Would you run your business without a strategy for product development, sales growth, and marketing?
If your answer to this question is “NO”, then you will be surprised that 50 percent of digital marketers do not have a content strategy according to the state of digital marketing 2015 by Smart Insights.
By now you understand that inbound marketing is a methodology that enables B2B businesses address the disruption in sales and marketing process caused by the vast amount of information available on the internet. Your prospects have access to nearly limitless content to research how to address their needs. This content availability shifts the power from the company to the prospect in the traditional sales process. To regain a competitive edge, business are striving to provide the best digital content that addresses the prospect’s needs in order to attract them and build trust and thought leadership. In order to do this effectively, businesses need a content strategy that aligns with their sales process.
I found it surprising that according to the 2015 State of Digital Marketing Report, 50 percent of businesses that are implementing digital marketing do not have a content strategy in place. It is like driving on a cross-country road trip without a map (or GPS). How could you ever measure marketing results versus objectives without a strategy? It just does not make sense.
50 percent of marketers do not have a content strategy
Bristol Strategy has been implementing digital marketing using the Inbound Marketing methodology since 2007. We also believe that it is not sufficient to have a digital content strategy, but it must be very well aligned with your businesses proven sales process. If you don’t believe us, then just search in Google “content marketing doesn’t work” or “Inbound Marketing Sucks”, or “other explicative rant”, you will find many articles that discuss the gaps in the strategy and execution of many businesses with their digital marketing, as this Forbes article.
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This information should be enough to convince you that an effective digital marketing initiative begins with a content strategy that is aligned with your sales process.
For an insight into the importance of aligning marketing content and the B2B sales process check out this recent article. Frankly, the process of creating a content strategy for your business is quite straight forward. So long as you have an active sales person who has had success selling your products or services to multiple customers, then you have a starting point for the content strategy since that sales person has identified the triggers and goals that compel your prospects to invest in your offerings. A simple interview with your marketing and sales team is enough to get started. If during the discovery process there is any doubt about the identified problems and solutions that are most relevant to your prospect then customer interviews are important to validate the assumptions. The research phase is the most important part of any content strategy. In many cases, it is best facilitated by someone outside of your company because they come without any biases.
Once the strategy is in place, measure the results to optimize the conversion rate of leads to sales qualified opportunities.
Even with your best effort and thorough analysis, the implementation phase of the content strategy needs a close view of the analytics of the traffic, leads, and conversion to opportunities for your sales teams. Another finding in the report is that more than half of the companies surveyed did not invest enough time in measuring and analyzing and optimizing results to improve ROI of their digital marketing investment. The following image is of the highest percentage item, see the infographic for the full set of data.
Consider that the internet is a living and breathing entity that is affected by the content that every other marketing person is placing on their website. Therefore, your actions must be focused and specific to have an impact on your lead generation results. Your content must be of very high quality so that your visitors share and rank it highly with their peers. In the end, it is the strategy and execution that matters most.