Does your marketing content tell buyers what they want to hear—or only what you want to say? Writing at the Marketing Interactions blog, Ardath Albee reports on a study that found content is relevant to a customer's needs only 42 percent of the time—and a lack of compelling content reduces your chances of making a sale by almost 50 percent.

"Every single one of us likely has a slew of competitors trying to sell a similar product or solution to the same markets," she writes. "The problem is that what we think is important and 'differentiating' about our products often misses the mark" for the prospect.

"You've all heard the adage that you may think you're selling a drill, but what the buyer wants is really a hole," Albee notes. "We get so wrapped up in our products that we forget that we know too much."

And as you try to differentiate your product or service in a tough economic climate, the ability to speak to customers on their terms—rather than your industry's terms—is an important factor in winning their business, Albee explains.

"We've got to flip our focus to what they're buying instead of what we think we're selling," she argues. "It's not about the solutions, products or services. It's about what they enable your customers to achieve that they couldn't do before. It's about why that's important to them."

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