Content fuels campaigns, but the positive customer experiences garnered from the right content help accelerate and close more deals. During the opening session of the Content2Conversion track, Christine Polewarczyk, Service Director, Content Strategy and Operations at SiriusDecisions will share tips and best practices for forming a top-class, enterprise-wide content strategy that delivers high-quality content experiences. Read on to get a sneak peek from Polewarczyk on her upcoming session:
Demand Gen Report: The event theme this year is “seeing B2B through a new lens.” What advice would you give marketers looking to evolve their strategies and successfully change things up this year?
Christine Polewarczyk: While many B2B organizations have articulated that digital transformation and customer experience optimization are high priorities, many are still patching problems in their content engines instead of looking holistically at the problems. As marketers, focusing on what needs to be done to drive content transformation is one of the most impactful ways of improving the customer experience. Unfortunately, less than 22% of B2B marketing organizations rate themselves as having advanced content engine maturity according to our 2018 State of B2B Content Study.
Identifying and addressing strategic and tactical gaps that impact content engine performance should be one of the top priorities for CMOs and their marketing organizations in 2019 and the foreseeable future. And because so much of the content that sales reps use originates in the marketing and product organizations, it is also now critical to look at the content engine through lenses of the entire revenue engine: sales, marketing and product. In the longer-term, if organizations truly want to deliver optimized omnichannel customer experiences, enterprise-wide content strategy and operations that extend into customer support functions and other organizational functions will be required as well.
DGR: What trends are you currently seeing in the content marketing space?
Polewarczyk: One big trend worth noting is that there still is a lot of confusion in B2B organizations about what content marketing is and how it is different than all the other work we do in the marketing organization that involves content.
SiriusDecisions defines content marketing as a subset of inbound marketing activities that drives topical authority and engagement with audiences and builds a stronger digital footprint. It is a distinct discipline that blends SEO, content strategy, digital marketing and editorial expertise to create digital authority and inbound traffic around a family of topics. By doing so, content marketing builds top-of-funnel inbound traffic promoting early stage content that builds engagement and seeds demand via a destination hub (i.e., blog, online publication). It is a very importance competency to have within B2B marketing today and is critical to inbound search performance.
In addition to content marketing, we still see a lot of gaps around campaign content strategy. While many organizations now realize the necessity of audience-centric content strategy, many seem to still struggle with operationalizing best practices around cross-functional campaign content planning. For example, only 32% of B2B marketing organizations consistently use content performance metrics and insights to inform content strategy decisions.
Another trend has been the tremendous growth in interest over the past couple of years in content marketing platforms in terms of technology investments. With so many audiences, formats, channels and languages to support, many organizations are realizing that they need better tools to support complex and often matrixed content processes. They’re typically looking for help with calendaring, distribution, workflow automation, asset management and better content analytics. Our SiriusDecisions Command Center data indicates that 58% of B2B marketing organizations are planning to increase or significantly increase investment in content marketing platforms in the next 12 months.
DGR: What are omnichannel content experiences and how can marketers deliver on them?
Polewarczyk: Well it’s really more about omnichannel customer experience optimization at the highest level. But because so much of how we engage digitally is through content, omnichannel content experiences becomes an important success factor. Unfortunately, lack of formalized processes and inadequate technology leaves many B2B marketers quite a distance away from being able to realize omnichannel visibility and execution or analytics capabilities. Most organizations today have such fragmented ecosystems that it is difficult for them to have a full circle view of how audiences are engaging with them or have control over the experiences they are creating for those audiences. A systematic approach and clear roadmap for addressing weaknesses across strategy, people, process and technology that are affecting content engine performance is a lynchpin to driving personalized, 360-degree audience engagement.
DGR: What should attendees expect to learn from your presentation at B2BMX 2019?
Polewarczyk: My goal is to help organizations understand what the foundational elements are for building a high-performing content engine and gaining more control and visibility into the customer experiences they are creating through their content. I’ll show marketers what a best-in-class content engine looks like and explain how they can build a step-by-step plan for improving their content engine performance.
I really want to help marketers move beyond the band-aid approaches to improving their content engines and inspire them to holistically address the systemic issues in their organizations that are handicapping their ability to meet growth objectives. I’ll share key industry maturity benchmarks to provide context and understanding of the key issues, and then share some models and frameworks they can use to catalyze change in their own organizations.
DGR: What are you hoping to learn more about at B2BMX 2019? Are there any sessions you’re looking forward to?
Polewarczyk: It’s probably not surprising that I am most interested in attending the other content-related sessions like Lee Odden’s and Michael Brenner’s! And of course, I am interested to check out who the winners will be for the Killer Content Awards!