4 essentials every Marketing Manager should know about creating a content strategy that boosts your Marketing Campaign results
by Marije Schreur, on Nov 21, 2020 3:03:46 PM
The inbound methodology is rooted in creating solid foundations that allow prospective customers to come to you, rather than wasting your valuable resources chasing low quality leads. The way this is done is by publishing and promoting a tailored content strategy that attracts, resonates with, and engages the right people, at the right time.
That’s why so many people say that ‘Content is King’. But is it? Perhaps once upon a time, content was at the very top of the food chain. But recently, there’s been a power shift. Today, the content consumer is king. It’s no longer enough to simply create content, put it out there, and expect results. Instead, it’s vital that marketing managers are producing carefully and strategically crafted content that really delivers top results.
What Does Content Need to do?
There’s an almost never ending list of what a great content strategy needs to do to boost marketing campaign results: engage, educate, inform, attract, entertain, and so on. But ultimately, the role of content in an inbound strategy comes down to three things:
- Content needs to build and strengthen direct relationships with customers
- Content needs to support the customer focus and buyer journey
- Content needs to maintain relevance no matter how competitive the landscape
You probably already know this, and you’re probably already taking measures to boost the effectiveness of your content strategy. Perhaps you’re taking inspiration from magazines and transferring this to your own desk. Perhaps you’re looking at how luxury products utilise visual appeal. All of this is setting you on the right track, but there are four additional things that are important to understand when you’re striving for success:1. Data is Critical
Every marketing leader knows that, in the 21st century, good content means personalisation. But the truth is that generating personalised messages is impossible if you don’t have a solid grip on the needs, expectations, and preferences of your target audience. And the good news is that this no longer needs to be a guessing game. Today’s successful marketing teams are investing in building customer data and analytics functions, and developing systems that identify customer behaviour patterns.
The implementation of a centralised customer data platform is essential in facilitating the creation of a successful data-driven content strategy, consolidating data collected from all touchpoints, across all stages of the buyer journey, into a single data pool that generates a full overview and comprehensive picture of your highest quality leads.2. New Skillsets are Needed
Data means that you don’t need to give every potential lead the same message; it allows you to tailor your message for improved engagement. One example of a ‘tailored message’ is creating the right kind of content for each individual stage of the funnel. With the Pardot State of Demand Generation report stating that 76% of people prefer to receive content unique to their specific stage of the buyer journey, data can help you to engage and delight leads, whether they are becoming aware of a problem them have and are searching for a solution, are short listing providers or are on the cusp of making a decision.
Personalising content to audiences across multiple locations, speaking multiple languages and dialects, and living across multiple cultures clearly highlights how incorporating customer data into the content creation process requires different skillsets than are typically needed in traditional marketing. In this case, translation. And as these data pools become increasingly large and complex, the need for these new and niche skills will grow rapidly in the marketing world. A report by insights firm McKinsey states that ‘the ability to recruit and develop translator talent will provide a significant competitive advantage in developing cutting-edge personalisation capabilities’.3. Ecosystems Matter
You might be pouring your efforts into developing and strengthening your marketing team, but even the best team can’t boost marketing campaign results alone. Creating high performing content today isn’t the job of one person; it’s a task that should be influenced by an entire ecosystem of connected departments that are all able to weigh in on what they know about the customer journey. As every marketer knows, the customer journey is no longer linear; buyers jump from one stage to another - and back again - entering into the jurisdiction of many different organisational departments.
Each department sees - and affects - just a small subsection of the overall start-to-finish journey. In order to create highly personalised content which attracts the right people, at the right time and at the right stage of the journey, it’s vital to ensure you have a comprehensive overview of the customer experience. You must look at the bigger picture, rather than relying just on the parts of the experience that you see firsthand.4. You May Need to go Against the Grain
As a marketing leader, everything that you do is based on plans; on detailed strategies that you can present to the board; on proven ways of working that mitigate risk.
However, when it comes to creating content that boosts your marketing campaign results, an agile approach can be beneficial. The secret to great, high performing content is relevance. Good content must have some sort of foundation in real time; current events, geolocation, or persona-based ‘moments’ or windows of opportunity. But consider how long it takes to move from identification of a relevant event to model and cycle development, to campaign deployment using fixed, pre-planned strategies.
Sometimes, flexibility is key. And although it can be difficult to shift your mindset from this strong reliance on written plans to ‘going with the flow’, it can really help you to engage in the moment, and boost the overall effectiveness of your campaigns. Agile content development is ‘an opportunity to leverage real-time context, personalised data, current events, and much more that can make content more relevant and emotional - if marketers adopt a willingness to get better, more culturally relevant content to market faster,’ says Deloitte Chief Creative Officer Adam Schulman.
Embrace the Power Shift
The shift in power from the old ‘Content is King’ to the new ‘The Content Consumer is King’ is proving to be a major obstacle for some marketers. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, this shift paves the way for a new data-driven era of content marketing that enables marketers to make better use of what they have, and drive their resources into creating improved content that better aligns with the needs of the modern customer.