Organisations are failing in their content marketing quest: report

New Altimeter Group report finds content marketing is a top priority for marketers, but most organisations are ill-equipped and lack the strategic or tactical capabilities to be successful

Content marketing may be the hot area of investment for marketers, but most organisations are still failing to address their activities either strategically or tactically.

According to a new whitepaper from analyst firm, Altimeter Group, brands have evolved into media companies responsible for 178 social media properties on average, as well as corporate websites, blogs and other owned media properties. This media and device pool is only increasing as more smartphones, tablets and emerging platforms such as Google Glass enter the market.

In Altimeter’s Organizing for Content 2013: Models to incorporate content strategy and content marketing in the enterprise supporting survey, 57 per cent of 130 respondents cited content marketing as the top external social strategy objective, followed by developing an ongoing dialogue and engagement with customers.

Yet for most companies, content responsibility and oversight is reactive and highly fragmented, Altimeter claimed, and brands are finding themselves ill-equipped and scrambling to create content that meets both company and user needs.

“Content marketing budgets have been increasing for years. Yet few organisations have actually made a place for content,” report authors, Rebecca Lieb, Chris Silva and Christine Tran, stated. “Instead, most toss content duties or assignments to already-busy employees who are untrained, ill-prepared and lack a strategic mandate or incentives to source, create, product, disseminate, benchmark, measure or manage content.”

Altimeter’s whitepaper is based on 78 interviews with executives of business and consumer companies, representing 27 brands, between January and March 2013.

In one company example, Altimeter found corporate communications and PR were managing some social media sites such as Instagram and Google +, marketing was managing Facebook and Twitter and agency content creation, the website team was in charge of SEO, YouTube, Pinterest, blogs and external forums, customer service staff delivered how-to content for blog posts and .com plus social customer care content, and HR used Facebook and LinkedIn for recruitment.

“The overwhelming majority of organisations don’t have content divisions in their organisational charts. Very few have staff with the world ‘content’ or ‘editor’ in their title, and only nine of the brands interviews for this report have made explicit content hires,” the authors stated. “This lack of orchestration results in duplicative efforts that waste time and money while producing inconsistent messaging.”

In order to get on top of content marketing, Altimeter said an organisation’s c-suite executives must first recognise and understand content is needed and is growing in importance. It also outlined an enterprise model including a content department, content centre of excellence, editorial board or content council, content lead, executive steering committee and a cross-functional content chief.

Altimeter Group: How to prepare for real-time marketing

Tips for improving content management

  • Strategy: Organisations need to maintain a centralised content framework embodying content-related objectives, processes and governance from the selection of tools, technologies, staff and partners as well as how and what content is produced and the approval process.

  • Authority/management: This executive role or governing body must have cross-functional and multidivisional visibility in order to operate.

  • Staff: It’s critical to map appropriate skill sets such as copywriting, journalism, video production, graphic design and photograph with channel and media requirements and ensure staff are capable of creating a scalable solution.

  • Technology: Content requires a plethora of tools for production, measurement, collaboration and so on. Yet Altimeter claimed the disconnect between marketing and IT was hindering many organisations from getting an efficient, integrated solution for content marketing.

  • Measurement: Companies need to secure a holistic approach to overcome the lack of overarching, cross-divisional strategy and often conflicting metrics for content.

  • Audit: Regular content audits can help track content assets and where they reside, minimising resource inefficiencies and reduplication.

  • Unified guidelines and playbooks: Defining what content should and should not be is an essential strategic element.

  • Training: There is a lack of formal training across many organisations for content staff that needs to be addressed.

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