By Kevin O’Regan, VP EMEA, Seismic
As we approach the end of what has been a turbulent 12 months, many marketing teams will be hoping to start the new year afresh. They, like many others, have faced some significant challenges throughout 2020.
Most notably, the accelerated move to remote working brought about by Covid-19 has pushed virtually everyone online, resulting in an explosion of digital sales and marketing content. Facing heightened competition in fewer digital channels, marketers are now having to work harder than ever to create content that attracts the attention of buyers and makes their company stand out from the crowd.
Managing enterprise content marketing operations has also become increasingly difficult. The content marketing lifecycle – from strategy and planning through to production, asset management and integration with distribution and publishing platforms – is more intricate than ever. This is putting many marketing teams on the back foot.
As we head into 2021, the pressure is on marketing departments to support their sales teams by providing them with the most relevant and effective content as efficiently as possible. Ultimately, this will help sellers complete more sales faster by shortening the buyer journey, in turn driving business growth.
With all that in mind, here’s what marketing teams need to get in place to ensure the best possible start to the new year.
New year’s resolutions
There are some tangible steps marketing teams can take to improve processes, better align themselves with other departments and ultimately make their lives easier in 2021. Arguably the most important of these is more effectively curating digital content libraries into one centralised repository.
This can offer many benefits to help marketing departments operate faster and more efficiently. For example, it makes it easier for marketers to identify the right content for the right context and identify any gaps, as well as streamlining the onboarding process for new hires so that they can start contributing quicker.
They should also take steps to extend and simplify existing digital processes through the likes of sales enablement software. This will help marketing departments more closely align themselves with sales teams, removing many of the internal silos and barriers that can often hinder business growth – particularly in large enterprises. Having an end-to-end solution in place will empower marketers to get sellers the materials they need when they need them, thereby helping to establish a more effective go-to-market strategy.
Ultimately, the focus for marketing leads should be on empowering their teams to produce more and better content in the future. By embracing digital tools, much of the time-consuming administrative work that marketers have to deal with can be automated, removing many common bottlenecks and enabling them to spend more time on activities that add value to the business.
Taking these steps will contribute to both short-term and long-term business growth, as marketing departments will be more productive and more effective in how they work. But it shouldn’t stop there. The biggest transformations will come from marketing teams that recognise the importance of building data into their content strategies.
The year of data-driven content
Facing the need to ensure that the content they create hits the right notes, with the right buyers, at the right stage of the sales cycle, success in 2021 will depend on how well marketing teams are able to understand which content buyers are engaging with and when. These insights will empower marketers to tell stories and deliver experiences that resonate with prospects in an online world.
As such, content engagement data will take on a newfound importance in 2021. More sales and marketing teams will leverage software to gain visibility into the impact and effectiveness of content, in turn ensuring more valuable buyer interactions and driving content ROI.
By adopting a data-driven content strategy, marketers will be able to support sales teams more effectively at scale. For example, having access to analytics around content consumption and engagement can help marketing teams identify trends in certain sectors or geographies to optimise future content creation. This will enable them to continuously improve the materials being created and deliver content across numerous platforms, including social media, that inspires buyers to act.
Linked to this is the ability to address buyers’ specific needs and concerns. Buyers will continue to expect more personalised interactions – 85% already dismiss the first interaction if they don’t receive tailored information – requiring marketing teams to use data analytics to gain greater insight into buyers and their interests.
Marketers will then be able to create relevant and engaging content that is more likely to resonate. The result will be a superior customer experience that ultimately translates into increased conversions.
The ongoing disruption in today’s world and the accelerated rush to digital means marketing professionals will have their hands full in 2021. They have had to adapt quickly in 2020 and should expect more of the same in the future. But, by centralising content, digitising processes and embracing the role of engagement analytics, they can put themselves in the best position to start the new year on the right foot.