Developing good marketing materials – particularly for content marketing such as white papers, executive briefs, and case studies – requires input from subject matter experts (SMEs). Unfortunately, SMEs often respond to marketers’ requests for a meeting with a dismissive, “I don’t have time. Ask someone else.”
In the SMEs’ eyes, this response is perfectly justified. Their schedules are jampacked with tasks that requires their experience, knowledge, and expertise. They have projects to complete and deadlines to meet. Spending an hour on the phone with a marketer or copywriter just to “talk” is the lowest priority on the totem pole.
To counter this tendency, marketers need to practice a basic tenet of Marketing 101: talk directly to your target market. In this case, that means targeting your message to the SME.
It is not going to matter to a reluctant SME that you need to complete a white paper or executive brief. Quite frankly, they probably don’t care that that’s on your strategic plan. But they will care if you explain the need for their involvement and highlight the benefits that involvement will bring. For example:
“We are creating a marketing campaign to target healthcare professionals to promote our security solutions. Since this is the industry vertical you work in, we need your input to make our content relevant to the decision-makers in these companies. Doing so will generate qualified leads, new business, and increased revenue. We cannot bring in this new business in your industry vertical without your expert knowledge.”
Now the SME can understand why you are contacting him or her: you need to make content accurate and relevant. They can understand the overall benefits to the business: leads, clients, and revenue. And they can understand the personal impact their involvement has: they remain gainfully employed. After all, no new business = no work to do = no job.
To get your SMEs on board with your next marketing campaign, start your marketing one step earlier – market the idea to them.
Author: Paula Marolewski