How to create an effective content supply chain in B2B organizations?
Recently I visited the SiriusDecisions Summit in London. This yearly Summit is a B2B marketing & sales conference with many exciting and interesting ideas on its programme on how to innovate B2B marketing and sales. One of the presentations that caught my interest was on how to create an effective content supply chain in B2B organizations. The story was presented by Marisa Kopec VP & Group Director at SiriusDecisions.
One of the main struggles in many B2B organizations is that there isn’t a proper content process in place. The result? 60%-70% of the content produced by B2B marketers is unused! This obviously is an enormous waste of efforts and budget. With the growing demand for better quality content to fuel inbound and outbound marketing, there is an urgent need for a holistic process and for having the right people in the right place.
Marisa presented a new content model, which involves 5 core functions in a B2B organization. These 5 pillars form the foundation of a successful and effective content factory.
1. Product marketers are the ones who should be responsible for the content ideas and content origination. The role of a product marketer is fundamentally changing. Besides product-centric content he is now forced to get to know his buyer more in depth and understand what questions the buyer has before he is actually searching for products or solutions. Based on these insights, the marketer needs to think about useful answers to these questions. To produce persona-centric content seems a big shift in the role of a product marketer.
2. Global campaign and programme managers need to ensure that campaign offers are aligned with the buying stages. Organizing, categorizing and planning how to use content in their campaigns. They will need to figure out not just what type of content or what content format to use in the campaigns but also what messages to use at which points. They need to make sure that the storyline of the content is complete. Mapping the buyer journey and the seller journey is key to success.
3. Communication teams are moving from a ‘taking orders role’, “here is the creative brief…. now go and produce!”, to the role of a foreman. They are responsible for the correct assembly of the content as well as for the finished products. In fact they are moving away from the traditional explicit attributes of content, such as “what is the headline?”, “what is asset type?”, “does it comply with our brand guidelines?”, to more implicit attributes:
- What are the knowledge inflection points?
- Is there any proof we can use (data)?
- How will we deliver it?
- What formats do we need to produce?
- Are we complying with the sales requirements?
- How will we produce it?
- How and where will the content get activated?
4. Sales teams are the engineers in the process, they see and speak to the customers most, so we need to make sure we take their requirement as an important consideration in the content production process. In fact, if sales people don’t like what marketing produces, they will not use it, or they will produce their own materials. This is ineffective and inefficient. Therefore Sales enablement should be part of the content process. Furthermore, we have to make sure that the content is distributed to sales in a simple and straightforward way. They don’t want to spend a lot of time to find what they need.
5. Field marketers should be participating in every step of the content factory process. Based on recent SiriusDecisions research, only 20 percent of the content field marketers use, is produced by them. The role of field marketing is to engage local experts and customers to feed messaging components and leverage on third party sources. “The revolutionized content model calls for field marketing to create a percentage of content within their individual locations. Doing so limits the rejection or inefficient reworking of content from the central factory”, so says Marisa.
To summarize, the content factory is the most important building block of content marketing. A Head of Marketing should own this process. In addition, there should be a Content Strategist who maps the process and makes sure there are no gaps. This process needs to be measured constantly.
Clear metrics need to be used to make sure that the factory is operating effectively. The metrics should focus on 4 main areas: Utilization, Quality, Process and Impact. In my next post I will discuss these more in depth. Is your organization ready?