Don’t ‘practice’ on your audience when it comes to Content Marketing. They wont like it.

I was watching an online training video the other day on Content Marketing. It was aimed squarely at marketers and the trainer at one point said, “I cannot stress enough, practice with your content, keep putting more and more out there and you’ll gradually get better at it.” He then went on to discuss the various tools and processes required of today’s content marketers. He was saying there were no excuses, every marketer needed to be on Facebook and Instagram because that’s where customers were sharing their photos.

Watching the video all the way through was hard but I persevered, just in case it all made sense at the end. Needless to say it didn’t. And that’s what the buyer community has to face – marketers putting endless ‘stuff’ out there in the hope that some of it sticks. And marketers ‘practicing’ on their audiences.

At no point did he mention anything about the customers – what they might want to receive and interact with, what they might need to hear to prioritize their purchase, what might be needed to differentiate one supplier over another, etc. It was clear that this marketer didn’t see it as his job.

If you’re a company selling accounting stationery it’s difficult to see how Instagram should be central to your campaigns. If you sell jet engines to aircraft manufacturers I’m not sure how Facebook will help fill your order book. But too many marketers think like this trainer clearly did – that a full marketing plan is a series of cookie-cutter processes. It’s nothing of the sort. A marketing plan should wrap around the needs of the customer – what they need to hear, when they need to hear it and in what format they’ll listen.

You don’t need to cover all bases – as this trainer advocated – you need to cover the right bases. And only your customer- or prospect-base can tell you what’s ‘right’. None of them will appreciate you treating them as guinea-pigs as you misguidedly practice your marketing. They’ll remember that when it does come time to buy.