How Innovative Dynamics ISVs Are Turning the Old Technique of Content-Based Marketing On Its Head--And Gaining Sales Prospects in the Process

Content-based marketing is a well-established technique for software companies to showcase their expertise. Typically, an executive writes an article about a particular business challenge that his or her company's software solves. The article showcases the company's expertise rather than a particular product.

For example, an ISV selling business intelligence software might produce an article about advances in business thinking about how to improve use of business intelligence, confining itself to assessing the business challenge, and offering realistic advice for dealing with it.

Until just a few years ago, content-based marketing was pretty much a crapshoot. You got your article published in an industry trade publication of some sort, and sat back, hoping the phone would ring with prospects seeking more information about the company behind the article. The only problem was that sometimes the phone wouldn't ring very much or, in some cases, at all. All the sometimes significant amount of money invested in having an article written and then placing it in a specialized publication would be wasted.

Now, thanks to the targeting capabilities afforded by the Internet, content-based marketing is a whole new ball game. An executive still creates an article, typically in the form of a white paper, but depending on where it's published, it's no longer necessary to wait for the phone to ring. That's because some online publications capture the names, corporate positions, and contact information of every user who downloads particular white papers and brochures.

Instead of waiting for the phone to ring, companies can email and call individuals who read a white paper, and quickly determine how serious a lead the individual represents. Some individuals are serious prospects, anxious to buy. Others are in the midst of investigating options, and may be some months off in making a decision. And others are just beginning to examine options. The individuals can then be updated and monitored as they progress in their decision making, much like any sales leads.

And if few individuals are reading your company's content? There's no need to guess about what's happening. Companies know immediately what the response is, and if there are few readers, that means the content isn't connecting well. It may be necessary to change the title, or the thrust of the article, and try anew.

The key here is that innovative marketing outlets have taken much of the guess work out of online marketing. Innovative ISVs are exploiting the new opportunities, and creating a competitive advantage for themselves in the process.

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