Marketing Strategy

Ask the Experts: The Content Operation and Marketing Success

By September 9, 2016 No Comments

Ineffective management of the content operation has led to an estimated $958M per year in inefficient and ineffective content marketing spend for mid-to-large B2B organization.

And we’re obsessed with finding a solution.

Enter Modern Marketing at Scale: A Framework for B2B Content Operation.

In building this new process for content operations at scale, we needed help and guidance from the best, broadening our research with anecdotal evidence from world-class marketers on content marketing at scale. To start, we wanted to know the why and how: why the process of operationalizing content strategy can lead to marketing success and how do we then measure its effectiveness.

Here’s what they had to say.

Connecting Content Operations to B2B Marketing Success: 6 Experts Weigh In

How does a content operation support success for your marketing organization? How do you measure and report on this success?

Ask-the-expert-ardath-albee

A sense of order is created based on purpose and business objective, not whims and wants randomly requested.

One of the biggest challenges for content marketers is time. I often hear about the random requests that come in for content from departments across the organization—always needed ASAP. This creates chaos and implodes the content marketing strategy. With alignment of processes, people, and technology, the stress can be reduced. A sense of order is created based on purpose and business objective, not whims and wants randomly requested. When content assets are planned in relation to business objectives, measurement becomes more meaningful. The problem is that measurement can’t be an afterthought. Given the technology and visibility you have in place, goals must be set from the start.

Ask-the-expert-joe-chernov
Organizational structure is challenging in an account-based model. There’s no “ABM Org Chart.” We’ve played with various models. Right now we have an ABM strategist paired with a content marketer who’s responsible for producing the content required for ABM “plays” and a sales enablement pro that makes sure the sales/marketing cadence is properly orchestrated. I could see a future where we ran multiple strategist/content/enablement pods, one in support of each cohort, geography, or product line. We measure the volume of Marketing Qualified Accounts (MQA) produced, and the downstream performance (close rate, deal size, sales cycle) of those cohorts versus our “warmed-but-not-yet-MQA’d” accounts and our cold accounts.

Ask-the-expert-carlos-hidalgo
You have to develop a standard set of KPIs that measure each and every stage of the buying process.  The KPIs, of course, need to measure conversions, but should also look at channel performance, content performance, impact to lead velocity, contribution to pipeline, and revenue. These are the details that are not seen within most organizations.

Anthony Kennada, VP, Marketing, Gainsight
A high performing marketing organization built to scale cannot exist without investment in Marketing Operations—whether that’s a person or initiative. Every marketing program and subsequent dollar of spend can be measured, and boards/execs will only promote those who can demonstrate dollar-in, dollar-out marketing.

If you’re a SaaS company, you’ve been undoubtedly watching the public markets over the course of the last several years. Wall Street has always struggled to value companies who are investing in growth rather than profitability. One of the numbers that really matters to investors in determining valuation is CAC, or Customer Acquisition Cost. CAC is effectively a measurement of marketing and sales expenses.

High performing teams will create a set of metrics that can be reviewed weekly across all programs.

You can get by in the early days by working with your CEO on setting a marketing budget and doing all you can to keep spending down, but inevitably, you’ll be held to the same CAC standards as the rest of us. That’s where marketing operations comes in: high performing teams will create a set of metrics that can be reviewed weekly across all programs. You’ll understand where process can build bridges across the organization, when to hire the right type of people, and when it makes sense to procure a solution to help you achieve your targets.

Without a marketing operations focus, you’ll have no way of understanding the growth levers that you’ll need to scale your company.

Success is often hampered by an inadequate content engine.

Marketing’s primary deliverable is content, but success is often hampered by an inadequate content engine. Content Operations, or “ConOps,”organizes, audits, and reports on content. Through tagging and auditing content, ConOps shows the organization what the reality is—that supposedly valuable content isn’t used by customers or the field; that field satisfaction with findability is low; that rogue copies and repositories make quality control and strategic execution impossible. Having content creators and content managers in the same group is critical, otherwise managers lack the necessary depth and specificity of insight. Taxonomy skills are essential to a content operations organization.

There are three types of measurement for content operations: content health, satisfaction, and ROI.

    • Health metrics include duplication (number of official and unofficial repositories, and average number of copies of a given piece of content); % of content that is tagged and named so that you can audit it; quantity of content; amount of obsolete content still available
    • ROI metrics are valuable but usually harder to get. They include: time in front of customers (because you can increase that by decreasing admin time); identifying specific pieces and general types of content that are reliably used in closed-won opportunities; win-loss ratio; and mean time to install and mean time to repair (i.e., time that service/support have to spend on site, which can be reduced by having the right content available quickly)
    • Satisfaction metrics are relatively easy to get and become more valuable if you ask the same questions over multiple surveys. You can create executive buy-in by showing widespread dissatisfaction, and demonstrate value by showing how satisfaction increased when you made improvements.

Ask-the-expert-dennis-shiao
I measure the content operation indirectly by looking at how the marketing organization is meeting our goals overall. At DNN, our top-level measure is marketing-influenced revenue. From that goal, we work backwards to demos, qualified opportunities, MQLs and leads. We set goals for each step along the way, but revenue is the ultimate measure of whether we and, by extension, our content are successful.

 

Kelsey Loughman

About Kelsey Loughman

Kelsey is the former Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Kapost. She oversaw the Marketeer blog, created amazing eBooks, and inspired marketers to create more advanced strategies. See what she's up to @Kay_Lockman.