The majority of B2B buyers rely on content to research and make important decisions.
However, marketers in this space say that they often run into all-too-familiar challenges such as resource constraints, lack of commitment from higher-ups, and haphazard vision and sign-off processes.
A recent study by Content Marketing Institute brought many of these issues into sharp focus and was used as a springboard for potential solutions that can help brands that market services and products to other businesses to manage successful campaigns.
More than two-thirds of marketers believe that the interference of stakeholders is a major challenge, while just one in 10 say that their organisation as a whole is in agreement about “what good content is”.
The figure for the latter is even lower in Europe, pointing to the regular battles that key decision makers have to face when trying to not only get content marketing campaigns green-lit but also deciding on what formats and channels to use.
One solution for this is to focus on actual data and clearly defined results that show exactly the best content for any given situation. This removes personal feelings and hunches about what may work best for creative endeavours.
It is also useful to come together and define what is ‘great’ quantitatively before you start a campaign so that everyone is working from the same page. This makes it easier to overcome obstacles further along the pipeline and cuts down on interference from higher-ups.
90% of marketers say that the fact that priorities can change at any given moment is a concern and two-thirds believe that these unforeseen shifts are a “big problem”. Even with the best intentions and a strategy that aligns with the wider business, this is something you will run into from time to time.
Conflicting priorities are often caused by managers who come in late to the sign-off process and raise new requirements. Six in 10 respondents say that they would be able to deliver better results from campaigns “if nobody else had to sign off our content”.
Those who are frustrated by these obstacles also believe that their content suffers as a result, with many reporting lower levels of satisfaction for the emotional impact of videos and blogs and the quality of copywriting.
This friction rarely leads to anything positive, so it is important to develop objective quality standards beforehand to reduce the impact of potentially lengthy sign-off and approval processes and shifting priorities.
A review checklist is a good starting point for better content output. If you are working with an agency, make sure that you have provided enough information to allow them to create a clear and accurate brief. You can also set out a few standards for when you receive the copy or content back.
These objective standards should tally with the definition for what makes content ‘great’ that was outlined earlier. By agreeing on these definitions, it makes it easier for you to push through the approval process and focus on actually publishing engaging, high-quality content rather than in-fighting with departments to get something up and running.
Lack of cooperation and collaboration
Considering the problems already listed, it is no surprise that marketers are not happy with the levels of cooperation from other departments when attempting to manage content campaigns.
B2B marketers will always find it difficult to come up with the content that clients and customers need if they have to operate within a vacuum and without help from elsewhere.
Four in 10 marketers believe that merely getting any form of cooperation is a big problem, and this again leads to lower levels of satisfaction for new content concepts, return on investment and general business results.
Marketers struggling in this area say that content is less aligned with customer needs and priorities. This is another worry in a world where personalised, targeted content is fundamental to the best digital experiences.
Brands can start to make some sort of progress with cooperation by building stronger links between departments. This can be done by selecting perhaps one or two ‘contacts’ in other departments that will engage in a positive way with marketing. These role models can show the importance of friendly cooperation.
Marketers can also lead from the front here by being receptive to the agendas of other departments. Community Brands vice president Maureen Blandford notes:
“When I meet stakeholders, I already know what their hair is on fire about.” Knowing what is making other areas of the business tick can improve relations and facilitate a better, more creative environment for marketers.
Budget and resource issues
While everyone is now aware of the importance of content marketing, 87% of marketers still say that budget limitations are a problem for them and 90% admit to workload issues. These are not just problems in themselves as those struggling on a day-to-day basis say that their content is less likely to hit the mark.
Budgetary complaints can stem from higher-ups forgetting about the crucial role that content can play when driving better business results. Reminding them of this fact through case studies and fact-heavy pitches can help to get more campaigns green-lit.
Try to play into FOMO (the fear of missing out) as they will be more ready to buy into what you are doing if a competitor is already doing it and benefiting from it.
One way to make more of your resources is to partner with an agency that has a professional network of freelancers at its disposal.
You will get a ready-made team of writers and editors that can craft content within a short time frame, which will allow you to concentrate on other aspects of marketing. This is cost-effective and sustainable in the long term.
Finally, brands wanting to get the most from content marketing should start building a culture that allows creatives to do their thing in a controlled space.
Without having to justify their every action, marketers will be in a better place to experiment with new content approaches that could potentially transform your business.