I’m a lucky guy. I’ve worked with about sixteen or seventeen technology companies, from startup to Fortune 500. And as I’ve been hired to develop content for dozens of enterprise technologies, I’ve noticed something obvious — companies have content marketing styles and they like being consistent.

  • Some like to be semi-academic. Some like to be smart and sassy.
  • Some like short-form. Some like long form.
  • Some like serious written resources, some like chatty video and podcasts.
  • Some like to go deep into the technology, and some don’t.
  • Some have a clear structure, some just create anything they think of at the time.

But I have a question that’s not so obvious. Is there a relationship between your content marketing style and your business success? 

Here’s what I think: different content marketing styles must attract different customers.

  • Semi-academic content attracts semi-academic buyers, not early adopters.
  • Harassed, busy buyers probably favor short-form content, not white papers and ebooks.
  • Some customers like a clear path through content, others like to dabble, pick, and choose.
  • Very serious customers like going in-depth before they buy.

Imagine a company that almost exclusively favors short solution briefs, case studies, and videos. What happens when buyers need to dig deep into product configuration?

Imagine another company that has a disorganized web presence — content scattered everywhere. Will calm, thoughtful, deliberate prospects buy from them?

Imagine a third company that has a dense academic style. What happens when rushed prospects start reading, hate the style, and move on?

So here are some questions for you to chew on…free of charge.

  1. How would changing your style change your customer base?
  2. Can you bridge the gap between your actual style, and your aspirational style? Do you have the resources?
  3. How does your style help you, and how does it get in your way?
  4. What could you do to make a change — today?

Brian E Whitaker is a content marketer who specializes in complex technologies, including data center infrastructure, cloud, security, and SaaS. His email is brianw@zbcontent.com


  • Brian excelled consulting on our recent product launch. He internalized our strategy and tactics, executed essential launch deliverables with minimal input, managed additional contractors, provided unexpected improvements, and achieved everything before the deadline. I will use Brian again and I recommend him for your marketing consulting projects.

    Kim McMahon, Partner Marketing, NetApp
  • I was lucky enough to work with Brian on many projects and he approached them all with the same attitude of enthusiasm and detail. A great team player and superb execution.

    Iain Davie, Regional Alliances Manager, VMware
  • I found Brian’s mix of skills to be a rare combination in marketing. He understands what the field and sales people are looking for from marketing, he has a strong grasp of the underlying technology, and he has the marketing sense to put it all together in a package that helps drive the business forward. Plus, he does all of this with a positive and professional attitude that makes him a pleasure to work with on projects.

    Scott Horst, VP of Marketing, Compellent
  • His strong technical focus, combined with attention to detail and an easy communication style really made him a strong asset to support a sales organization. Brian conducts himself professionally with the highest of integrity and remains calm under pressure.

    Ciara Lyons, Manager EMC Demand Centre
  • Brian is the ideal person you want to work with: knowledgeable, understands priorities and what is just distraction, customer-focus, how to get things done – the right way, collaborative, understands how to craft a story that will resonate and he brings a wealth of perspective across geographies, technologies and user pains and benefits.

    Greg White, Senior Manager, Product Marketing / Commvault
  • When you need it done, turn to Brian. During the past 3 years working directly with Brian, I’ve watched him plow through numerous complex problems achieving just the right outcome.

    Michael Grant, Marketing Director, Enterprise Storage Marketing / Dell