The Marketing Curmudgeon: Why You’ll Never Succeed at Nurture Marketing

Marketing curmudgeon

By Barbara Pfeiffer, The Partner Marketing Group

I’ve been advocating for nurture marketing as an essential component to every successful marketing plan for years. That said, the recent results of our Technology Marketing Survey around nurture marketing were disturbing to say the least.

A full 44% of respondents have NO nurture program in place (although in fairness, half that amount said they will have something in place in the next six months). For people who do have a nurture program in place, less than 30% have a regular rhythm of touches.

The one stat that really alarms me: The majority of respondents are not segmenting their nurture touches by prospects, customers, influencers, channel partners, etc.

How is this possible? Let’s consider, although there are different types of nurturing (read my blog: What is Nurture Marketing), nurture marketing at its core is about staying top of mind with high-value information and helping your reader, whether that’s to do their job better or to make a purchase decision.

How can you possibly provide information that is relevant to me if you don’t segment your nurture efforts? Even at the highest level—before we apply things like industries and roles—technology marketers will have at least two (or in the case of ISVs, three) unique top-line segments, all with different needs:

  • Customers. Provide information on how to get the most out of their existing investment. This can include drill-downs on features you see are underutilized, and tips and tricks. This can also include information on add-ons and upcoming feature/product releases.
  • Prospects. Provide content that addresses the different stages of the sales funnel and helps them to make the right purchase decision. This needs to include pieces at the top of funnel to help prospects “see the possibilities” as well as those at the end to help make the decision (e.g., case studies and ROI information).
  • Partners. Provide information that will help them serve their customers better, including educational content they can use in their own marketing efforts.
  • All. Across ALL these segments, provide information to help them do their job better such as industry trends and what it will mean for their business.

Of course, it’s ideal to go beyond these segments where you can and provide information specific to the roles you are targeting (the CFO will have very different needs than a CIO) as well as information specific to their industry or geography. The more narrowly you can focus your touches, the higher the response will be.

Providing unique content for so many different audiences can be a huge challenge—we get it. In fact,  “not enough content” was noted in our survey as the reason partners are not doing more with nurture campaigns. The key is to consider how much content you really need to provide and in what format. You don’t necessarily need different newsletters with original articles or a huge inventory of whitepapers or eBooks to make nurture work. You can, for example, use a “social digest”  sharing your latest blog posts along with news from around the web. We work with many of our clients on tools like ContentMX that will curate powerful content pieces with minimal effort and time, making it much easier to create multiple versions and laser target the content to your audience.

I’m going to close with a quote (that I was unable to source) that says all you need to know about nurture:

You can give me a chance and treat me right, or you can watch someone else do it for you.

Unless you want someone else to be the partner of choice for your prospects, treat them right!

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