Marketing is a fluid practice that constantly adapts to changing times. However, as rapidly as marketing as a concept can change, marketing as a practice employed by the business community is typically slower to adapt to the times.We spoke with Marketing Consultant and Thought Leader Patrick McFadden
about the best practices within the modern age of marketing. Patrick is a multi-talented strategic marketer who thinks
the industry differently. Patrick built his career around developing, strengthening, and optimizing marketing programs, and his recommendations have been identified as “rare, concise, straight to the point, beneficial, and informative.”Patrick shared some insights about how to define the content marketing lifecycle, the best method to profile a target audience, and even his own thoughts on the future of content marketing. His responses were compiled into a series of tips that can help you develop your next content marketing strategy.
A Modern Marketer is Defined by an Ability to Lead What defines a modern marketer in today’s rapidly evolving landscape?
“I think it’s important that we first define what a traditional marketer used to be: very transactional, interrupter, spamming consumers with unwanted messages and a taker,” says Patrick.
Modern marketers recognize that audiences no longer respond to advertising or to the feeling of being pushed into responding to communications. Modern marketing is more organic as if you are having a two way conversation with your respective audience. Patrick defines this strategy as “building a journey that guides prospects and customers from awareness to loyalty and their commitment to a process.” Marketers guide customers on this journey by using content to tell a story or provide relevant information as it impacts a consumer. However, marketers must also be prepared to adjust their tactics in the face of changing circumstances.
The Customer Lifecycle Defines the Content Marketing Lifecycle How do you best define the content marketing lifecycle?
“I’ve put together a simple process that acknowledges the path that most buyers take: suspect to prospect, prospect to customer, and customer to advocate.”
The content marketing lifecycle is a process used by marketers to develop content strategies. The first step of the process is to outline a plan
for your content, which requires setting goals for your marketing team and answering important questions such as:
Why are you creating content?
What do you hope to achieve with your content?
How will you measure the effectiveness of your content?
Who is your target audience and what do they respond to?
How can you use content to guide your audience through their own lifecycle? These are just some of the questions that will define your content marketing plan, but once you develop your plan, you can begin creating content. You also need to create a plan to distribute your content and measure its effectiveness. The final step is to optimize your existing content for the best possible ROI and use your refined strategy to improve the lifecycle moving forward. Patrick’s advice is to match “different kinds of content with the stages” of the customer lifecycle to successfully navigate the content marketing lifecycle. Different forms of content will guide suspects to become prospects, prospects to become customers, and finally customers to become advocates. You can rest easy when more members of your audience voluntarily become advocates of your brand, faithfully recommending your company as a reliable source of information.
The Best Way to Build Any Relationship is to Help People Achieve their Goals, Doing It Reliably and Repeatedly How do you recommend content marketers approach influencers, and what do you suggest is the best way to build that relationship?
“I always recommend approaching influencers by listening first.”
Influencer marketing is a relatively new term but it is quickly becoming synonymous with a successful content marketing strategy. You could spend hours in your days tracking the habits of influencers and identifying the best ways to connect with those thought leaders. Patrick’s advice is to approach your ideal expert thinkers legitimately. This means following their social channel accounts, liking and commenting on content they’ve created, and organically build a relationship together. People ultimately want to help those who help them. If you put in the effort to connect with an influencer, you are far more likely to earn the services of a powerful ally that will help you achieve your goals.
Your Best Customers have Two Very Important Characteristics: They Are Profitable and They Refer You Is there a preferred method you recommend to profile your target audience?
“The best method for profiling your target audience is to spend time identifying your best customers.”
Remember that understanding your target audience is an important element within your content marketing plan. Profiling your audience is a progressive strategy
to identify what topics interest your ideal customer, and what types of content will most likely engage with them. Patrick recommends an even more progressive means of establishing an audience profile; interview your best customers. Customers who knowingly use your product or service are likely satisfied with your brand, and are more likely to respond to profiling. Use this opportunity to ask open ended questions, which Patrick says is an excellent chance to learn more information about your consumers. “Determine the MEDIA CHANNELS your customers give their attention (eyes and ears) too, the LANGUAGE your customers use when describing why they buy from you, the WORDS and PHRASES your customers use when explaining what they value about what you do, and the DESCRIPTION of the perfect buying experience.”
Answers obtained from these types of questions help you refine your marketing strategy for even greater return.
Avoid Implementing Tactics That Don’t Align with Business Objectives What are some of the pitfalls you would advise marketers to avoid?
Patrick was very straightforward with advice on this question. He recommends that you use your time wisely by focusing on executing a campaign rather than being bogged down by a seemingly endless number of meetings. Less time spent focused on doing the job means fewer results are delivered. You should also constantly remind yourself of your company’s overall business goals and how you use content to deliver on those goals. Implementing a content plan that fails to sync with the core business objectives will disconnect your brand, your team, and your audience.
Creating Content With Intention What do you consider to be the next natural evolution in content marketing?
As stated above, marketing is a very fluid concept that is constantly evolving with the times. The same is true for content marketing, especially as over two thirds of companies are investing more resources in content to expand their funnel and increase awareness about their brand. Patrick says the next natural evolution in content marketing is business owners recognizing the benefits already known to marketers. Creating more content strictly for the sake of publishing is less effective than creating content with a purpose. Patrick recommends that any new content add value to one of four fundamental business objectives:
By thinking of smart content marketing strategies that evolve as you acquire new information, You’ll likely create an asset that provides massive return.