We think brand leaders pay creative agencies for big, bold ideas. Ironically, they tend to pick the safest option: pushing piles of expected content through as many channels as possible.

But just because there are more agencies can do, doesn’t mean they should be doing it.

In fact, research revealed the following conclusion: the future of effective content marketing is, well, less content.

Blog content, for example, isn’t generating the kind of gains marketers expect given the time and money they put into it. A BuzzSumo analysis of one million blog posts revealed that 50% of randomly selected posts received only eight shares or less.

New apps aren’t faring much better. In fact, few consumers find branded apps useful at all, with more than 90% of branded apps having fewer than 10,000 downloads.

So, why are brand leaders still introducing content to new channels despite the low payoff? The competition for attention has never been steeper.

Now, consider the impact of one of the most celebrated marketing acts in recent memory: Fearless Girl. Billions of impressions generated from a single, culturally relevant brand expression. And yet the marketing team for State Street Global Advisors only spent $250,000 – and that includes working media and production.

This proves that by limiting your scope of work and focusing on the critical moments in your customer’s journey, two things happen: you increase your odds of delivering an exceptional experience (instead of a potentially mediocre one), and you avoid diluting your resources. It’s a win-win.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author


There’s an ongoing debate about the role of telephone sales and whether they’re effective anymore. Many pundits have long asserted that “cold calling is dead,” but is any form of outcalling or inside sales effective now?

Declining success rates. A new survey and report from Zipwhip (registration required), intended to promote messaging, argues the phone as a channel is experiencing decreasing effectiveness for multiple reasons. Indeed, plenty of anecdotal evidence indicates reaching prospects over the phone is a growing problem across markets, whether the targets are consumers or b2b buyers.

Widely cited data from separate studies argue that fewer than 2% of cold calls result in meetings and that cold calling is ineffective more than 90% of the time. But these statistics are from old studies that don’t appear to be available anymore, only the passing third-party citations. Yet these assertions appear to support anecdotal experience.

Conversely, there are some who still argue that cold calling can be successful if done properly.

87% mostly ignore calls. The Zipwhip survey (n=520 U.S. adults) found that 87% of respondents said they ignore phone calls from unknown numbers “often” or “very often.”

How often do you ignore/reject phone calls from businesses and unknown numbers?

has said will represent about 45% of mobile calls in the U.S. this year. This rise in spam is leading to various anti-call-spam solutions and just plain call avoidance by consumers. Indeed, the top piece of advice from the FCC to combat mobile phone spam is: “Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.”

The Zipwhip study goes on to explore the various reasons people don’t want to answer the phone. Among them, people are too busy, calls are intrusive or they prefer to communicate in other ways.

Select why you avoid phone calls from businesses/unknown numbers (select all that apply)

phone was the preferred channel for consumers to contact local businesses. And a recent survey from Broadly found that a majority of small businesses see the phone as their most important channel.

Why we should care. There’s an overall sense that tried-and-true sales channels (e.g., email) are declining in effectiveness. As the data above show, this is also true for calls — when they’re unsolicited. While some stubborn sales executives might say cold calls have a role to play, the evidence argues this approach is getting less efficient and more expensive over time.

One response (now almost a cliche) is that in-bound marketing is the answer and dramatically improves telephone close rates. But as most marketers already well understand, brands need to diversify their prospecting and communications strategies to reach audiences through the channels they prefer. Taking pressure off the phone enables it to become much more effective in this “don’t call me” era.

About The Author

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