Back in the early days of mainframe computers and large companies having all of their systems programmed for them from scratch, there came about object oriented programming.
The idea was that programmers would develop a little chunk of programming, perhaps in Fortran or Cobol, that did a specific thing very well. These chunks of code became ‘objects’ to be re-used over and over. This made companies like Honeywell and IBM really useful because they could implement very custom solutions more efficiently.
Then, in 2001 (back when I was in the e-learning biz) there came about e-learning objects. These are chunks of learning, be they in the form of pieces of media or chapters of instructionally designed content. Courses could be created by snapping objects together in a piece of software called an e-learning management system, which made the transition from the traditional corporate stand-up lecture, to online corporate e-learning more efficient.
With the empowerment of today’s buyer having access to information and opinions from a wide range of sources, marketing has become about educating your potential customer and engaging with them as opposed to advertising at them. As marketing transitions to be more about educating, it only makes sense to take a page out of the education textbook.
Over the past year, we have adopted marketing automation platforms and embraced the inbound marketing philosophy to generate leads for our clients. In this changing time, we’re asking again for people to think of the objects model.
Marketing used to be about renting space, whether that be for an advertising buy, a tradeshow booth, etc. Once that event or publication passed, the investment was gone. Now, by using inbound marketing tactics, we create marketing assets that have a lifetime value measured in some cases in years. With the right marketing automation platform, integrated with the right CRM system, these assets become objects that can be leveraged over and over in marketing and sales workflows.
Which brings us to today. The day of marketing and sales objects, where we create assets and use them together in workflows to achieve a desired educational outcome and behavior change. A goal of training our prospects (and clients) via e-learning, through effective content marketing.
So what does this all mean?
The best advice we can give you in this changing marketing environment, is to start thinking about educating your prospects rather than marketing to them. Build a successful content marketing strategy, ensuring that each piece is funnel aware and can be leveraged by your inside sales team. Having a content strategy that can nurture sales beyond the marketing qualified lead (MQL) stage, is the best investment you can make.