Where does content fit in a Watertight Marketing plan?

A guest post by Bryony Thomas

Every single marketing investment can, and should, be justified on its contribution to long-term sales results. I call it Watertight Marketing. This means knowing exactly where in a person’s buying decision the marketing tool or technique you’re putting time and money into will be used.

So, when Sonja asked me to map valuable content against the Watertight Marketing framework, I jumped at it. There are some naysayers out there who see content marketing as just another marketing fad. And, even more who struggle to see how giving valuable information away for free can possibly make commercial sense. Let’s debunk both these objections!

The Watertight Marketing Framework

Buying decisions at the more considered end of the spectrum are made in a series of steps. The job of your marketing is to provide a path through that whole journey and to act as a helping hand as people choose to take a step forward on their journey to buying from you. Useful and engaging content has a powerful role to play in this.

Their needs = your messages

There’s a really interesting interplay that happens between the right and left side of a person’s brain in a considered purchase. To catch someone’s attention and hook into a need they have, you’re usually best placed appealing to their emotions. Then the logical brain kicks in as they scrutinise your offer. Then, as the decision draws near it needs to feel right and you’re back to emotion. With a mix of marketing content, from tweets to blog, to papers to welcome packs, you can make sure you hit the right emotional and logical triggers to keep someone on the path to your bottom line

Their pace = your timing

Gone are the days of hard sell and proving your sales mettle by the speed at which you can secure a deal. Smarter businesses, with an eye on the long term, know that by earning a right to a person’s time you make sustainable sales with more value to your customers and your coffers. By having an integrated mix of content that starts with something that takes less than 5 seconds to digest and then steadily increases in the time a person gives to it as they move through the decision empowers buyers to choose to move forward. An active choice will almost always result in higher sales value and longer customer relationships than one that started by being corralled into a decision.

Their team = your audiences

The more important the decision, the more opinions will be sought. The sheer quantity of third parties who could now influence a person’s buying decision is mind-boggling. In reality, people turn to different people at different stages. They cast the net wide then draw in to people they really trust. What’s important, from a content marketing perspective, is that you know who a buyer will talk to at what stage in their journey. This means you know what that person needs to know about you. With compelling content that gets the attention and agreement of these people, you increase your chances of the right people saying the right things about you when they’re asked.

So, to those objections:

  • Is content marketing another fad? Really effective content marketing taps into human psychology. I can’t see that changing any time soon.
  • Is it commercial madness to give valuable content away for free? A sales journey that is supported by compelling marketing content is almost always one that ends in higher sales value and a longer relationship. So, I’d say effective content marketing is actually a commercial imperative.

Marketing content is the meat on the bones. Once you’ve mapped out the buying journey, you need to give people a reason to take the first and then the next steps all the way through to becoming a loyal customer. Your content is what makes this journey one people want to go on.

The Framework comes from Bryony’s new book – Watertight Marketing. You can download a free sample chapter and overview here. Highly recommended if you want a marketing operation that wins you business and doesn’t leak profit!

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  1. Jim O'Connor

    Great post, especially like fact it highlights the way the two sides of brain work in conjunction during the buying decision making process.
    Re content marketing being a fad – human nature is not going to change and you can’t un-invent the technology that delivers the content, so it’s certainly not a fad.
    Also, giving content away for free is less costly (nil cost, actually) than paying for traditional media.
    Bryony’s book sounds good too…

  2. Sonja Jefferson

    Hi Jim.

    Thanks for the comment and I agree – her ideas on the buying decision are really useful. I think Bryony calls this ‘the logic sandwich’ in the book – am I right Bry?

    Have had sneak preview of the book and it’s excellent. If anyone knows how to put together a solid marketing operation it’s Bryony – we know this from working with her on various client projects too. Best thing is that the book is written in plain language that any business owner will understand.


  3. Bryony Thomas

    Thank you Jim. Yes, Sonja, it is indeed the Logic Sandwich and it has its very own chapter. Interestingly, I listened to ‘All Marketers Are Liars’ by Seth Godin on a long journey last week. He goes further. He says people decide, emotionally, in the first few seconds and then spend the rest of the journey proving to themselves that they’re right.

  4. lizzie everard

    I really like this thinking. It makes so much sense to me from within creative industry especially, and I’m feeling transformed and inspired by the idea that running your business well involves head AND heart.

    I have known many designers over the years propelled into running their own businesses and it’s the one area where they frieze up in fear.

    Looking forward to learning more, thanks Bryony – and Sonja for the feature!


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