SharkTank your Content Marketing

Please note: This was originally published on LinkedIn June 17, 2015

Marketers, imagine you were given the opportunity to appear on SHARKTANK and present your business case for Shark investment in your upcoming budget for content marketing. Would it go like this?


Cue the music.  Doors open... in walks a Director of Digital Marketing & a Marketing Manager.  

Director of Digital Marketing: Sharks, I would like to introduce you to our content marketing. Our content marketing is unique and brings tremendous value to our audience. We are here asking for your investment so that we can create more content in the coming year. We are asking for a 15% budget increase over last year.


Kevin OLeary:  Nice hats, but why are you here? You have told me nothing so far. Why don't we just call security on you and call it a day? So... let's just say I give you the increased budget... which I don't know why I would... but let's say I did, what would you leprechauns do with it?

Director of Digital Marketing:  We'd create 45 more PDFs for a 12 month investment. We would create some infographics, whitepapers & update our datasheets.

Kevin: How much content did you create last year & what do you have to show for it? Is it helpful for your buyers? Are they engaging with it?

Director of Digital Marketing: Last year we created 35 PDFs. We have the stats on downloads.

Kevin:  Ok, this isn't my first rodeo & I know what a download is. HOW do you know if they actually read it or felt it was useful?

Director of Digital Marketing: We only know that they downloaded it.

Mark: I'm out.

Kevin: So let me get this straight, you want my money... my hard earned money... to create more PDFs when you don't even know if the PDFs you created last year were even read? Do you think I can afford expensive shoes like these [closeup on Kevin's shoes] by giving money to knuckleheads like you?

Cue closeup on nervous marketers

Director of Digital Marketing: Well, yes.

Daymond: I'm out.

Kevin:  Is the content in the PDFs even helpful to your buyers? 

Director of Digital Marketing: We think so.

Robert: I'm out.

Kevin: Can I read these PDFs on my phone when I am in my limo?

Director of Digital Marketing: Not really. I mean, they will load but you will need a magnifying glass to actually read it.

Barbara: I'm out.

Kevin: Let me make a suggestion. Do you have your phone with you? Here, take mine [he throws it at the marketers] NOW DIAL YOUR MOMMY AND ASK HER FOR THE MONEY... SHE'S YOUR ONLY HOPE. I'M OUT. SECURITY!!!! 

Cue the SHARKTANK Exit music

The challenge with PDFs is that there is no feedback mechanism on how they were consumed. While your content might be awesome & useful, PDF downloads don't provide anything more than pass/fail feedback.  Can you justify to Kevin that they were useful or even read? They are also next to impossible to read on a mobile device.

  • Create useful & engaging content that is helpful in your buyer's journey.

  • All your content must be responsive as more and more of your prospects are consuming your content on mobile devices.

  • Measurement is a must. How is your content being consumed? Put measurement in place for every piece of content you generate.

  • Improvement: Using content analytics, monitor and improve your content based on what you can see is working or not working. Continue to measure & improve.

You could be the next SHARKTANK success story... cue the music for our next victim.