We recently asked marketing leaders who use content marketing platforms (CMPs) a simple "this or that" question, namely:
What business outcomes did your content marketing initiatives generate last year: top-line benefits (new customers, revenue, sales) or bottom-line benefits (loyalty, reduced marketing or media expenses)?
The responses came down decidedly in the second category. In other words, those marketing leaders who are currently practicing content marketing in a way big enough to necessitate software specific to it believe the value they're generating is less growth than efficiency.
This is in line with the input I've received from both marketing leaders and CMP vendors. Both describe a scenario where all kinds of marketing teams – search-focused, website-focused, customer engagement-focused, social-focused, recruitment-focused, PR-focused – have internalized the value of content, and are commissioning lots of it. To the point of chronic overindulgence.
Their current needs are these:
- Producing content once and repurposing it and reusing it in a way that maximizes media efficiency
- Managing multichannel fragmentation in a way that doesn't fragment the organization
- Maintaining brand consistency when brand is as much about culture and narrative as it is about colors, logos and lock-outs
- Learning how to prioritize customer needs and value in all customer engagement situations
These organization and efficiency issues have long lurked within the digital side of the brand house under the moniker "content strategy" – a person or group who considered marketing a stakeholder (one of many) in the overall organization of a business's unstructured data. Based on our recent survey, CMOs and other marketing leaders will lean increasingly on these specialists, if not completely subsume the function. As they do so, they will bring a new expectation content strategists haven't been prepared for: media efficiency and brand strategy.
And there's currently not a great toolset for precisely that problem. CMP vendors' efforts to solve for content strategy (NB! not content marketing strategy) are still basic and services-led. WCM vendors' efforts to solve for content strategy are still brand website-centric and technology-led. And agencies' efforts to solve for content strategy are as variable as agencies.