A Lack of Content Marketing Strategy Impedes Demand Generation

Once again 2014 will be a year that Content Marketing is front and center for a majority of B2B marketing departments.  While the buzz about content marketing continues, it still seems to be quite a challenge for most marketers.  According to The 2014 Marketing Score Report by PR 20/20 “Organizations are missing opportunities to generate and nurture leads due to enormous gaps in their content marketing programs.”

content strategyWhile these challenges persist, it is not preventing marketers from spending more time and money on content marketing and development.  According to Content Marketing Institutes 2014 study, 58% of organizations plan to increase spending this year.  However, when you look at what return marketers are getting from their spend, the numbers are bleak – only 42% of respondents said their marketing campaigns were very effective or effective, while only 44% claim to have a documented content strategy.

This lack of strategy is exactly why only 44% can claim some level of effectiveness and in fact, not having a strategy can and most likely will have a negative impact on your demand generation results.  There are two main reasons for this:

1. Demand Generation Program must begin with buyer insights and understanding of the buyers purchase path.

Without an understanding of the buyer and their needs and approach to purchase, it is highly unlikely that the progression of Engagement, Nurturing and Conversion will take place.  What typically happens is a contact downloads a content asset or demonstrates some kind of positive behavior, receives a lead score and is sent to sales as a “lead”.

Demand Generation content offers and buyer dialogue logic must be substantive and support the end-to-end buying process.  With this being the case, how can an organization be successful with their content marketing without a strategy?

2.  Content must be scored according to where in the buying cycle it is consumed.

Unfortunately, most organizations begin designing their lead qualification and scoring models by assigning scores to specific asset types in a workshop type setting.  Case Studies receive a value of 10 points, White Papers 15 points and a Webinar attendance is 25 points.  Add all of these together and you have a “qualified lead.”  This is where things go wrong – ask any sales person who receives these leads, they will tell you.

Rather than assigning value to what the behavioral action is, i.e. a white paper download, scores should be assigned according to when these actions are taken.  Content that is consumed in the latter stages of the buying process i.e. late stage Nurture or Conversion is of higher value and should be scored accordingly as it is a truer indication of the buyers intention than what they are downloading.

While an increase in spend on content marketing will certainly produce more content, it won’t produce better results or drive more revenue.  Rather than invest more time and money on the creation of content, organizations would do better to invest in a content strategy that produces true buyer engagement versus investing in ineffective content that may hamper their current results.

Author: Carlos Hidalgo @cahidalgo CEO and Principal, ANNUITAS

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