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Why You Need to Unite Your Content Marketing and Customer Development Efforts

The best teams are made up of thinkers and doers. Every great business has “idea people,” the ones who come up with big, outrageous schemes (and inventive ways of marketing them). That same business will also have operations experts who can see through these schemes all the way to implementation (while poking holes in the idea along the way).

The strategists may think of themselves as rays of sunshine — and as their colleagues as Debbie Downers — but companies can’t achieve success without insight from both sides. While it’s hard to strike a good balance, we can find harmony in business with the perfect pairings. One of those is content marketing and customer development.

At first glance, these two tactics seem unrelated: Customer development is traditionally a sales tactic, whereas content marketing is used for branding. But when these two are deployed together, the result is business bliss.

Getting to Know Content Marketing and Customer Development

At its core, the purpose of content marketing is to distribute meaningful and engaging content to start conversations with customers. It can help you learn about your customers’ wants and needs, which makes it perfect for customer development.

Customer development has been gaining traction in the startup world for years. Businesses involve potential customers in their products or service offerings from the start, and those customers validate their ideas and influence the businesses at every stage. An effective customer development strategy requires informative customer conversations, which is exactly where content marketing comes into play. 

Using Customers to Guide Your Content  

One of the biggest challenges of content marketing is deciding what type of content to create. To be effective, your content has to be relevant to your target market, interesting, and effective for starting conversations. The questions you pose can help ensure the content meets these criteria.

One way to ensure your content supports your customer development efforts is to use the questions you want answered about potential buyers to drive your topics and inspire people to give you feedback.

Using this kind of inquisitive content ensures it’s relevant because, if it’s not, your audience won’t bother to answer the questions you pose. It will also provide you with a better understanding of the challenges your customers are facing. Use this knowledge to drive your sales and increase customer loyalty when marketing or developing additional products or services.

Questions Your Content Should Ask

A better understanding of your customers can be tremendously valuable to a business. However, it can be hard to know what questions you should ask. You want to learn as much as possible, but you don’t want to come off as intrusive or pushy.

Here are a few questions your content can ask to help your business remain relevant, while also developing a better understanding of your customers:

  • What are your business’s priorities? Create content that asks potential buyers what they dedicate their time and budget toward achieving. This will tell you what they’re willing to spend their limited resources on and allow you to tailor your offerings to what they find most important.
  • What do you use to measure success? Ask potential customers to give you three to five metrics — tangible or intangible — they use to measure success. Whether they want to grow their revenue by a certain amount, increase awareness, or do anything in between, this information will help you design an offering that helps them succeed.
  • What are your perceived barriers? There can be any number of barriers that prevent customers from making a purchase. Design your content to help uncover buyers’ hesitations about your company or its solution. This particular question will help you discover factors playing into a buyer’s decision you may not even have been aware of, such as value, understanding of your company, or prior experiences. Then, you can redirect your marketing efforts to remove those barriers.

In today’s marketplace, customers are constantly bombarded with alternative options. The business that succeeds will be the one with a complete understanding of its potential buyers. It’s time to stop conforming to the old standards of marketing and really dive deep into the problems customers are facing. The best way to do this is to create a strategic content marketing plan that starts with customer development and ends with valuable content.

By combining your customer development and content marketing strategies, you aren’t just reaching out and developing a relationship with the customer; you’re also creating relevant content along the way. The two strategies support one another, and both are improved in the process. For every thinker, you need a doer.