HomeBlog The Role of Content in B-to-B Digital Transformation

The Role of Content in B-to-B Digital Transformation

October 03, 2016 | By Christine Polewarczyk

  • Digital transformation fails to produce results when the right content engine and infrastructure are not in place to support it
  • Almost every b-to-b company needs to acknowledge the severity of its content ecosystem challenges and start working on fixing them
  • A strong unified vision and commitment among cross-functional leadership teams are required to transform the content ecosystem

Digital transformation fails to produce results when the right content engine and infrastructure are not in place to support it. To transform content into a competitive business advantage, b-to-b organizations need to acknowledge the fact that they suffer from systemic content-related issues across people, process, and technology. “Band-Aid” approaches that lack long-term vision and commitment have been making only small inroads into fixing the content problems within b-to-b organizations. Challenges with role clarity, interlock, quality, findability, scalability and measurement are rampant.

It’s no surprise when you find out that:

  • Only 25 percent of organizations today have formalized their approach to managing their content ecosystem – including content strategy, content marketing and content operations. (See the blog post "What’s Missing from the Content Marketing Conversation?")
  • Sixty-five percent of content in b-to-b organizations isn’t used – most often because of quality, findability and budget issues
  • Few, if any, b-to-b organizations have solved the content ROI and measurement challenge

The Dark Underbelly of B-to-B Content

At SiriusDecisions, we have the unique opportunity to confidentially see what is happening behind the scenes in many b-to-b companies. We get to see what is working and what is not from a content ecosystem perspective, and then advise clients on how to fix and continuously improve their content ecosystems’ abilities to support growth.

What we see across almost every b-to-b company is a need to acknowledge the severity of their content ecosystem challenges and start working on fixing them in a meaningful way.

Those in the trenches know how bad the problems are, but they say that senior leadership “doesn’t get it” when it comes to digital or content. They express that they’re asked to deliver high performance without executives’ understanding or addressing how people, process and technology weaknesses inhibit their teams’ abilities to do so.

If you’re a b-to-b executive wondering if this might apply to your organization, ask yourself the following:

  • Does our company have a common framework and vocabulary that everyone uses to talk about the content ecosystem and its related roles, activities and processes (e.g. The SiriusDecisions Content Model)?
  • Is the organization aligned around who does what and in what capacity throughout the content lifecycle across sales, marketing and product teams?
  • Do we have people, process and technology gaps across the end-to-end content lifecycle?
  • Do we have adequate skills and competencies across teams based on how they’re expected to contribute to the content ecosystem and lifecycle?
  • Do current tools and integrations support effective content analytics and ROI measurement?

Most organizations, if answering honestly, will unfortunately have to answer “no” to most – if not all – of these questions. And these are just a handful of questions that b-to-b organizations need to be seriously asking themselves as they move into planning priorities for next year and beyond.

The Content CTA: Committed Leadership

I think that senior leadership gets that there is a content problem, but they aren’t sure how to practically address it. First, stop hoping it’ll solve itself from the bottom up, by someone else or through Band-Aid approaches that don’t ever resolve the underlying causes of content dysfunction. A strong unified vision and commitment among cross-functional leadership teams are required to transform the content ecosystem from dysfunction to health.

It’s time to start thinking about content in the context of overall digital transformation. While many organizations have recognized the need to focus on digital transformation and customer experience improvements, many are still overlooking how critical the health of the content ecosystem is for supporting those goals.

For more guidance on content transformation, please see our Content Strategy and Operations Planning Assumptions for 2017.

Christine Polewarczyk

Christine Polewarczyk is a Service Director of Content Strategy and Operations at SiriusDecisions. She has over 15 years experience in the b-to-b technology industry - 8 years in IT publishing and digital media, and 7+ years focused on global marketing, content strategy, social media, SEO and demand generation. You can follow her on Twitter @Christine_Mktg.