Historically, marketing organizations have been divided by product, channel, and the like in order to hyper target their messaging.

And, while this enables businesses to hone in on product-centric messaging, it enforces the misconception that content is about the product, not the customer. This strategy says it’s all about you, your offering, and how often and when exactly to publish in a certain channel.

In the Age of the Customer, successful content marketers make each interaction valuable for the customer. Deliver more value, earn customers’ trust, beat the competition.

This is the rallying cry of the Age of the Customer, yet we as marketing leaders haven’t adjusted our processes behind the content to actually enable our marketers to deliver the right content for the right customer at the right time. What we actually need is a living, breathing framework that evolves in conjunction with the needs of the customer: a content operation.

Moreover, we can’t make the mistake of forgetting the ultimate tool of marketing: our marketers. They are the creative force behind personalized customer journeys.

Thinking of marketers as the fuel behind a content engine that churns out endless content sets our entire organization up for failure. Instead, we must enable our marketers with the people, process, and technology to actually deliver on the new expectations set by the Age of the Customer.

The Biggest Threat to an Outstanding Customer Experience

How exactly does a content operation succeed where siloed teams have failed in the past? Customers expect to be educated and enabled rather than pitch slapped, and this means that our content strategists and creators need to become customers’ partners in achieving business objectives.

Within a content operation, the processes that govern the customer journey enable visibility and collaboration at every stage of the content lifecycle—from planning and creation to distribution and analysis. Ultimately, this allows organizations to more judiciously target strategic contexts that actually move the needle on buying decisions—without creating excessive content to pollute an already congested marketplace.

A positive customer experience can be summed up in the old, yet still relevant, marketing adage: the right content for the right customer at the right time. At the Kapost office, this saying comes up so often that we usually abbreviate to the “right three.”

All points on the triangle are critical to making a cohesive experience, but if you lack the content piece, you won’t have anything to deliver to the right customer at the right time.

Yet, we as marketers have spent most of our time—and budgets—perfecting delivery and identifying target customers. We use marketing automation, IP readers, A/B testing, optimization software, and so on. But we leave content creation up to the whim of whatever ad hoc request came in from the most influential requester.

The missing block is arguably the most important and certainly the most fundamental: the right content. But to create content that truly focuses on the customer, marketing needs to adjust how we work internally.

How? A content operation is the short answer. But changing our entire thinking and structure around content takes more than just a shiny new term backed by buzzwords like “strategic” and “visibility and alignment.”

A content operation is the people, process, and technology behind all of your content. And while it would be easy for me to promise that the technology portion is your one-way ticket to content operations fame, eventually the neglected people and processes would cause the entire operation to collapse in on itself.

Simply throwing more and more technology at our marketing team without addressing process isn’t going to solve the quandary of what our customers want. While technology is a vital part of the transformation to customer-centric content, the real solution to creating the right content is our marketers. They must be taught better processes to accomplish the huge ask of creating content worthy of customers’ attention.

Bridging the Gaps between People, Process, and Technology

If I preached the importance of people and processes without giving you any valuable action items, I would be ignoring my own advice. In the true spirit of giving value to customers, we at Kapost have long adopted a mentality of enabling and facilitating our customers to be better marketers. It’s not enough to simply churn out content; we want to partner with you to build a content operation to deliver the right three.

That’s why we’ve made it a goal to provide not just technology but support for the people and processes behind content. The first step was to offer services to work directly with our customers to build a content operation with fully integrated people, process, and technology. As we met with customers, we started to recognize patterns: areas that most, if not all, organizations encountered similar obstacles. We gathered data from varied organizations until we had a powerhouse of learnings about how to actually create the right content.

Now, we’re expanding our offering—the Workshop Facilitation Cards and the Content Operations Self Assessment are here.

Each asset has been created with the insight of both our services and marketing teams to support every stage of your content transformation. It’s time to have the hard but important conversations about what’s getting in the way of your content’s success.

We don’t want to just enable customers—we want to enable all marketers. Content operations is the future of content marketing, and we all need to commit to changing our processes before we’re left in the dust. See the tools we’ve crafted for yourself.

check out the content operations tools we're building at Kapost

Toby Murdock

About Toby Murdock

Toby Murdock is Kapost’s CEO, co-founding the company in 2009. He leads Kapost in enabling its customers to build and manage content operations that generate the right content for the right customer at the right time, and has directed the company to its market-leading position as the premier B2B content marketing software. Prior to Kapost, Toby was the co-founder and CEO of Qloud, a social music service that allowed 25M users to share their musical identity and discover music from friends. Toby led to Qloud from founding through growth to a successful sale to Buzz Media. Prior to Qloud Toby worked at AOL and Ruckus. Toby lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and three daughters.