— BY JIM KELLY, CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER —
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want to buy a quarter-inch hole”
With those words, Theodore Levitt offered not just a great piece of marketing advice, but a look at a better way of doing business.
The proverb goes to the heart of “marketing myopia” — a Levitt-coined term for the singular focus on selling a product, rather than offering real solutions. In other words, far too many companies are focused on selling a drill, but not enough are thinking about why the consumer even wants the drill in the first place — to create the right-sized hole with as little hassle as possible.
When it comes to the content syndication space, marketing myopia is alive and well. Luckily, real solutions have finally arrived.
The modern myopia
The content syndication space is still too focused on “quarter-inch drills.”
Right now, there are countless widget/product-focused sites across the main B2B categories of equipment, software, services and materials — just as there have been for decades. Take, for example, buyer review sites that help buyers find the right software. These platforms are organized solely by product category and don’t speak to the challenge the buyer is trying to solve. This may make sense for suppliers, but it’s not necessarily as helpful for you.
Say, for example, you’re looking for a case study about prepping your customer service team for a new product launch. Is this a customer service case study? A product development case study? Even a supply chain case study? Broad categories make searching with specificity a real challenge and have a lot more to do with how vendors see themselves, rather than what a potential customer is actually looking for.
Product-focused vendors also run into trouble when they take an industry-specific approach. These sites often silo knowledge off in ways that may not match your complex challenges. Just because you work in a specific sector doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the expertise of others.
In short, while long-running product/widget services pedal a range of products and services, they aren’t necessarily set up to deliver you a solution to your specific issue.
Similar problems arise when solution seekers take to a search engine, like Google, looking for the answers. To get the right case study, searchers have to dig through multiple vendor or industry sites — each promising to have answers but none quite being comprehensive enough to deliver. You may have a few sites that have served as your “go-to’s” for content, but by limiting yourself, you risk missing out on transformative ideas.
The bottom line is that the B2B Content Marketing universe is awash with product-centric sites despite the marketing myopia Levitt warned us of. In addition, even if the ideal Solution exists somewhere on the web, the potential buyer finds it extremely difficult to locate.
Content Syndication’s quarter-inch holes
What makes all of this worse is that the Content Syndication further amplifies the problem as vendor-produced content is often placed on Product-focused websites. At the same time, the vendor content may not speak to the burning challenges potential customers face.
Across the full spectrum of vendor-produced content types, we can all agree that case studies are essentially a perfect summary of how a quarter-inch hole was created. A problem/challenge was encountered by a customer and a B2B vendor came along and solved it with one of their solutions. The vendor’s “quarter-inch drill” is, of course, used in some way but understanding how the entire “quarter-inch hole” was created is most valuable for potential customers.
With all of this said, why then, has there never been a dedicated B2B website for finding the ideal “quarter-inch hole?”
Finally, there’s a platform that’s changing all that. Contentree offers solution seekers in every industry the case studies they’re actually looking for — rather than a product that they’re not. Our site offers more than 300,000 content assets across all equipment, software, services and materials categories. That’s a lot of “quarter-inch holes!” With smart categorization and impressive search capabilities, the right one for your business is just a few clicks away.
For too long, a narrow-sighted focus on delivering content, rather than solution-focused content, has pervaded the Content Syndication space. Being the visionary he was, Theodore Levitt understood the shortcomings of this approach even before the Content Syndication business was born. At Contentree, we’re proud to stand as a product of his thinking with “Marketing Farsightedness” triumphing over “Marketing Myopia.”