How marketers can get a grip on content marketing in 2014

Speakers on content marketing trends during a Content Marketing Institute webinar point to the need for detailed process; and increased focus on business-oriented pieces, not just thought leadership

Marketers should be increasingly focusing on generating business and problem-oriented content over thought leadership pieces if they want to influence the self-serve customer buying cycle.

The comment was made by senior director of content marketing at webcasting provider On24, Mark Bornstein, during a recent webinar moderated by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) on key strategies and trends in content marketing in 2014.

Bornstein pointed out marketers are facing a dramatically different buying cycle today, where customers self-educate almost to the point of sale. This is changing the way content is consumed as part of the lead generation process. It also puts the onus on serving not just prospects with content, but also existing customers.

“A lot of content marketing is focused on the top of the funnel, but we now need to create more content for further down the pipeline,” Bornstein told webinar attendees. “This means we need to get better at not just creating thought leadership content, but also business case studies and solutions-oriented content.

“Product and content marketing need to forge deeper ties than in the past. More complicated lead gen programs require more complicated content than ever before.”

Bornstein and Annuitas vice-president of marketing and demand generation, Jason Stewart, also spoke on how to structure a successful content management policy, stressing the need for processes that include content creation as a key component. For Bornstein, the three musts to creating a successful content marketing strategy are goals, tools and relevant performance metrics.

Each quarter, Bornstein’s team builds an editorial calendar first, then picks out the types of content tools that will best serve its ambitions. The starting point has to be the customer and prospect persona first, he said.

“My process starts with understanding what the goals from all the constituents are, then I map out requirements for each of those,” he explained. “Once I understand the goal, the target audience and stage of the buying cycle, then I can map out the strategies. I can pick up themes and stories I can tell. This helps you pick the tools to disseminate those stories.

“Every golfer has a bag of clubs, and each serves a different purpose. You have to have a good understanding of your performance with each club. The same goes from content types. In my calendar, I look at what metrics are driving what tools I need to use. Just as much as the demand team, I’m into the metrics I deliver for each tool, plus a gut feel on how each theme will play out.”

Marketing predictions 2014: Targeted and more effective content marketing
Australian marketers ramp up content marketing spend despite effectiveness issues
7 marketers share their content marketing dos and don’ts

Stewart added content marketing strategies shouldn’t just be about generating new information, but also delve into leveraging existing content along the increasingly complicated buyer cycle. He advised marketers to do a gap analysis against the content they already have as they determine which content to best serve customers along the way.

“There might be existing pieces that are a really good fit to meet that specific pain point or motivation in the buying process that you’re not leveraging,” he said. “It’s always better to leverage, edit, or update an existing piece of content than create something from scratch.

“Don’t just plan on creating new pieces of content, plan on updating existing content or leveraging things already in the pipeline. I can’t emphasis enough that a content strategy isn’t deciding what pieces of content to produce each quarter. There has to be a very clear reason why you’re producing a piece of content, and the type of buyer it is aimed at.”

The problem of content management is compounded by the fact that marketers tend to think of content, such as a video, case study or blog post, as a moment in time, Bornstein said.

As an example of how On24 is stretching the lifespan of content, he pointed to its annual benchmarks report on the broadcasting industry. After starting with the basic report, the marketing team delivered a live webinar, then took several data points to create infographics pushed through its website and social networks.

On24 then took smaller pieces of data and created short video tutorials, followed by a campaign with a quiz challenge, and several versions of the report for different geographies and industries.

“The value is by stretching the value of existing content, as opposed to trying to constantly churn out new content,” Bornstein said. “If you have a good story to tell, themes and data, the key is to maximising the value of each of those pieces of content. It served both as demand gen and customer education function. Content needs to become much more elastic.”

When it comes to the technologies helping to foster solid content marketing strategies, Stewart, who is a key influencer on Marketing’s marketing automation suite, highlighted the importance of such platforms to help personalise and distribute content on an individual level. But he admitted most marketers are failing to use marketing automation features to their best advantage.

“Marketing automation is the mechanism, but doesn’t necessarily help you if you don’t know who the people are, or if you haven’t identified them,” he added. “You also need to take into account a tool that will help you personalise the experience as best you can to get them into your database in your first place.

“I’d suggest using a content management system for your website that has the ability to personalise or create dynamic content based on what you can identify about people, such as recognising if they’re coming from a mobile platform, or if they’re from a Fortune 500 company.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Dear buyer/ buyer Mandate,We are direct end seller refinery company for the supply of Petroleum products.We have all available in tank, J...

Russian oil & gas trading llc

Starwood VP of marketing: Managing customer expectations requires emotional credit

Read more

Having an effective Point of Sale system implemented in your retail store can streamline the transactions and data management activities....

Sheetal Kamble

​Jurlique’s move to mobile POS set to enhance customer experience

Read more

Thanks for another excellent post. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? In my opinion, my seek...

Stephan jordan

6 Mobile Marketing Trends to Leverage in 2014

Read more

Hey there! Very interesting article, thank you for your input! I found particularly interesting the part where you mentioned that certain...

Martin Valovič

Companies don’t have policies to disrupt traditional business models: Forrester’s McQuivey

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Highlights of 2020 deliver necessity for Circular Economies

The lessons emerging from a year like 2020 are what make the highlights, not necessarily what we gained. One of these is renewed emphasis on sustainability, and by this, I mean complete circular sustainability.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Have customers really changed?

The past 12 months have been a confronting time for marketers, with each week seemingly bringing a new challenge. Some of the more notable impacts have been customer-centric, driven by shifting priorities, new consumption habits and expectation transfer.

Emilie Tan

Marketing strategist, Alpha Digital

Cultivating engaging content in Account-based Marketing (ABM)

ABM has been the buzzword in digital marketing for a while now, but I feel many companies are yet to really harness its power. The most important elements of ABM are to: Identify the right accounts; listen to these tracked accounts; and hyper-personalise your content to these accounts to truly engage them. It’s this third step where most companies struggle.

Joana Inch

Co-founder and head of digital, Hat Media Australia

Sign in