We’ve all heard the mantra, “content is king”, but interest-piquing content is just one aspect of a holistic, successful Revenue Marketing™ approach. People, process, technology, content and strategy all have to effectively coalesce in order to produce the results that signify a marketing department’s evolution from cost center to revenue center.

But while all of these components are vital in creating a successful, ROI-driven marketing center, marketing’s content is its tangible, prospect-facing company contribution. Its results (or lack thereof) are the most visible, and the effects of those results are the most deeply felt.

Using the right ammo for a given situation means a huge competitive advantage. The right piece of marketing content, presented to the right prospect at the right time, will entice potential customers to move forward through your company’s buy cycle stages (funnel), making you as a marketer look good and your co-workers (especially your boss) happy.

But the wrong piece of content, or even the right piece of content delivered to the wrong person (or at the wrong time), will just as powerfully turn that prospect off to your company’s offering – instantly, and sometimes forever. In other words, if you use the wrong ammo, your weapon either won’t work, or worse, will explode in your hands.

That’s because we live in an “Information Age” defined by an historically-unprecedented information availability. The more information that becomes readily (and oftentimes offensively) available, the more selective people need to become in determining which message(s) they ultimately focus their attention and energy on. If we didn’t de-sensitize ourselves in the face of this information explosion, we’d go nuts.

But this de-sensitization makes creating the right content, and delivering it to the right person at the right time, more important than ever. And when I say “right,” I don’t mean the coolest and/or the prettiest – I mean the content that’s most likely to get the prospect to do what we marketers want them to do.

This can make things in the real world tricky, as the creative departments responsible for making content will, understandably, always want to create the coolest, prettiest and/or most sensory-stimulating stuff they can. Sometimes, oftentimes even, this will be just what you want them to do.

But as a marketer, you always need to ask yourself: “how likely is it that this content will make our prospects do what we need them to do?” Your creative team may have just created the Mona Lisa of emails. But if marketing instinct, analysis and experience all tell you that using a text link instead of an ornate graphic will drive more business, then go with the text link – and make sure the gun doesn’t explode in your hands.

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