Why Relevant Content Is Not Enough
With Content Marketing World just weeks away, my mind has been on the number of organizations that have increased their marketing spend on the creation of new content. The latest results from the ANNUITAS B2B Enterprise Demand Generation study (due out in September), 54.1% of organizations have indicated that they are spending more on content development than they did in 2014. Each year, more and more spend is going to content, yet each year, only a small minority of B2B organizations say they are having success or can accurately measure the value of their content marketing or demand generation spend. What’s happening?
It is no secret that buyers want relevant content that aligns to their purchase path and speaks to their pain points and challenges and indeed many organizations are doing a better job at producing more buyer-centric content. However, just producing this content is not enough as it is only a part of the equation. In order for organizations to truly be successful with their content marketing and demand generation strategies, they must also align their people (marketing & sales), their lead management process and their technology to that of the buying process and this is where most organizations fail to execute.
I speak to many marketers who tell me they are responsible for managing certain parts of the funnel. In one recent conversation I had with an enterprise marketer, she told me that her team was responsible for “middle of the funnel nurture content” – there was no continuity between her team and those who were driving engagement or working to educate and enable sales. The entire organization was made up of silo’s of groups each with their own, narrow focus.
Marketing and sales leaders need to begin to align their organizations to the buyers behavior and in so doing, enable better buyer dialogue through their purchase path. Having an organization that has too narrow a focus, does not enable a holistic approach. In fact, it will lessen the impact of content development and in no way will foster a one to one dialogue with your buyers.
I have written before on this blog of the need for organizations to determine where their content will be used in the buyer journey i.e. Engage, Nurture or Convert stage content and then map that to their qualification model and score accordingly. For instance, an eBook that is consumed late in the buyers journey (Nurture Content), should be a higher value than content that is designed to be used in the early stages (Engage Stage). Without this alignment, all content is treated the same regardless of the buyer and the qualification runs the risk of not being accurate. It is imperative that organizations rethink their approach to qualification and scoring and identify their content by stage to get the best demand generation results.
Ensuring that marketing technology is configured to enable the delivery of content in a timely manner only fosters better overall engagement and conversations with your buyers. I have run across so many B2B marketing teams who define nurturing as timed drip campaigns or who are still batching and blasting their customers with one-off, tactical campaigns.
Ensuring that program logic is built within marketing technology that can enable real-time buyer dialogue based on the buyers behavior is imperative for the kind of perpetual demand generation that generates highly qualified leads.
Having relevant content is key to driving demand generation, but those organizations that want to drive real value from their content investment, need to take a Demand Process approach and also align their People, Process, Content and Technology. It takes more than just relevant content to drive real results.