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Episode 08: Insight Marketing vs. Content Marketing

Randy James 
Co-Founder and VP, Client Services
Minds On – B2B Marketing and Sales Enablement Agency

Randy James is the Co-Founder and VP of Client Services at Minds On, Inc. with Offices in Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois. Minds On is a leading B2B digital marketing agency known for delivering Smart Creativity for technology, software, and manufacturing clients.

00:20 Dan Harris: B2B marketing and sales can be tough to master, sales cycles could be long and buyers are notoriously difficult to close. That's why you need to Minds On at your side. We're a B2B marketing and digital agency that's helped more than 100 clients evolve their brands, win more business and succeed more often. And we're ready to help you, visit www.mindson.com today to schedule your no obligation, consultation. Now, on to today's program.

00:50 Dan Harris: I'm your host, Dan Harris and welcome back to another episode of Minds On B2B, thank you so much everyone for clicking, subscribing, sharing, downloading and of course listening to our podcast. This is a weekly show dedicated to helping busy B2B executives, marketers and sales professionals, stay in form, learn something new and perhaps supply a lesson learned or run with an idea of shared by our guest. As we say at Minds On, "All of our minds together are better than any one mind alone." Who knows? You might just like what you hear, connect, and network with us.

01:27 Dan Harris: Sitting down with us today is Randy James, he's one of my colleagues and the co-founder of Minds On. So who is Minds On? Minds On is a B2B marketing and sales enablement agency, delivering brand messaging, content development, website design and development, and equipping the sales and marketing team with the content they need to build brand awareness, engage prospects, nurture those prospects and equip the sales team with the resources, tools, and content they need to accelerate deal flow and close more deals. Well, let's get to it. Welcome to the show Randy.

02:02 Randy James: Thanks Dan. It's great to be here and love your energy and passion for what you do, so thanks for have me on the show today.

02:09 Dan Harris: Oh no Randy, thank you and our guests thank you as well. Because the show is based on B2B marketing and sales enablement. I'm sure this is the first episode about content, but not the last. So before we begin, can you just give us a little background on why you're the expert?

02:25 Randy James: I don't know other than the de facto expert. But I have certainly had a lot of experience in content marketing as well as something and I think we're gonna be talking a little bit more about today which is, insight marketing. So I've been the owner of Minds On for 17 plus years, I've been working in marketing for 20 plus years, and I also have a background in education, so I have a real passion for really helping our clients sort of see through the clutter of what's happening in the marketplace and also bring insight to bear. There's a lot of noise out there depending on what particular industry they're in. And so helping them craft their own positioning strategically and then cut through the clutter of what's being said to really bring insight into their particular marketplace is something that I find very engaging, and very important for today's marketing professionals.

03:18 Dan Harris: I agree with you, if you search content marketing on the web. I mean it's everywhere, it's every type of content. And so I think in this episode, I really wanna dig in deep here, and understand what's the difference between just content marketing, and insight marketing?

03:36 Randy James: Insight marketing is very specific, it's relevant information, and it's information that comes from an expert, and that's intended for a very specific audience. So whereas content marketing tends to be based more on just general knowledge, insight marketing is based on specific information, but also the experience behind that information, it's really intended to draw a specific response or elicit response, and also to provide guidance. So it's not just giving somebody information for information's sake, but it's helping them think about, "What do I do with this information? How does this change my position in the market? And how can I use this information to guide and inform a specific business decision?

04:22 Dan Harris: That makes sense. And I would say that if I look at content marketing, I'm not even sure who the sources in some of this content. But if you mapped it back, it's really 40, 50, 60 maybe 100 people, and they're viewing their opinion on the source content. So there's this duplication of ideas, content data and things like that. So, when you think of it that way, the way I feel about it seems like insight marketing is you can own it, it's yours, it's from the source, and it has more purpose. Would you agree?

04:56 Randy James: That's absolutely right Dan, one of the things with content marketing is again it just tends to be kind of broader facts and figures, but insight marketing, it's something you can really own because not only is it opinion-based, but that opinion that you're crafting from the content that you have, really draws upon your own personal experience, and it also gives you the ability to really stake a claim in the market. And I think one of the things that people are looking for today, is, help me understand, give me direction, give me guidance. And if you're not staking a claim on something, if you're not taking a bold stance then you're not really providing any kind of guidance or any kind of insight. And so, whereas content marketing tends to be a little bit less engaging, insight marketing is very engaging and it draws the reader in. 'Cause you're asking me to think about something and you're asking me to make a decision and you're almost sort of putting a fork in the road and saying, "Okay, this, this is what I believe about something and this is where I think the market is headed, and I'm gonna take a right, the fork in the road here and I want you to come with me."

05:58 Randy James: And so oftentimes it draws a user in and it causes them to be engaged because you're asking them to think with you and you're also asking them to make a decision along with you, which I think is really important.

06:10 Dan Harris: Yeah, makes sense. So when you think about content that's thought provoking, how important is it to create content all the way from the title of what you're calling it, the bullet points that are included... When you talk about engagement thought-provoking, can you talk a little bit more about that? And how you get to that level of information in a piece of content.

06:37 Randy James: One of the ways you can get to that level of detail within your content, I think is first by thinking about what the user's pain point is. So thinking about what it is they're dealing with, what are they struggling with on a day-to-day basis, and saying, "Okay, instead of just giving you information and we're going to start by thinking about what is the pain that you're dealing with and that's what we're gonna craft our information around. And that's what we're gonna base our thesis on or whatever the content is that we're gathering together to bring out into the market." We're thinking about the user's pain and how are we going to specifically help them solve a problem.

07:14 Dan Harris: Okay, so here's a question. After you've gathered that information and you know what that pain is, how do you come to a conclusion, how do you craft that information so that it is packaged and delivered successfully?

07:29 Randy James: When we develop insight marketing for clients when it comes to the conclusion on something or where's we're making a strong point, we're helping them think about what are the options, and what are the different two or three or four or five different things you can do with this information. So it's not just, "Hey Dan I'm gonna dump a bunch of information on you for information's sake, but I'm gonna help you think about how this could be a great solution for your organization or for your company, or for your market and give you three or four or five different ways that you can actually use this information and draw something positive out of it that can actually change and impact your business."

08:08 Dan Harris: Before you create this insight content, you have to own the content, and you have to actually own the result, so you have proof points, so if a client or customer calls you on it, you can say, "Here are the options, we've proven it and here are results." I think that gets you a lot further than just stating an opinion without anything to back it up, would you agree?

08:29 Randy James: Absolutely, and I can share an example with you. One of our clients recently asked us to create a trade show experience for them, and at this trade show experience, we had a great way to draw people into the booth and bring people in to engage with them, but what we wanted to do is to just gather some good market data and market knowledge and market information. So instead of just having people coming to the booth, engaged, get a little prize and leave, we asked each person that was actually waiting in line to do this engagement event, to take a short survey. It was a 30-second survey, and by the end of the show, they actually had several thousand responses and because of that survey, they were able to have ownable actionable data about what was happening in their market literally, in real time. So from the beginning of this trade show to two or three days later, they were able to get an unbelievable view into what was happening in their market at that particular point in time.

09:29 Randy James: So for a very inexpensive investment, they actually were able to develop an unbelievable research report, and out of that create some great information graphics and some other good statistical data that they were to publish back out to their clients and to their prospects about what was happening in their particular market in a very small window in time. And that was incredibly valuable for them because it not only provided insight into their market, but it also provided some things that they could draw out of that to say, "Here's where we think the market is headed and this is what we think is happening right here right now, and this is how it actually applies to our solution."

10:09 Dan Harris: When you think about insight marketing as well, you mentioned it's relevant, not only to the business that's collecting it, but it's relevant to the audience who's reading it. And through that survey process, you gain specific insight that helps the overall customer realize the true benefit of the solution that a company could provide. So when you think about the data and information, how do you... After you've gathered it, how do you take that data and then truly make it insight?

10:43 Randy James: There a couple of things I think about when you ask that question, is how do you take the data and really make it insightful? So one of the things, obviously, any time you're looking at data, whether that be from a survey or just information you've collected you can start to see trends that are forming, and so that will obviously inform your insights and kind provide direction there. But the other thing that you can do that we've also found very helpful in the past, is pull out some of those key people that have maybe answered the survey, or gone through that process with you, and then open up a dialogue with them. So now you can see some trends, you can kinda see what the patterns are, but in order to get some of the deeper insight, even calling upon some of those people that you've talked to, that have contributed to the survey, or contributed to the information, digging a little bit deeper and understanding from them what was the meaning behind this and how did they apply and what did they do in their particular given situation.

11:42 Randy James: So I think it's not only a data and statistical exercise, but it's also that human factor exercise as well. Is, what did this mean to somebody? And then what might they actually do with it going forward? So I think it's kind of those two things go hand in hand, is looking at the statistical analysis, but also understanding the human behaviors and the human factor behind it.

12:05 Dan Harris: That's incredible. For this episode, as we wrap up, I think one of the things I wanted to do is if a listener was out there and they heard this and there's some interest in insight marketing versus content marketing, what would be one thing you would share with them that they could take away and apply tomorrow and start to do insight marketing?

12:25 Randy James: Yap. I'd say the one thing they should do is take a look through all the content that they are developing and producing and ask themselves the question, "I'm I actually taking a stance here?" So many marketers will put together information they release down to the market, and it's really just flat because they're not actually saying anything and they're not actually doing something that's going to evoke action. So at the end of your content piece, whatever it is, if it's a blog post or an information graphic or a white paper or a business brief, "Are you actually moving someone to action? And are you taking a stand on something that will almost create a little bit of a fork in the road?" If you will. So if your content doesn't do that, then I would say it's not insight marketing, it's just more content that's just gonna add to the billions and billions of pieces of content that are already out there.

13:18 Dan Harris: Alright. Let's say the audience took your advice, audited their content, looked at each piece and determined which ones evoke action and they have created that fork in the road. How do they now take this insight content and get it into market?

13:38 Randy James: Well, there're number of different ways that you can take something like that to market, you can obviously do it through a number of different published formats, you can create blog posts, you can create really creative videos, you can develop white papers, infographics, business briefs, those types of things. You can also use that insight to develop webinars, podcasts, speaking opportunities. So there are number of different ways that you can actually take that and bring that out to market.

14:08 Dan Harris: And those are all terrific ideas. And you know what I found that the companies that I follow and buy from, they're bundling those things up and putting them in a cadence. They're providing content and the short publications and the blog posts. And they're thinking about how I consume what I read when I read, and then they're introducing that short video, you talked about, that captures my attention, I click on it, watch it, next thing you know, I'm going to their website digging into their site, and maybe I'll jump on chat and I'll ask a question on chat and then take a look at some of their other compelling content. And I find myself on this journey based on this bundle of content, it's been created about this thoughtful piece. And you're right, I took action. I obviously went down that fork in the road, and I ended up where they wanted me to be. So, great insight content bundled up in campaigns in a thoughtful way, does drive great results. That was another terrific episode. And really appreciate Randy you spending time with us. So for the listeners who are listening, how do they contact you, whether it's to gain information or maybe they wanna put you to work?

 

15:25 Randy James: Well, they can obviously check out our website at mindson.com or can feel free to email me personally? Randy@mindson.com.

15:34 John Sheeran: Thanks for listening to today's Minds On B2B podcast. If you liked what you heard today, please subscribe. Also feel free to share this episode with your peers and colleagues, so we can keep bringing you quality content from the best minds in B2B. Until next time, from all of us at Minds On, have a great week.

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