Upgrading Your Lead Generation and Moving Past Traditional Gated Content Campaigns

Raise your hand if you've heard this before: "I read an eBook and decided to buy a $100K product." No one? That's what I thought.

You see, this scenario is practically unheard of, especially when it comes to high-stakes purchases. And yet, a surprising number of marketers still spend hundreds of thousands of dollars running ads for gated downloadable sales brochures in a misguided attempt to fast-track sales pipeline.

Understanding the Nature of Considered Purchases

When you're dealing with considered purchases—those big-ticket items that require significant thought and deliberation before parting with hard-earned money—it's not a game of instant gratification. Considered purchases contrast starkly with impulse buys, those nifty little items that you toss into your online shopping cart without a second thought.

Considered purchases demand a decision-making process that extends over weeks, months, even years sometimes. Think about it like cooking a gourmet meal—it requires careful planning, the right ingredients, and, most importantly, time.

Take the example of SAP, a market leader in enterprise application software. When a company decides to implement SAP software, it's not a spur-of-the-moment decision. It's a strategic move that takes months of research, deliberation, and planning. SAP maintains its market position by consistently providing valuable content, establishing industry partnerships, and continuously innovating its products, thereby staying top of mind throughout the lengthy decision-making process.

The Journey Towards a Large Purchase

Imagine you're planning a road trip. You don't just hop in the car and start driving, right? You map out the route, make accommodation reservations, and plan pit stops. Similarly, the journey towards a high-value purchase is rarely a direct sprint from need to purchase.

This journey is typically marked by a series of stages—awareness, consideration, preference, and finally, the purchase. Successful brands don't just wait at the finish line, hoping to catch the customer as they cross it. They accompany the customer throughout the journey, acting as a guide and trusted resource.

Let's look at Adobe, a leader in creative software. Adobe doesn't just focus on the endgame of selling its Creative Cloud subscriptions. Instead, it engages potential customers from the awareness stage, with free tutorials and resources for creatives. It continues this engagement throughout the consideration and preference stages, through webinars, workshops, and community platforms. Thus, Adobe effectively navigates the journey alongside its customers, always staying visible and relevant.

The Role of Content in Keeping a Brand Top of Mind

In the age of information overload, being just another voice in the crowd doesn't cut it. Your content—whether it's blog posts, whitepapers, or social media updates—needs to provide genuine value to stand out and stick in the minds of potential buyers.

Think of your content as the tasty breadcrumbs that lead Hansel and Gretel (the customers) safely to your product or service. These breadcrumbs should be so irresistible that they can't help but follow the trail.

HubSpot, the inbound marketing pioneer, stands as a testament to this approach. HubSpot's marketing blogs, eBooks, and free courses aren't just self-promotional tools—they are rich, valuable resources that help businesses navigate the challenges of digital marketing. As a result, when these businesses are ready to invest in a marketing automation tool, HubSpot naturally comes to mind.

Community Involvement and Industry Partnerships

Building connections within your industry's community and forging partnerships can significantly boost your brand visibility. It's like being an active member of a neighborhood—you're more likely to be remembered if you're involved and helpful.

Sponsorships can be seen as a more formal aspect of community involvement. However, today, we see the rise of industry partnerships, where businesses band together to create mutually beneficial networks.

Take the example of Shopify and Oberlo. Shopify provides an e-commerce platform for businesses, and Oberlo is a marketplace for entrepreneurs to find products to sell on their Shopify stores. By partnering, both companies enhance their offerings, making each more attractive to potential users and strengthening their positions in the market.

Evangelizing the Category Through People

There's no spokesperson like a satisfied customer, or a motivated employee. These people can evangelize your product or service, promoting it not because they're paid to, but because they truly believe in it.

Let's consider Tesla. While Tesla does use traditional advertising to some extent, it's the passionate community of owners and enthusiasts that truly drives the brand's popularity. Tesla owners often become evangelists, sharing their positive experiences and advocating for the brand and its mission.

The Difficulty and Necessity of Measuring Marketing Efforts

Marketing activities, especially those aimed at long-term brand positioning, can be challenging to measure. It's like trying to capture a panorama with a polaroid camera—you might capture parts of the picture, but the full view is much more complex and encompassing.

That doesn't mean these efforts aren't worthwhile. Like a slow-roasting turkey on Thanksgiving, some things need time to fully develop their flavors. Your marketing efforts might take time to show tangible results, but the resulting impact can be powerful and long-lasting.

Respecting and Understanding Your Audience

You've heard the saying, "The customer is always right," but it goes deeper than that. In marketing, it's essential to respect your audience and understand their needs, desires, and pain points. It's not enough to just know who your customers are—you need to empathize with them, understand their journeys, and find ways to add value.

Apple does this exceptionally well. They understand their audience's desire for innovation, design, and simplicity. Every product, every ad, and every message resonates with these core desires, thereby building a loyal customer base that eagerly anticipates every new product release.

The Core of Great Marketing: Strategy

At the heart of all these marketing efforts lies the strategy—a carefully crafted game plan that guides your marketing activities. Think of it as your GPS on the long road to a successful sale. It's not enough to just "do marketing." You need to "do marketing strategically."

A sound marketing strategy takes into account your business's unique selling proposition, your audience's needs, and the competitive landscape. It balances short-term wins with long-term goals, ensuring you don't lose sight of the big picture in pursuit of immediate results.

Consider Amazon's strategy of "customer obsession." This guiding principle informs every aspect of Amazon's marketing—from personalized recommendations to seamless return policies. It's no wonder that Amazon has become a go-to destination for a diverse range of needs.

Stepping into the Future with Confidence

Marketing, especially in the realm of high-stakes purchases, isn't easy. But remember—the tortoise won the race not by sprinting, but with steady, consistent effort. Your marketing might not yield immediate results, but with a patient, respectful, and strategic approach, you're setting up your brand for enduring success.

Take a moment to reflect on your current practices. Are you trying to rush the process or are you willing to invest time in creating a lasting impact? Are you genuinely providing value or just pushing for a sale?

The future is ripe with possibilities. So, let's step into it with confidence, ready to provide value, forge lasting relationships, and make a mark. Happy marketing!

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