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Just a Book — Why It’s Worthwhile to Invest in Your Audience

As marketers, we understand how challenging it can be to measure the value of marketing. What we tend to focus on is the immediate ROI — analyzing transactional clicks, visits, paths, time on site or even purchases. But can the marketing we are doing today withstand the realities of the future? For our fourth annual book club for marketers, Just a Book, we read “Killing Marketing” to get to the bottom of those questions.

Joe Pulizzi, “Killing Marketing” author and founder of Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World, discusses in the book why we must kill everything we know about marketing and reinvent something new. In order to do this successfully, we must invest in marketing that focuses on content-driven and audience-building initiatives. The success of those initiatives are then measured by the accumulation of attention and access to an audience that your brand can monetize over time.

“We must rebirth a new marketing that makes its living from building audiences for long periods of time, so that we might hold their attention through experiences that place us squarely in the initial consideration set when they are looking for a solution. This is the marketing of the future. It is achieving a long-term return on the one asset that will save our business: an audience.” (Page 60 – 61)

This is not just a marketing tactics transformation — this is a business transformation. It’s looking at marketing as a business model, rather than a cost center, and it starts with investing in the building of your audience. To understand the value of your audience, we must look to the Four C Investment Goals of Value in “Killing Marketing” for investing in your audience: Competency, Campaign Value, Customer Value and Cash.

1. Competency — Making a Smarter Company

When you invest in an audience and provide them with valuable content, you get a group of people who want to hear from you on a continual basis. They want to interact with you.

“These are people who are willingly sharing their personal data, interacting with our tools, and giving us permission to converse with them because we are delivering value through the content-driven experience.” (Page 54)

When you get this type of interaction, your company has the ability to collect valuable data about your audience. When you know more about your audience and understand why they do the things they do, you become a much more competent company. And as a smarter company, you can make better business decisions across sales and marketing that will help you win more.

2. Campaign Value — Supporting Transactional, Promotional Efforts

“An audience that you are delivering value to today may not be in the market for your product or service. But the audience members will be more than happy to tell you when they are in the market for your product or service, and you will be top of mind when they are.” (Page 56)

In today’s campaign-oriented strategies, the focus is on reach and frequency — spending money on campaigns to get your brand’s message in front of as many people as possible. By continuously providing prospects with high-quality owned content, you’re able to hold your audience’s attention and grow a “pre-customer database.” So, when they are finally ready to purchase, your brand will be at the top of your customers’ minds.

3. Customer Value — Creating a More Valuable Customer

“Once leads and prospects become customers, they are prime to become an audience that the company can engage and in whom it can create a larger sense of brand loyalty.” (Page 58)

It’s important to remember that once a member of your audience becomes a customer, the journey does not stop there. Customer events, content-driven apps, magazines and more are all pieces of content that not only make your customers feel good about their purchase, but also empower them with information.

That empowerment will foster intense brand loyalty that brings in a more engaged and frequent customer. Your customer then becomes even more valuable, because you not only keep and retain them through this content experience, but they will also bring revenue for your brand down the line.

4. Cash — Generating Direct Revenue From the Marketing Program

In “Killing Marketing,” the authors discuss how difficult it can be to measure marketing ROI. But when investing in audience and their content experience, companies are seeing the direct cash value of marketing.

“Leading companies are generating direct revenue from their audiences. And they are diversifying their business, generating a higher margin and/or mitigating costs of other marketing activities with this strategy.” (Page 59)

The book provides the example of the growth of Dreamforce. What started as a small event of 1,000 has turned into 170,000 — the largest software event on the planet. That growth was not from a media company, but Salesforce, a software company that truly invested in content to build their audience.

By investing in the value of your audience, you win more customers, grow your brand’s message, keep and retain loyal customers, and bring in direct revenue. This is why the future of marketing starts with your audience. If you want to find out how to create a content-driven experience that will turn your marketing strategy into a profit center, you’ll have to read the book!

You’ll receive your own copy of “Killing Marketing” if you RSVP for our exclusive Q&A with Joe Pulizzi on October 3rd at the American Writers Museum in Chicago.

For more on why the book and event are not to be missed, watch the video below: