.  In 1895, John Deere started publishing a magazine called, “The Furrow”. The purpose of this magazine was to become a resource for his customers, and educate farmers on how to better manage their crops to become more fruitful business owners. John Deere published this magazine for the purpose of educating his target audience, not selling. By providing this magazine to farmers, John Deere wanted to become a thought leader and used content marketing to align farming with his expertise and brand. Clearly, this venture has been very successful for John Deere, which begs the question; was John Deere the original content marketer?

Traditional Marketing Vs. Content Marketing

If content marketing is not changing buyer behaviour, then what is? It is the distribution and accessibility of content that is effectively changing buyer behaviour.  The evolution of content marketing and the way it is distributed and accessed is changing the ground rules in marketing and sales. Traditional examples of content marketing which include direct sales, static websites, print advertising, brochures, press releases, catalogues, branded magazines, direct mail, radio, and more, are phasing their way out.

Traditional content marketing saw a gradual evolution from traditional content (hard copy) to digital and social content marketing. The evolution of content marketing has eliminated geographic constraints as consumers can now read and learn about anything online, and on their mobile devices, regardless of their location. ‘’Googling’’ has become one of the most popular words in the English language allowing online consumers to quickly and efficiently search for any topic under the sun- in less than one minute.

In 1993, we saw the birth of the e-book, which paved the way for corporations to create content and publish it to a wide audience. In 1998, blogging became popular and it wasn’t long until bloggers opinions and insights were regarded credible enough to make the news. In 2003, we started to get social with MySpace, which was soon surpassed by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Digital and social content marketing also includes content such as case studies, white papers, blogs, e-books, Infographics, Webinars, Podcasts, Google + and more.

What does the evolution of Content Marketing tell us? 

The emergence and growth of digital and social content marketing means buyers are being bombarded with content and information overload on a daily basis. So, what can we take away from the evolution of content marketing, and the content overload trend, and how does this relate to Advisors in the Financial Services industry? First, let’s look at some statistics that speak to the accessibility of content, and the importance of the new form of content marketing:

  • 92% start with a search engine when looking for a particular product or solution. (Cremarc, 2015)
  • 60% of the sales journey is completed before a customer makes contact with a sales person. (Hubspot, 2015)
  • 61% have an open mind when searching online. They do not know whom they will purchase from.(Cremarc, 2015)
  • 50% of buyers create a short-list before they get to the stage of engaging a sales person.(Cremarc, 2015)

The evolution of content marketing has taught us the importance of having an established online presence and content marketing strategy. Advisors can no longer differentiate by service, price, and performance. In a world where the majority of the sales journey is complete before a consumer speaks to a sales person, people are choosing to do business with you because of your specialized and unique thought leadership, that should be easily accessible online.  So, how can Advisors cut through the content overload?

  • Advisors need to create content that is unique, valuable, and of high quality, instead of promotional.
  • Advisors need to create content that is for the consumer, rather than for promoting the business.
  • Content needs to offer the consumer something that is new and valuuable to them.  Advisors’  content should help to solve their questions and challenges, and help do their homework for them.
  • Content should evoke conversations and make people want to share it.
  • Advisors need to use their content to become thought-leaders.
  • Create content that targets prospects at different phases of the buyers journey.

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Where do you think the future of content marketing will take us?

Guide to Content Marketing

 

Liferay Announces a Platform for the Digital Enterprise

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This article originally appeared here on www.liferay.com

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Liferay Digital Experience Platform helps improve customer experiences by bridging organizational silos and processes

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — (May 3, 2016) — Liferay, Inc., which makes software for enterprises, announced today the Liferay Digital Experience Platform (DXP), designed to help companies create and manage experiences that support the end-to-end customer relationship. With Liferay DXP, digital innovation leaders can enable every business unit in the enterprise to serve the customer consistently, by integrating deeply with business operations and building an understanding of the customer with every interaction.

“Businesses today are moving beyond a narrow focus on marketing to look at the whole experience of their customers,” said Edwin Chung, VP of Product Management for Liferay. “Liferay DXP helps companies present the right personalized experience for the moment: frustrated customers need help, not targeted offers, while a great service experience is an opportunity to upsell. By deeply integrating with the systems that support business units and processes, companies can act on customer sentiment and history to give customers the right resource or offer when they’re ready for it.”

A recent Forrester study* found that the No. 1 technical barrier facing digital experience leaders was inadequate integration with backend systems. Customers expect to have ready access to information locked in these systems, including order status, issues reported, profile information and a history of interactions. The brands that earn customer loyalties will be those that have all enterprise resources and departments available to help the customer. But while many CMS and DXP vendors use targeted content and offers to drive sales, they often fall short of nurturing the relationship with deeper interactions that tie into a company’s business operations.

With Liferay DXP, sales, marketing, support and service teams can truly work together for the customer. The Liferay platform assembles a comprehensive view of the customer from separate systems, uses that insight to improve customer interactions, and integrates those interactions to the company’s operations. Liferay DXP also enables partners and employees to interact with customers to influence sentiment and support the relationship.

Liferay DXP provides:

  • Flexible architecture for transformation: Liferay allows you to quickly implement digital strategy and adapt to new digital technologies with reusable microservices and integration with existing applications.
  • Experience management: Customer-facing business units that touch customers can design highly personalized experiences, from marketing campaigns to customer service processes, by targeting useful information, offers, and resources to user segments and individuals.
  • Single view of the customer: Liferay DXP creates a single customer profile aggregated from all of the customer’s interactions with the company, along with important data points such as customer sentiment, interests and significant conversions.
  • Engagement data: Improve customer experiences with access to engagement data such as video content views, click-throughs on targeted content, community activity and social metadata.
  • Support for innovative interfaces: DXP is designed to be used with modern UI and app frameworks favored by savvy front-end and mobile developers

For more information about the Liferay Digital Experience Platform, please visit liferay.com/digital-experience-platform.

Product Availability:

Liferay DXP will be available for purchase at the end of May 2016.

*Grannan, Mark, et al., “Vendor Landscape: Digital Experience Portals,” Forrester Research, Inc., January 4, 2016

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About Liferay

Liferay makes software that helps companies create digital experiences on web, mobile and connected devices. Our platform is open source, which makes it more reliable, innovative and secure. We try to leave a positive mark on the world through business and technology. Companies such as Adidas, Carrefour, Cisco Systems, Danone, Fujitsu, Lufthansa Flight Training, Siemens, Société Générale and the United Nations use Liferay. Visit us at www.liferay.com.

Advisors: Reach your Prospects by Posting at Optimal Times

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More than 60% of Financial Advisors, who prospected on LinkedIn, successfully gained new clients as a result (source). As a Financial Advisor, having an online presence, specifically social media, is crucial to helping to convert prospects into clients and growing your business.

With almost 1.6 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 320 million on Twitter, and over 100 million on LinkedIn – being active on these social media giants needs to be part of your digital marketing strategy (source).

However, it isn’t just about flying by the seat of your pants and posting content whenever, wherever.  It is important to have a solid social media strategy in place. To find the most optimal time to reach your target audience, it’s going to take time and research. Think about:

  • What day and time are people the most engaged with your posts?
  • When do your posts reach the most people?
  • Is posting more frequently benefiting you or hurting you?

To get you started, take a look at this infographic by SurePayroll, which outlines when the best time to reach out to your audience is on several social media platforms. Keep in mind that this is not a one-size-fits-all formula; you will still have to do some of your own research, and analyze your own profiles to see what is working for you, and what is not.

 

Advisors: Reach your Prospects by Posting at Optimal Times Infographic