Most marketing organizations today do not have the right resources in place to properly execute a content marketing strategy for lead generation, and if you’ve had less than desirable results, this could be a major reason why.
The problem lies in a fundamental mismatch between the skill sets that it took to be a successful marketer 10 years ago, and the ones required to be successful in today’s digital world.
That’s not to say that these functions aren’t necessary anymore—the marketing jobs of the old world still exist--branding, advertising, public relations and events.
Even though the dollars may be shifting from a physical/analog world to digital (for example, cutting the number of trade shows and conferences that you attend in half and diverting those dollars into content), a content marketing strategy designed for lead generation requires a lot more time and resources than what most sales and marketing teams can give up in their current positions.
There are only so many hours in the day, and if you’re expecting this team to execute a successful content marketing strategy in addition to their current duties (even when marginalized) the results will be disappointing and their current performance will suffer.
Content Marketing as a Media Operation
Successful content marketing today requires that the content team have the mindset of a publisher or full-blown media company that’s regularly publishing material to the high-probability pain points of your marketplace—and that’s a very different skill set than what was required even just a few years ago.
An even bigger challenge than diverting resources lies with the skill sets themselves, because the requirements have also changed dramatically in the digital world.
B2B marketing has always supported a sales function in the development of sales collateral, product literature, branding, and awareness. If you’ve been a marketing executive for more than 10 years, you’re probably pretty good at product marketing.
Branding is a Side Benefit of Content Marketing, But Not the Goal.
Most marketers are really articulate about how to position themselves in the market compared to their competition, what their products can and can’t do, and ultimately what’s important to the prospect, but those skills are not necessarily transferable when it comes to attracting early stage buyers who are not yet interested in you or what you do.
The way you attract these early stage buyers is to speak consistently to their high-probability pain points because at this stage, they’re just on the internet doing research on how to solve business problems.
They don’t want to talk to sales reps. They don’t want to hear about your products. They just want to know the best practice in the market to solve their challenges.
Most of that knowledge actually sits within the sales, product management, or executive teams— the same people that probably don’t have the writing skills and the time to produce a weekly blog for the organization.
That typically requires dedicated people to articles, white papers, videos and infographics, and because these are typically not focused on topics such as features and benefits of your product, most marketers won’t have the ability to generate these types of articles in an engaging fashion, and certainly won’t be able to cut through the clutter better than the competition that is hiring journalists, designers, and other specialized, media focused skill sets.