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Content marketing. Every marketer has an opinion on it. Some say it’s the future of marketing. Some say it doesn’t work. Others see it as the necessary but largely useless filler for any sales-oriented campaign. But what is the truth?

If a company doesn’t do its content right, any of the above could be true. The old formula of good content = good results is no longer applicable. In a marketing world where every company from your neighborhood lemonade stand to Microsoft has a company blog, simply writing an attractive and informative piece does not guarantee readership. In order to really stand out, marketers must combine good content pieces with cutting edge distribution, whether through well-timed drip campaigns, lead nurture campaigns, or social media. Thus, the new content marketing strategy is this: great content + smart distribution = great results.

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Does this sound familiar:

“What happened to all those leads we generated for sales?”

How about this:

“Why does marketing keep sending us these junk leads?”

These are complaints plaguing any company struggling to capitalize on its marketing strategies. Marketing is bound to blame sales and sales is bound to blame marketing, but the reality is that neither is necessarily to blame. The real culprit is the sincere belief that uncultivated, un-nurtured leads are actually prepared to buy anything. Of course, by definition, a lead has shown interest, but in this early stage of the process, the correlation between interest and willingness to buy is very low. In fact, according to Gleanster Research, over 50% of qualified leads are not yet ready to buy.

As companies of all sizes work to attract more customers, marketing departments are turning to technology to gain an edge. White label marketing automation is helping to fulfill a gap in technology and resources that exists in small organization marketing departments. Marketing automation platforms have quickly become very popular, but up until recently they remained financially out of reach for all but the largest businesses. These large enterprises were and still are seeing significant returns from large investments in sophisticated marketing automation platforms. These platforms are highly advanced cross-channel marketing products that are explicitly designed for big businesses. This means that the software was built for lengthy implementations by large marketing teams with extensive IT resources. And big business marketing automation is not cheap: the platforms almost always require extensive contracts, expensive setup and training fees, and significant tech support. Despite the cost, marketing automation allows large marketing teams with sizeable budgets to deliver more and higher qualified leads to their sales teams.

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As companies of all sizes look to reinforce, reposition, or expand their brand image, more and more are turning to content marketing as a powerful yet cost-effective tool. Content marketing, a company’s distribution of material that a consumer will find helpful or interesting, has rapidly become a major marketing buzzword as companies scramble to master this form of brand management. In addition to branding, marketers have also discovered content marketing’s usefulness in directing a consumer’s research on a product. In the age of the internet, consumers will almost always research a product before engaging with sales teams, placing orders, or making decisions. Content marketing pieces empower marketers to help consumers with their research, or at the very least point a consumer’s research toward their product.

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