The Challenge is Filters, Not Overload
We tend to think we live in a age of information overload.
Yes, we do. But we have for over a hundred years. Information overload is not the problem.
Clay Shirky nailed this with a talk called It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure.
The filters we developed have failed, and we need to build new filters- socially, and as marketing departments for our companies.
And not just for our current content levels, but for the massive increases in content we will be creating over the next few years as marketing becomes the primary sales communication channel and needs to engage in the specialized conversations once managed entirely by sales.
Library Marketing To the Rescue
Doug Kessler has a great post on content marketing and managing this process:
And I agree. I think this is the most important initiative for B2B marketing over the next 5-10 years and it is incredibly complicated and new ground for everyone.
Libraries are one of the most powerful filtering mechanisms invented. We usually think of them as aggregators, and not filters, but this is limiting and can lead to the wrong implementation of the concept online.
Think about your average visit to a library or bookstore – do you feel overwhelmed or empowered?
Most people, I think, feel empowered.
How much content is advertised in a library? Provided in your face? Very little. How much is controlled? Very little. They’ve put a user-directed filtering system in place that we understand and trust, and it makes our journey enjoyable. Also, physical constraints ensure limited content per topic, and the economics of publishing result in a base level of quality.
In the case of online libraries and bookstores, social mediation provides the filters- best seller lists, reviews, ratings, recency and lists. When I access my local library online I have Amazon open in another window, and correlate the information between the two. Amazon is my filter.
Is The Entire Internet Your Library?
Another aspect of your library strategy is considering what the actual library is. A large part of the content journey your prospect takes is outside of your website, and you need to consider that. Zappos has a great Twitter summary page that brings part of that outside journey into their website. You can help your prospects by helping them with that journey and facilitating it as best you can. This can be linking out of your site, bringing reflections of the outside world in (Zappos), or participating in social media to make your library content a dynamic conversation.
The Best Filter is Your Prospect – Empower That
You will only understand your buyer personas so much, and, in the end, that’s an average. Some already know you, some don’t; some are visionaries, some are risk-averse conservatives and some are experts, some are beginners.
This means that the most important filter is your prospect’s choice. So when implementing your library marketing strategy, think user-directed filtering, not company-controlled presentation. That’s not to say you don’t present- that is a value add activity, and core to lead nurturing- but you don’t do so exclusively. Give up some control, and empower your user to allow him to add his value to your interaction.
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