In the 1989 film Field Of Dreams, Kevin Costner plays a farmer who hears a voice in his head advising him “if you build it, they will come.” He does what he is told and clears out some of the crops on his struggling farm to build a baseball field. “They” do indeed come. Ghostly baseball players emerge from the cornstalks to take the field. Costner’s long-dead dad comes from the corn to play a game of catch with him. And the final aerial shot shows a line of cars (presumably baseball-loving admission-paying spectators) making a pilgrimage to Costner’s baseball field.
“If you build it, they will come” has become a mantra for content marketing. Create valuable content and your prospects will find you, and they’ll show up ready to sign purchase orders. But marketers know it is a lot harder than that. It takes a lot of planning & preparation, disciplined execution, and collaboration across marketing & sales teams to make content marketing work and to convert it to business.
Here’s an example of a good content marketing campaign we created at SDL.
At SDL we were selling translation services and technology, helping companies “go global.” One of our key markets was Life Sciences. We determined a good point of entry for Life Sciences companies would be website globalization — making the website available to global audiences in many languages. We contracted with independent analyst John Yunker of Byte Level Research to create a custom version of his annual Web Globalization Report Card. We provided Yunker with a list of our Life Sciences target accounts, some of the biggest global biopharma companies in the world, and Yunker applied his research methodology analyzing their websites.
Web Globalization Leaders in Life Sciences report by Byte Level Research: a 53-page review of the websites of 25 leading Life Sciences companies. Each website was graded on 4 attributes of globalization proficiency and given a final ranking (Bayer had the top score, followed by Merck, etc.). Best practices in web globalization were identified and illustrated with real-world examples.
The 53-page report Web Globalization Leaders in Life Sciences analyzes and ranks the global websites for 25 top Life Sciences companies and outlines web globalization best practices.
Promotions were sent to web management executives from these companies as well as other senior marketing titles (influencers). Web and marketing executives at these companies would want to see their own score… and would also want to compare their score to the performance of their close competitors.
In advance of asset completion we wanted to be sure our Account-Based Marketing was ready to go. We used 3rd party database subscriptions like LeadSpace, RainKing, ReadyContacts and LinkedIn to increase the buyer and influencer contacts from our target accounts in our internal database.
We developed a sequence of email messages and inside sales calling campaigns to promote the report and the support assets, and to drive registration to the webinar. Emails would be spaced far enough apart so inside sales could call and follow up on each email.
We launched a LinkedIn PPC campaign targeting senior marketing and web titles at the specific companies in our target account list as well as other large Life Sciences companies.
We posted a series of social media promotions to our company LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
- 5-page executive summary of the report (used as a teaser asset in some nurture sequences; determined through testing to be a less effective offer than the full report)
- Webinar (live and recording) featuring John Yunker reviewing his findings
- 3-post blog series by John Yunker reviewing his findings
- Infographic: “10 Tips for Better Web Globalization in Life Sciences”
- Scatter chart of the relative ranking of the 25 companies in the report (We determined through testing that this scatter chart increased response to PPC ads and email campaigns and increased conversion on landing pages.)
- Many emails and social media posts promoting hero and support assets
- Landing pages for the hero asset and support assets
- Call scripts for inside sales reps following up the emails
- Sales presentation deck and printed reports customized for each of the 25 companies (to be delivered by sales staff during any meetings generated by this campaign)
An assortment of support assets – emails, call scripts, PPC ads, social media posts, infographics, sales presentations, etc. — were created to tease and promote the hero asset.
This was a successful lead gen campaign, well-planned & executed, exhibiting excellent collaboration between multiple marketing departments and sales. In the first week of promotion we already had triggered a meeting request from one of the Life Sciences companies in our target account list.
As I mentioned in the intro, good content marketing requires a solid team effort and this project was no exception to that:
- I worked to develop the content strategy with Cynthia Spiers. Cynthia drove the creation of the hero asset with the analyst, myself and the other internal reviewers, and SDL’s design department.
- I worked with Greg Bebezas on the LinkedIn PPC strategy. Greg deployed the campaign with LinkedIn and made adjustments as the results came in to maximize ad and landing page conversion.
- I managed Robin Mazer on my field marketing team to set up the campaign in Marketo and Salesforce.com to do the email blasts and measure responses. Robin also performed target account database building in advance of the campaign. We met regularly with inside sales to coordinate calling campaigns to follow up on our email blasts and to ensure proper lead handling. Robin also had her hands on the controls of the webinar to manage the Q&A and make the recording.