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Five Tips for Solving the Content Conundrum

July 16, 2013 | By Erin Provey

There is an imbalance between content supply and content demand - organizations are spending tons of time and money generating content no one wants. Here are five tips for marketing leaders trying to rebalance their content generation efforts to ensure that key sales and marketing initiatives are fueled with the right kind of content.

SiriusDecisions research indicates that most content in enterprise-sized b-to-b organizations sits on the shelf, unused. Meanwhile, organizations are struggling to fuel key initiatives (e.g. social media marketing, inbound marketing, provocative selling) with effective content. There is an imbalance between content supply and content demand – frankly, organizations are spending tons of time and money generating content no one wants.

Here are five tips for marketing leaders trying to rebalance their content generation efforts to ensure that key sales and marketing initiatives are fueled with the right kind of content:

  • Product marketing must redefine its role as content creator. In too many organizations, product marketers view themselves as experts at writing about products. This mindset needs to shift dramatically. Adopt a persona-based approach in order to begin writing for audiences instead of about products.
  • Marketing planning functions must build campaigns as content blueprints. Most of our clients have a marketing planning process that guides a subset of content creation (e.g. product launch, demand creation) vs. the full spectrum of content needed to support enterprise needs on an ongoing basis, including content for inbound marketing, reputation-building, and sales enablement. The SiriusDecisions Campaign Framework has helped many organizations make great strides toward a more integrated and rational approach to marketing planning. By adopting this comprehensive planning process, marketing organizations can map out the full range of content required to support execution and implementation.
  • Communications groups must be transparent in their approach to creating and delivering content. Communications tends to be the content “factory floor,” where the raw materials and expertise generated by product marketing get assembled based on the marketing planning blueprints into a finished product, which is shipped out to the front lines (e.g. social media marketing, sales, the field) for implementation. Too often, all the great thinking that happens upstream is boiled down into a PDF with a title (and sometimes an annotation or overview snippet), but front-line users are left in the dark about the intent behind the content. As a result, great content ends up going unused because of its lack of transparency.
  • Sales needs a seat at the content planning table. Sales organizations feel disenfranchised by the marketing content engine. In most organizations, marketing creates content to fuel marketing initiatives, then chucks that content over the wall at (not to) sales, never bothering to check whether or not it was helpful (or even if it was used). Sales comes to believe that marketing is incapable of creating the kind of content it actually needs, so off it goes to build its own mini content engine to solve the problem. Marketing needs to invite sales to the content planning process, and sales needs to keep an open mind about the process, give marketing a second chance, and join the conversation.
  • Set realistic expectations for global vs. local content. Every global organization we work with struggles to provide local and regional marketers the content they need, when they need it. This problem is multi-dimensional, but as a first step, corporate marketing teams must figure out how much centrally created content they should realistically expect the regions and local market units to adopt. (Hint #1: 100 percent isn’t realistic! Hint #2: The adoption percentage will vary by region, corresponding with market variations.) Discuss how the regions and localities will source the rest of the content they require…and how much budget is required to support this reality.

Struggling with Content Creation?

The SiriusDecisions Content Model outlines an enterprise-wide approach to developing better content and reducing content waste. Learn more about this model and view our OnDemand webcast, Content Operations: The Nerve Center for B-to-B Content.

Erin Provey

Erin Provey is a Senior Research Director of Corporate and Executive Marketing Strategies at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 10 years of experience in brand strategy, including positioning, identity, public relations, digital strategy, copywriting and account management. Follow Erin on Twitter @erinprovey.
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