As if life as a B2B marketing professional is not hard enough in times of often stagnant or shrinking budgets, recent research by SmartInsights revealed 50 percent of marketers have no clearly defined digital marketing strategy for 2015.
The main reasons, according to the study, include lack of investment to measure Return of Investment (ROI), insufficient time for planning as well as lack of funding for paid media. No real surprises there. What grabbed my attention is that content creation didn’t even feature on this list.
In reality it is not only a challenge to develop the internal buy-in, processes, and platforms for digital marketing, but also to build a content library with relevant and up-to-date assets to promote through various lead generation channels. Social media content is relatively easy to create due to its short and succinct nature (but you need a lot of it to fill your content calendar). In contrast, market reports, customer case studies and whitepapers are sought after by your prospects but require significantly more time and resources to produce. Here’s a few ideas how to make 2015 the year of getting your digital content marketing off the ground:
1. Start small
With limited marketing dollars to spend, consider which content assets tick most of the boxes for your organisation’s overall marketing and sales needs, not just digital. Case studies make great incentives for gated campaigns, but can also be displayed at trade shows and events. Press releases in your online news room are the backbone of your PR program, while enhancing the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your website. Over time, these assets help build a content library that can be used (and reused) in a number of ways.
2. Dare to make adjustments
While measurement has come a long way (but is still not as automated and integrated with backend systems as the industry buzz suggests, see digital marketing challenges), there is still a creative component to the roll out of campaigns that needs to allow for a degree of trial and error. We do our research, we come up with out-of-the-box ideas, we run the whole campaign flawlessly. But at the end of the day, there is only one thing that matters: cold, hard sales leads. If a program doesn’t yield the desired results, it is time to go back to the drawing board and make adjustments – not only to your distribution channels but also with different types of content.
3. Think in an integrated fashion
According to the SmartInsight report, email marketing is still considered the number one digital marketing channel (51%). This is followed by SEO (45%), paid search marketing (AdWords) (34%) and organic social media (33%). While online PR didn’t make the top three (it was ranked 5th), it is noteworthy that almost a quarter of respondents (23%) view it as top rated digital channel, underlining the importance of a distribution and syndication strategy that includes earned media as part of an integrated program.