What are the goals of your content marketing efforts? This is a the quintessential question to ask before embarking upon your content marketing journey — arguably equally as important as knowing the story you or your brand aims to convey to your prospective customers. Many B2B brands list a myriad of business goals they aim to solve through content marketing. Some of these are listed in the graphic below (excerpt from the Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs report “B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends”):
As you can see two of the top three goals — customer acquisition and lead generation — are squarely focused on creating pipeline sales opportunities. This increased emphasis on revenue specifically, marketing being able to prove it’s role in driving measurable demand, is notable and an admission that this historically has not been our strong suit.
This statement is reaffirmed by a recent Harvard Business Review blog post (albeit with a rather inflammatory title) entitled Marketing Is Dead where they write:
“In a devastating 2011 study of 600 CEOs and decision makers by the London-based Fournaise Marketing Group, 73% of them said that CMOs lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth, 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it will generate increased business, and 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.”
So as marketers we have a responsibility to leverage our deep uderstanding of the customer, their motivations and objections, and then use these insights to guide content marketing efforts.
In order to continue to enjoy executive buy-in for marketing programs, the focus of our content creation must be to drive revenue by answering the buying questions of key decision makers that are party to the buying journey. This does not mean that we need to completely abandon brand awareness, thought leadership and driving user engagement — quite the contrary — but today’s B2B marketer needs to accept a greater level of accountability for revenue generation to continue to retain that seat at the decision maker’s table.