I have been discussing as big project with a potential client regarding applying simulations and other content across what I was calling a product’s lifecycle, for example, awareness, acquisition, sales, support/training, maintenance, after market, etc.
Just a few moments ago, I ran across an interesting and relevant post entitled “Marketing Content During the Customer Lifecycle” from Lee Odden (Online Marketing Blog) promoting a similar discussion about content marketing, referring instead to the “Customer Lifecycle”.
Too often, in our quest to put out relevant content, we can view all content essentially for the same purpose, such as customer acquisition. However, especially with complex sales, the customer is going to engage the producer/advertiser at several touch points, and we should be aware of, and cater to, the content relevant for those interactions.
Lee puts together a nice list of “types of content…to consider” (I’m excerpting the categories here):
Here is a great quote from Lee that summarizes the thought:
In the development of a content marketing strategy, there are numerous opportunities to be more relevant and effective. Planning content that’s meaningful to the customers you’re trying to engage according to where they are in the buying cycle and overall customer relationship provides for more efficiency in content creation as well as the repurposing of content.
(I’m going to use that as part of my proposal, for sure!)
At the end of the article, he asks the question “Does it make sense that the business of content strategy and promotion of content extends beyond marketing?” Of course the answer is yes, and I have an area he doesn’t mention: product training. He does have a category for “service”, but he really doesn’t address the potential overlapping relationship of marketing and training.
My ‘thing’ is that product simulations can be used for both marketing and training, because a key part of advertising is that it is educational — teaching potential customers how to use the product to solve problems.
In this idea of “product simulation marketing”, or “product simulation advertising” that I am developing, I feel there are important distinctions from the typical role of simulations used for training. Using simulations for training is fundamentally about having the viewer/student perform and acquire the relevant skills. I think the focus of using simulations for advertising, however, is giving the potential buyer the confidence that they can learn how to operate the product–that the learning curve is not prohibitive given the tasks they need to accomplish with the product.