In Germany, many companies and people are still struggling with the idea of Content Marketing. There is one example that is especially characteristic of this fact. As, in the US, Joe Pulizzi’s Content Marketing Institute now exists for almost five years and has become THE institution and knowledge base for content marketing, the German “Forum Corporate Publishing” announced Content Marketing to be „the discipline for promoting strategic business goals with editorial content” first in the autumn of last year. Their renaming into “Content Marketing Forum” was as meaningful as overdue.
While German companies are still discovering the content marketing area, companies in the USA are already engaged in “Content Efficiency” and “Content Marketing Operations”. A recently published study from the market research company Gleanster came to the conclusion, that American B2B companies waste almost a billion US-Dollars annually because of inefficient and ineffective content marketing processes. Such sums alone suggest that Content Marketing is not only a new temporary hype but it’s definitely relevant for German companies.
For their study, Gleanster Research surveyed 3,408 B2B companies with more than 250 employees. And they indicated the most significant challenge with content marketing is managing the overall content production process. In fact, 67% of all respondents ranked Content Marketing as one of their top 3 priorities or a high priority for their marketing strategy. The spendings on content production and distribution are compelling evidence for this fact. The surveyed B2B firms spend over $5.2 bn a year on content creation efforts which is more than half of the annual marketing budget.
According to this study, almost a fifth of these spendings is wasted because of inefficient coordination processes and content is not being used optimally. That this could be done differently, is shown by the most successful six percent of the surveyed companies: based on an optimization of content operations the “champions” produce more than three times as much content as average companies. And they are much faster than average companies – in production time and in publishing. The key success factors for such an optimization are standardized workflows, a centralized collaboration, and marketing operations technologies like approval technology and marketing automation tools.
Taking a closer look at the huge amount of produced content, you will find potential cost savings regarding internal and external resources, time, and budget. The 3,408 surveyed companies produced over 42,000 pieces of content a year. 37% of this content represents long-form content such as eBooks, whitepapers, and case studies.
And in the future, this number will increase – in particular for companies that operate internationally operations and have multilingual content. More than ever, consumers expect specific and relevant messages. They no longer trust advertising promises. What they want is real solutions to their problems, exclusive information, and emotional stories. One can even say, that messages have to be more agile. That means people and (their) interactions are more important than processes and tools. Reactions to changes are more important than following an established plan. A high degree of flexibility is required – and constant listening.
To manage this, the most successful six percent of the surveyed companies have invested in technologies that automate their workflows and coordination processes, which has significantly increased their operational effectiveness. This has made it possible to reduce the costs for internal and external resources by 50%, create 90% more content, and generate 45% more sales-accepted leads. Nevertheless, almost more than half of the technology users are skeptical about the future, as it is rare that the different elements like marketing automation platforms, calendar, and coordination tools are optimally integrated.
As already done in the USA, now European companies have to deal with the challenge of content marketing. In order to keep up with the rapid development smart, synergetic technologies and flexible strategies are required. That this is already happening was reflected in the topics of this year’s “Digital Innovator Summit” in Berlin/Germany. Much was said about distribution and commercialization of digital content via (maximized) automation, models and strategies for collaboration in teams were presented and it was discussed, how big data technologies can help to provide the right amount of content, for the right target group with the. It was significant, that the American speakers advised their European colleagues to get more involved in content controlling and content efficiency. Soon we will know how far the well-meant advice was accepted.
*The $958M Marketing Problem, Gleanster