How much content do I need to “fuel” my marketing automation system?
This was a question that was asked of me recently as I spoke at an industry event. The question is a compelling one as more and more, marketers are putting time, money, and energy into the content creation process. However, the question in and of itself may be the wrong question.
In 2014, ITSMA released a study that showed that the single largest B2B budget item was developing content. A whopping 15% of B2B budgets, according to the study, are going toward the creation of content. The 2013 B2B Content Marketing Survey by Content Marketing Institutes and Marketing Profs states that 64% of marketers are challenged with producing enough content.
In looking at some other studies, you get a better understanding of what is actually happening with all of this content creation. Sirius Decisions states that up to 70% of all marketing content goes unused. Additionally, the aforementioned CMI study shows that less than 45% of companies have a defined content marketing strategy and only 42% of marketers say they are effective at content marketing. Something is wrong here!
It would seem that if one of the reasons, among others, that marketers are creating content is to fuel their marketing automation system, the approach, as referenced above, is failing. Perhaps a better question would be “how much content do I need to create a dialogue with my buyer throughout their buying process and how can I enable it with my marketing automation solution?” This is a fundamentally different approach which will lead to much different questions and answers.
It is true that content is the fuel for marketing automation. However, it is not about how much fuel you need to put into the system, but rather, what is the right type of fuel that will enable marketing automation to run at an optimal level. This is seen in the example graphic below:
Figure 1 Demand Generation Model Content Architecture - ANNUITAS, Inc. 2013
As the buyers are in the process of engaging as seen by the Information Requests (IR), it is necessary for the right kind of content to be developed in order to engage, nurture, and convert the buyers through the various stages of their buying process. How is this tracked, managed, and often times delivered? Through an optimized marketing automation solution that works with the demand generation program.
One of the biggest failures with content marketing and marketing automation is the starting point is quite insular. We think about content in terms of the organizational goals and objectives and do the same with technology -- insert lead scoring workshops and funnels here to “address” issues. Instead, marketers need to make the buyer the focal point of everything -- understanding their needs, challenges, goals, buying process, content consumption patterns, and so on. This is when we see an increase in the value of the content that is being created and the power of the enabling marketing automation technology.
Marketers need to stop thinking about the quantity of their content and understand that the quality of their content -- demonstrated through the buyer engagement -- is far more important. How much content is really the wrong question.