The amount of information available is staggering. So much noise is created on a daily basis through content publishing that it's a real challenge to find anything meaningful. We've all created our own personal filters to help us sort through the mess to find content we consider valuable and, most important, relevant to our interests.
Getting back to the title of this post, I'll bet most of you would choose to have your marketing content serve as a vortex, sweeping across the Web and attracting "leads" at unprecedented rates.
Not so fast.
Marketers need to stop thinking about lead generation from a quantity perspective and start focusing on quality. Marketing content needs to be designed to help you do just that. Time is one of our most precious resources. We need to maximize our efficiency if we're to generate the sales-ready leads that our sales teams clamor to pursue.
If we get better at designing content to attract leads who are both a cultural and a buyer fit, then we save time sifting through the shale to find the gold. This is only possible if we truly know who our ideal buyers are and what they want/need to take next steps with us.
Everyone is not your buyer. So get over it right now and let those who aren't go.
I hear repeatedly that marketing has limited resources, but yet they still charge out into the marketplace trying to attract as many "leads" as they can. Then they end up passing unqualified leads to salespeople and wonder why sales isn't so interested when marketing tells them the lead they're sending over is a hot prospect.
You've likely heard a lot about creating buyer personas. A persona is definitely a key component in helping you to create successful content marketing programs. This said, with this information you should also be able to recognize who is not a potential customer for your company - regardless of whether or not they downloaded your white paper or attended your latest webinar. What we forget is that personas not only define who our customers are, but they also serve as a reminder of who is not our customer.
Now, before you start groaning at the injustice of it all, consider this:
If your content is written to truly engage a specific niche, persona or target segment (however you define this) it should naturally repel all those who aren't a fit as time goes on. That's because it won't be relevant to them as the story unfolds during nurturing.
By using content as a filter, marketers can focus on and prioritize their efforts to meet the needs of those who will buy at some future point.
If we don't eliminate those who won't ever become our customers we can find ourselves watching their behavior and modifying our programs to address what they're telling us they need. It would be a shame to make those changes all because we jammed our databases with people who will never become our customers and then allowed them to sway our programs because their behavior indicated we should do so.
All I'm saying is to be careful of the feedback you follow. Using your content as a prospect filter can be a good thing. Instead of worrying about the volume number for lead generation, start focusing on showing pipeline transitions, sales accepted leads and closed deals. That's what leads to marketing accountability.