By Perry Rearick, Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
Hiking is one of my favorite weekend activities, and I enjoy going off-trail using traditional techniques to navigate: a map and compass. I’ve been doing it most of my life.
However, there are still times when I get off-track, things don’t seem right, and the terrain I’m on doesn’t match where I think I am, or want to be, on the map. I learned early on that when this happens, a best practice is to reset by going back to my last known location and re-plot my route.
A lot of B2B companies, who have been executing content marketing strategies for a while, tell me they feel a little lost. They’re not sure where they are in their strategy, the results aren’t as great as they expected, and they’re uncertain about what to do. Using the hiking best practice example, I advise them to go back to their last known point.
There are a lot of reasons content marketing strategies get off-track, here is a common set of circumstances we all face.
The content marketing team did their due diligence by identifying the company’s best and most profitable capabilities, defined the ideal prospects who are a great fit for these products or services, and determined what these prospects are most interested in. Then they created a list of content themes and developed editorial topics for thought leadership articles, case studies using current customers, and some clear and concise product and service descriptions. They felt confident they would engage buyers with compelling content throughout their buyer’s journey and the results would lead to double digit growth. They took their plan to the C-suite and gained approval.
However, not long after they began executing the plan, they received pressure from the C-suite, sales, and product managers to create product descriptions for a low profit segment of their business. The low profit segment had a short sales cycle, the sales team felt more comfortable pitching it, and results came easy and fast.
The marketing team initially shifted some of their time and resources to the low-profit business segment, but pressure built and soon that’s all they were doing, abandoning their original content marketing plan. The projected growth from the content marketing strategy was never realized, the C-suite lost confidence in the strategy, and the marketing team felt lost.
If this has happened to you, its time for your content marketing team to have an intervention with your executive leadership.
Begin by going back to the last known point—your original plan. Review it with your executive leadership, remind them of their agreement with the strategy. Then explain why and how you got off-track and gain their commitment to limit tasks that consume the marketing time and resources that aren’t part of the plan. Communicate the content marketing strategy to sales and product managers, especially the ones that created the pressure that pulled the marketing team off the plan.
Over the next several weeks, Follow Your Buyer plans to delve into the art and science of content marketing, it is such a rich topic. If you are new to Follow Your Buyer, please poke around our site, if you find the content valuable, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn.