Two cheers for Eloqua's new Content Grid

Actually, I think Eloqua's new Content Grid is fabulous: it crams a complex story and a lot of information into an easy to understand infographic on a critical topic for B2B and solutions marketing. Nice job, folks!

My small beef is with the definition of "content marketing" that underlies the grid. Don't get me wrong: I'm a huge proponent of companies and marketing organizations getting much more serious about creating and executing integrated content strategies to support marketing and sales. Indeed, I make a decent part of my living these days helping companies make this happen.

What I don't agree with, though, is the equation of content marketing with inbound marketing. Perhaps I'm nitpicking at a casual line in Eloqua's blog post introducing the Content Grid, which explains the grid as "a simple framework for content -- or 'inbound' -- marketing." But the grid itself reinforces that equation with its presentation of relevant content types. It's all the fun thought leadership and social media stuff. What's missing are the nitty gritty product and service and solution descriptions and related (horror of horrors!) "promotional" material that, at the end of the day, are still necessary to help make the sale regardless of how effective your inbound marketing is.

Yes, inbound marketing is critical, content marketing is critical, and we all need to keep shifting budgets away from the old push promotion stuff that doesn't work toward educational pull materials and conversations with which our customers and prospects might actually engage. It's just that few of us can yet do away with collateral and promotion entirely -- especially when we're selling complex B2B solutions that require extensive purchase consideration, due diligence, and committee decision making.

I'm not sure Eloqua is even arguing that we should eliminate that stuff entirely, but I think it's a mistake to leave that still-important content out of the grid and the definition. If new directors of content marketing (another trend I support enthusiastically) just manage all the inbound stuff, we're likely to fall short in revamping and refreshing the basic product promotion material that still helps to seal our deal. The last thing we want to create is a great system of thought leadership-driven inbound marketing that collapses in the final phase when prospective buyers see disconnected and inconsistent product and service material.

So, two cheers for the Content Grid and the great intent behind it. Now if we can just broaden its scope a bit more.

What do you think? Do you have a content director? If yes, what's the scope of responsibility?

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