B2B Content StrategyI’ll admit it – I’m a bit of an online shopaholic. I love a good deal as much as the next guy. From Groupon to Amazon Local to Living Social, and I just can’t resist that click. In fact, it seems I get 10 or 12 discount-driven sales emails packed with the latest and greatest, each using my cookies and browsing history against me to tempt me with exactly the kind of deal I didn’t even know I was looking for.


Now, despite some early bumps in the road, the most successful of these sites adapted to a changing marketplace, leveraging big data to help customize the buyer experience. It’s obvious they planned their editorial calendars months in advance – ski vacations during November, swimsuits and laser hair removal in April – to ensure customers receive the most relevant deals. A solid, e-commerce content strategy, to be sure.

But, even the best content strategy hits a bump in the road.


Take Living Social’s Deal of the Day for June 19 – two nights at the historic Hotel Vendome in Prescott, AZ, and at just $109 a 52 percent savings. Now, with temperatures hovering around 108° throughout the rest of the week in the Valley, getting away for a couple of days to the much, much cooler Prescott in a historic hotel, well that just sounds lovely.

Except for the Doce fire, an 11-square-mile blaze that is zero percent contained and about to force further evacuations across Prescott, including the Hotel Vendrome.


Now, there is no way the content team at Living Social, when they were putting this deal together months ago, could have seen this coming. And let’s be honest – no one at Living Social meant any harm.

But an offer like this, given the very dangerous nature of this fire, is insensitive, and creates a problem where there didn’t need to be one. Why? Because their content strategy didn’t have an out clause.


In the B2B marcom world, your content strategy out clause doesn’t require a lot of sophistication. It can simply be a final set of eyes before a post goes live, or a weekly review of editorial calendars to ensure you are avoiding anything remotely controversial (remember, B2B and controversy just don’t mix).

Think of it as a critical part of the digital QA process. Do all the links work? Are all of the images sourced and loaded properly? Is there an 11-square-mile blaze threatening the very hotel we’re hawking?

So what can Living Social and the Hotel Vendome do to make it up to anyone they’ve potentially offended? And how can they spin this to get some good PR? How about putting up some of those displaced by the blaze in the hotel? Or offering first responders and firefighters discounted rates when things – ahem – cool down?