What is the number one problem in content marketing? Over the past few months, I have been doing my own thing, starting a consulting business, talking to vendors, talking to customers and I notice a big problem in marketing. And I think much of marketing is in denial over this.
Number One Problem in Content Marketing → Marketers Don’t Know Their Buyers
Over the last 10 years, the field of marketing has been completely transformed. I won’t go through the whole pitch but it comes down to the internet and how buyers are doing a lot more research prior to talking to sellers. One of the key things that has changed for marketers is the shift from core marketing concepts like messaging and sales enablement to content marketing. And in the process, there has been an explosion of content being produced. There are about 2M blog posts written each day on WordPress (source).
This has resulted in marketing doing everything possible to produce ever more content! And content takes a lot of time to produce. I write a blog post a week, and it takes me about five hours to come up with the idea, write it, proof it and post it. This is probably a lot lower than your average marketer. Mainly because I only write about things I am interested in. Blogs are probably the easiest piece of content to create, infographics, videos, ebooks, podcasts, all take more time and effort.
With marketing budgets under pressure, what have marketers done to produce this content? Well, they have hired cheap labor to fill the gap. New college hires, or people without a lot of experience, or the heavy use of contractors. While these employees have a lot of skills that are useful (social media for instance), they probably don’t have a lot of domain experience. They haven’t been a buyer and probably haven’t talked to many buyers. After all, would you want to put this junior person in front of a customer? Even worse, they know nothing about the topic but instead are a professional multi-purpose blogger.
What is the impact?
It is hard to quantify the impact of this, but I do notice some trends in content as result.
- Repetitive – Everyone is saying the same thing in their content. They use the same studies, or stats and just add their spin.
- Formulaic – Content is following the same patterns. Catchy headline around a problem and then how to solve it.
- Lacks Clear Problems – Oh, they list problems but they are often somewhat generic or overly broad, or sometimes are problems that their products don’t solve.
If content is key to your inbound strategy, these have to be huge problems for you.
What can you do about it?
If your marketers have more experience, they will likely produce better content. How do you get this great talent in the raw seasoning quickly? Here are a few ideas:
- Primary Market Research – Get them talking to buyers in non-sales situations. I wrote about the need to do primary market research, assign an up and coming marketing star to this task. They will get a much better feel of the real problems they face. And yes, you should be doing primary B2B market research.
- Position Rotation – Large B2C firms have managerial training programs, where talent is rotated through key positions in the company to do exactly this – seasoning. Have them work a stint in support, sales, customer success, sales operations, etc. to get them to feel every aspect of the business.
Focus on Quality over Quantity
Create content that has a timeless quality to it, this way you can continue to use it in campaigns. Forbes recently gave some tips on this exact topic.
They do this in coding, why not marketing? Pair up a senior and junior marketing person to split a content creation project.