Would you pay for content?

Question:  With so much free content online, would you really pay £1-£2 for a short white paper / ebook if it helped you in your job?

I recently conducted a quick and dirty survey poll through Linkedin exploring the topic of paid for content. Clearly, there is a huge amount of information made available for free online right now with lots of companies realising the benefits of using content to drive interest and position as expert.

The freemium model, which was for so long the mainstay of the software sector – where people accessed free but restricted software needing paid updates at a future point – has now rolled out to the information sector.

I was interested in establishing if business professionals would be prepared to put their hand in their pocket (or draw out their busincss credit card) and pay for content that looked like it might add value to their role or their business.

Thanks if you contributed. Here are the results.

 

I thought this was especially relevant given much of the advice online at the moment centres on publishing material far and wide in as many formats as possible.

Seth Godin’s recent piece for his new digital publishing initiative, The Domino Project, highlights some of the downward trends in traditional publishing and how businesses and individuals will need to adjust their strategies in the future – in order to 1/ cut through and 2/ make a meaningful return.

What do you want from a marketing blog – poll feedback

Thanks to everyone who took the poll on Linkedin and took the time to add a comment as well. All feedback gratefully received.

It’s fairly unanimous that marketers look for information that is going to enrich them in their roles and stimulate fresh thinking and new ideas when reading blogs and websites online.

Some really interesting comments threw up how how to and best practice focused articles could actually draw on case study experience, even drawn from an interview!

So not entirely cut and dry but one thing is clear – people don’t want theory, they want real world experience they can learn and benchmark against.

Looking forward to implementing this insight into my future blogging. Thanks again for contributing.

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What do you want from a marketing blog?

 

I’m running a survey on Linkedin right now, soliciting feedback from people operating in and around the sales and marketing environment.

The poll is one question and I’d love for you to stop by and take a moment to have your say.

 

Please click this link and you should arrive on the page.

The poll runs until 15 June 2011. Thanks for your input.

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Was Social Media World Forum worth the money?

Well, it was my first poll on Linkedin so maybe I didn’t promote it well enough (proves I don’t yet know it all!) But even in a tiny sample group I think it throws up some interesting feedback.

If you attended, what do you think?

6 creative ways to use Twitter for business

Twitter is like Marmite. People love it or hate it. And even within the pro-Twitter group, there is a significant number that fail to maximise the exposure the platform provides. Which does little to convince businesses and brand owners to give it a go.

To avoid the humdrum of updating people on where you are having your lunch, or indeed what you having, consider using Twitter in the following six ways.

1. Run a poll. Snapshot market research. Done. Provides great content for a blog or press release, creating something newsworthy.

2. Run a time sensitive promotion. Arguably easier for retail based or hyper local businesses , but professsional services companies shouldn’t rule out the value of providing limited time access to ‘valuable’ information and insight packaged into white papers and pdf downloads. A great lead generator too.

3. Support events. More and more seminars and conferences create a #hashtag pror to an event to link all tweets related to that event. It’s simple, searchable and incredibly effective. Maintaining the community after an event by sharing content and continuing discussions maximises this further.

4. Share relevant industry news. Raise your profile by associated yourself with the latest news and views in your industry. Using services like Twitterfeed and Google Reader you can quickly and easily keep on top of the latest news without having to visit dozens of websites every day.

5. Look for new recruits. Write a catchy tweet with a link to further content on your website or blog to encourage the best talent on the Internet to make themselves known.

6. Take advantage of location. One of the biggest advances in technology and marketing as smart mobile phones develop. It is estimated that there will be more smart phones than computers accessing the Internet by 2013. Thats two years away. Twitter synchs seamlessly with other location based services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places.

And indeed, linking ‘location’ with any of the points above provides for a smart, engaging and potentially lead generating return from Twitter.

And hey, not an overtly self promotional ‘broadcast’ tweet in sight.  Thats the way to do it in style. It rarely pays to be the loudest guy in the room.

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Why the Top 50 UK Brands survey does little for b2b marketing (and me)

Marketing Week’s ‘Top 50 British Brands’ made interesting and confusing reading to me over the weekend, not least because it was almost entirely dominated by consumer focused brands.

Drawing on the findings from the Brand Finance valuation survey, the list features the 50 ‘most valuable brands of British origin’ and suggests that British business is on the up as these companies have increased their combined brand value from £166bn in 2009 to £199bn in 2010.

The top five are Vodafone, HSBC, Tesco, Orange and Shell. Clearly the survey’s findings were developed before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as BP sit at 7th.

Call me a skeptic but don’t most UK marketers work in a business selling things to other businesses? Digging deeper, there are a handful of overtly B2B companies such as professional services firms PWC (8), KPMG (11), Deloitte (12), Ernst & Young (14), the mining group RioTinto (29), information and education provider Pearson (34) and security firm G4S (38), But I find the list and how it was created somehow disappointing from a B2B marketing perspective.

Why? Most of the remaining companies on the list operate in consumer and business markets, and muddy the waters with their marketing by trying to apply a common approach. Also, emotional scoring plays a big part in brand value metrics, and this is significantly more important in a consumer brand evaluation as opposed to the complex, multi tier, multi contact influencer approach required in business marketing. B2C and B2B brands should be treated separately.

When they’re not, we end up with a table that gives Vodafone and Tesco a much higher rating than Rio Tinto or G4S. But is this right or fair? Can we truly compare a business like Rio Tinto on similar metrics to a company like Vodafone and then rank them? Personally, I don’t think we can because they operate in different ways, delivering different needs to very different customers.

Expanding the argument further, here is the 2010 list of 500 ‘business superbrands’. How many are actually business superbrands, as opposed to ‘consumer with a business division’ to ‘true consumer/business hybrid?’ Again, I’m not convinced

Marmite sandwich box image courtesy of KitchenCritic