Do Marketers Understand The Word Strategy?

ANNUITAS recently launched a survey that focused on the Demand Generation function within large B2B enterprise organizations.  While the research is still ongoing there have been some key findings in the area of content marketing that are quite revealing.

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When respondents were asked, “Do you have a content strategy?” 72.7% responded with yes.  While it would seem like good news to see that almost three in four of B2B Enterprises have a content strategy, some of the responses to other content focused questions leaves one wondering on how marketers define strategy.  According to the results of the study:

–          Only 41% of respondents align their content to the buyers pain points and challenges

–          Only 29.1% create specific content for each stage of the buyers journey

–          While 78.2% use nurturing as part of their Demand Generation Strategy only 38% of these respondents create nurture specific content

–          Only 14.6% of respondents track the performance of their content offers

There seems to be quite the disconnect between what marketers are saying  “we have a content strategy” and what they are actually doing. So where is the disconnect?

I believe there are several forces at play as to why marketers are saying one thing, but in reality, practicing another.

Marketers Have Traditionally And Still Do Focus on Tactics-

Each and every week there are reports, webinars and articles written on how to execute an effective “fill in the blank” campaign.  Marketers are looking for insights on email campaigns, social campaigns, telemarketing campaigns, etc.  These are all tactics i.e. vehicles to deliver content.  The reason they fail is they do not take into account the purchase cycle of the buyer, which moves the thought process to a programmatic approach, and not a series of disconnected tactics.   When designing your next demand generation program, don’t think about the tactics, think about the content touch points that can be developed to establish a dialogue with the buyer, then determine the vehicles that will be used to deliver the content.

Demand Generation Marketers Don’t Really Know Their Buyers- 

According to the survey’s early returns, only 36.4% of respondents stated that their Demand Generation teams are responsible for the development of buyer personas.  In order to create effective demand that Engages, Nurtures and Converts the buyer through the buying process, it is necessary for buyer insights to be the starting point of the strategy.  This includes knowing their path to purchase, their challenges and pain points among other things.  Product marketing and corporate marketing do not get to this level of detail, so the Demand Generation team must.  Not having this kind of insight makes it impossible for Demand Generation teams to have the deep knowledge of their buyer – which is necessary for the development of content. Marketers Believe Activity = Value

Both the CMI Content Study launched earlier this year and the ANNUITAS study show an overwhelming number of companies will continue to spend money and put more of their organizational energy behind the creation of content.  However, this increased funding and work to create content is not having the intended impact. Note only 9% of marketers in the CMI Content Survey say they are “Very Effective” with their content. Why?  Because working harder and simply doing more does not equate to improved results.  This is evidenced by the multiple studies that show that up to 70% of all marketing generated content goes unused.

As B2B Demand Generation and content marketing continues to evolve, it is vital that marketers understand what it means to take a strategic approach.  Right now, the responses don’t add up and simply saying there is a strategy does not mean there is one.

Author: Carlos Hidalgo @cahidalgo CEO and Principal, ANNUITAS

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