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Debate: Content Marketing – Quality or Quantity?

If a customer is reading up on your product area, you want them to come across your content, and that content must make them want to buy from you. But with that decision potentially taking months, during which time your prospect’s buying committee may conduct many searches and read what many other vendors have to say, what’s the best content strategy to ensure you land the deal at the end of the day?

Big-budget blockbusters or regular drip-feed?

If you have a bottomless budget it isn’t a problem – you can invest in high-quality, standout, thought-leading content across every channel, throughout the buying cycle. But back in reality, where budgets are slightly more limited, where do you focus? One big, expensive, ground-breaking eBook or research study that shows beyond doubt why people should buy your product and no one else’s? Or a weekly blog post or monthly newsletter that doesn’t contain anything earth-shattering – very few of us can shatter the earth every week – but reminds customers that you’re there, you understand their needs and have the solution they need?

‘Creative and intellectual horsepower’
Technology marketers are divided on the topic. Gary Gould, EMEA Theatre Marketing Director at Panduit(previously marketing lead at Cisco), says content needs to create an emotional connection with buyers, by offering “provocative thoughts, powerful ideas and genuine insight” – and that requires time, effort, and ultimately, money.

“Creative and intellectual horsepower is needed in order to understand customer discontent, appreciate their context and ultimately solve their pain. A series of automated emails with a superficial array of brochures is invariably meaningless.”

In a video interview with Technology Marketing In Mind, Jonathan Brayshaw, global leader for digital communications and social business at Psion, says even creative and intellectual horsepower aren’t enough to win attention in the multichannel era:

“Standing out is the hardest thing in marketing. If you do something that’s clever, witty, entertaining, that’s maybe quarter of the battle. But even more important is working out the right channels. Don’t create a piece of content without thinking about the channels [you’re going to use] and making that content to suit”.

‘Regular, interesting and relevant’
IT marketing consultant Lisa Archer, however, says a regular supply of “quick and dirty” content can be just as effective – and can be spaced out over a months-long buying cycle at much lower cost:

“Shorter posts are more digestible and have a greater chance of being read. They can be shared easily and are cheaper to produce. Through regular, interesting and relevant short posts, you’re more likely to attract search engines and have a greater chance of engaging with your audience (which, let’s face it, is the key)”.

And for Steve Walker , VP of corporate communications at Oracle, interestingness alone can be enough to secure an audience and generate leads, without the show-stopping creative treatments that can hoover up marketing budgets. In our content marketing video he says:

“The challenge is to make your content interesting enough so that it sits well alongside those from other vendors with whom you compete. Interesting enough for people to read what you say and – this is the most important thing – follow whatever call to action you put in it.”

‘We can’t all be Apple or Google’
But is quality vs quantity even the right debate to be having? In a separate guest post for Technology Marketing In Mind, Acrotrend ’s marketing director Ceri Jones argues that the time, money and effort you spend on your content aren’t as important as making sure it gets the right results:

“We can all get a bit hung up on the belief that we need to ‘have a voice’ and ‘cut through’ the noise by churning out more and more stuff. We can’t all be Apple or Google! Content strategies are just like any other: set SMART objectives, plan well, put appropriate KPIs in place, then cross your fingers!”

Over to you
What do you think? If you had £10,000 to spend on a campaign, would you blow it on a show-stopping video or eBook, or eke it out in blog posts and newsletters? We’d love to hear your thoughts – they may even spark another post!