When I speak, I always encourage attendees to reach out and ask me questions. Daniel Benyo sent me a list of questions after listening to my presentation “New Rules of Marketing” in Hungary. Q1: How can a cross-border marketer best understand segments that he never interacted before? A: If you want to sell something to a different country, the best way is to travel to that country to see the market first hand. It’s also important to build your sales network by hiring local sales reps or local channel partners. Visit them and have them introduce you or meet some of the potential customers. That’s on the sales front. Q2: How much analysis, research is needed before you start a content marketing campaign targeted at a foreign market compared to when you do it on your own? A: On the marketing front, you can check if there are any customers from that county who have come to your website and downloaded any content. If you have their e-mail addresses or contact information, reach out to them and see if you can engage them in phone calls or focus groups. Talk to your potential customers and get to know them. That’s the best way to learn. Here is the reality: the amount of analysis and research that you can do depends on your budget. Your budget will dictate your analysis and research efforts. If you don’t have a budget, just start somewhere or anywhere. Start with your local contacts if you have any, gather information then refine as you go. You are bound to make mistakes. We all do! Learn from them and move on! Q3: If you are aiming at global content marketing, you have to do a lot more segmenting than if you target smaller markets – is this something that only large multinational corporations can do, or is it possible – in terms of resources – for smaller companies as well? A: Smaller companies can do segmentation as well. My recommendation is to start with your products. Do you need to customize your products for another country? If the products are homogenous, maybe you don’t need to have multiple segments. If you need to customize and repackage your products completely, you very likely will need a different set of audience segmentation or different messaging to serve the local needs. I’d start from the product first, then ask yourself what will users do with the products? How will they use them? Maybe the usage models are different. The product customization and usage model will dictate if you need a separate segmentation or not.
Q4: In your experience what are the results of not having a content calendar? Chaos, unrealistic goals, missed deadlines?
A: Well, it depends. If you are a one-person marketing team, you may not need a content calendar, especially if you are the content creator and promoter. If you are working with a team, it’s best to have a content calendar. It’s a way to guide the team and avoid duplication.
Please bear in mind that chaos still happens, even if you have a content calendar! Things just happen in the real world, such as customer complaints, real-time PR crises, early product launches. Your editorial needs to be agile and adjust to changes which may impact your company’s brands and image.
Chaos never goes away, but processes and tools will minimize it.
Q5: Do you think content marketing is for everyone? For one-man businesses to the largest enterprises? How can small companies with very limited budget, time and energy on their hands compete with complete in-house content marketing departments? A: I think everyone is doing content marketing. If you are a small company with a website and a blog, you are, in a way, doing content marketing. If you create a white paper and share it with your customers or use it as part of an e-mail campaign, you are doing content marketing. The question is not if content marketing is for everyone. The question is whether you have time and resources to do content marketing continuously and do it right. You are not necessarily competing with other companies in terms of content marketing, but rather you need to understand what you are trying to accomplish and match that to your budget and resources. Q6: How can any business maintain a content strategy long term? How can they find new and new topics, new stories to tell? A: Like everything else, long-term efforts require budget and resources. Management buy-in is super-critical. Although there is nothing new under the sun, you can always find something new to say about something old. The best way to find something new is to talk to your subject matter experts, your sales people, your customers, your management team… Things happen every day in your company. There is always something to share and something to say. You need to pay attention. Q7: Last year Joe Pulizzi told me that the main reason of content campaign fails is that companies don’t set realistic goals and don’t realize that the first 6-12 months are all about building your audience. Do you agree with this? A: Yes. You can’t build Rome in one day. You can’t write 15 blog posts and expect your website traffic to increase 10X. I have written over 200 blog posts in the past three years. Well, these blog posts really didn’t bring me much revenue per se, but it established me as a thought leader in the field of global content marketing. The recognition of being a thought leader brings opportunities. You need to understand what you want to accomplish with content marketing and, most importantly, get your management to support it. Content marketing is like a long purchase cycle, it can take 12-months to see the impact… Unfortunately, there is no short cut. Management likes short-term results but you need to set clear expectations upfront. Q8: What should the goals of a content strategy be – and what KPIs to watch? A: At a tactical level, it depends on what your company’s marketing promotion channels are. Your content needs to closely tie with your promotion and syndication channels. For example: if a white paper is used for e-mail campaign and event collateral, you need to know the number of downloads as well as the number of business cards collected at the event. Q9: How do you think modern technology will change content marketing in the coming years? For example, do you think content creation and distribution can be completely automized? A: In my opinion, the company’s content marketing efforts will be closely tied to online and offline user experience and augmented reality moving forward. For example: In the near future, you can stand in front of a mirror in your house and virtually try on clothes which may then be tailor made to your order. Content will pop up on a virtual screen to share with you the latest fashion tips and trends and recommendations for similar outfits (the virtual service will show you with accessories that others who tried similar clothing bought.) In addition, your online experience needs to be optimized for whatever device are used by customers, from desktop, laptops, tablets, mobile devices to wearables and whatever comes next. But it is unlikely that the creation of content can be automated in the foreseeable future. Q10: One of your earlier interviews brought the term “hero product” to my attention. Can you explain what makes a hero product? A: In simple terms, the hero product of your company is the product that brings in the most revenue. You can also define a hero product as the one that the company wants to focus on and therefore allocates the most marketing budget for.
Do you have questions you want to ask? Send them my way! I am ready!