Content marketing has always existed. Companies have always created and published material intended to stimulate interest in their products and services.
Digital technologies now enable any company to create content to build brand awareness and engage with a targeted audience and thus function as a media company.
This is true in B2C, but especially transformational in B2B where customers are tuning out traditional sales and marketing efforts to reach them and going online to research and interact directly with online communities and even companies themselves.
New Demands for Information Savviness
This places new demands for information savviness across the enterprise as a whole, but more specifically on marketing organizations. Now marketers need to serve customers with appropriate, coordinated content through every phase of the customer journey from new prospect awareness to post-sales customer service and up-sales.
Marketers, however, need to represent actual enterprise-wide information savviness and so this trend requires meaningful shifts in company culture, resource management, and budget allocation. It is well understood that organizational transformation is critical to achieving these communication goals, thus the ubiquitous industry-wide references to “digital transformation.”
Organizations Must Transform
Some companies believe or behave as if there is a choice between acting quickly or waiting to embark on this content-centric transformation. Waiting is effectively negligent. Given that information is massively distributed and structureless in a globalized world with teams and stakeholders in multiple time-zones, delaying the process will only add to the complexity that needs to be described and made into sense. The information also contains multiple overlapping narratives, determined by multiple intersecting communities, and requires representations of everything from use cases or stories, to mission-critical data tables, to schematics and graphic representations, all of which constantly grow in size and scope.
The transformation that enables market-centric content creation across the organization is necessarily a top-down process and must be enabled and supported both strategically and tactically from senior leadership on down through the ranks.
New Skills and Capabilities
Marketers must evolve and when necessary trained into storytellers of different types. They must also develop new skills and specialization across complex teams. These newly skilled teams must be developed and nurtured to align more effectively with operational editorial responsibilities found at a newspaper, magazine, or broadcasters than in classic B2B technology’s marketing environments. It’s about specialized multi-layered content functionality and editorial flow which is determined by a unified content strategy. While that flow is well-known in B2C, it’s far more complex and less understood in highly complex B2B contexts such as healthcare and financial services.
Creating market-centric content must go hand in hand with distribution and maintenance. This becomes critical for help, product and support content which increasingly falls under the domain of marketing rather than its previous placement under technology. These are as complex and resource intensive as they are critical to the end-to-end customer experience. They are also too often overlooked aspects of incomplete or maligned content strategy both when available for self-service or traditional instruction.
Effortlessly Discoverable, Quality Content Drives Sales
The demand for quality content has never been higher because companies with effortlessly discoverable, quality content drive more brand engagement and confirm again and again that content quality plays an increasingly significant role in purchase decisions and ultimately, quantitative customer success reflected in embedded metrics.